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How do we deliver Knowledge Management in way that organisations find compelling and achievable?

Author: Paul Whiffen Head of KM at i3Works

Today’s world is increasingly about knowledge. Companies, and countries, that manage what they know will outperform those that don’t – the recognition that we are in a Knowledge Economy has been gaining ground for some years now.

30 or 40 years ago, it was estimated that 80% of the value of large organisations lay within tangible assets such as buildings, machinery and other equipment – only 20% was thought to be from intangibles, notably knowledge. Today this situation is reversed; this means that neglecting to manage an organisation’s knowledge asset means that up to 80% of the total value is being neglected.

Fine, but how do we do this? What does it mean to manage the knowledge asset of an organisation? It’s intangible…and this is discouraging for some.

After having been in Knowledge Management for 19 years and as Head of KM implementing the approach for three organisations in three different sectors (and learning a great deal along the way), there seems to me to be 5 key points to encompass delivery in a sustainable way:

  • A clear KM vision that is compelling and genuinely excites people when you communicate it to them;
  • Structured, simple, pragmatic (and well regarded) KM Plans for Functions, Projects & Individuals;
  • Effective team and individual learning processes that staff find worth attending and see make a difference;
  • Powerful communities that are effective and bring innovation;
  • Getting across the distinction between Strategic & Tactical KM and, critically, really good, enticing and inspiring communications.

These points help to take people from management to leadership which lifts energy, participation and fulfilment for staff – it helps KM to appeal to hearts as well as minds.