WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT?
An emerging academic discipline and management process that addresses how people, workgroups, and organizations use knowledge principles, processes, technologies, and training to leverage intellectual capital by increasing knowledge flow, organizational learning, innovation, and performance
Knowledge management caters to the critical issues of organizational adaptation, survival, and competence in the face of increasingly discontinuous environmental change.
“Today’s KM processes are contingency planning for tomorrow’s decisions.”
- Alex Bennet, Chief Information Officer for Enterprise Integration for the Department of Navy
KM IN AN ORGANIZATION
KM in a organization is concerned with strategy, processes and technologies to acquire, store, share and secure organizational understanding, insights and core distinctions.
Knowledge management gives priority to the way in which people construct and use knowledge.
Managing knowledge consists of deciding with whom to share, what is to be shared, how it is to be shared, and ultimately sharing and using it.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT vs. INFORMATION MANAGEMENT
We can quibble endlessly over what makes "information" different from "knowledge," but the important point is that we should always be trying to add value to what we have by turning data into information and information into knowledge
Managing knowledge is ultimately everyone's job. Virtually every industry today is becoming knowledge-intensive. What your organization knows is clearly one of its only sustainable competitive advantages.
THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN KNOWLEDGE & INFORMATION MANAGEMENT
Working with objects (data or information) is Information Management and working with people is Knowledge Management.
SOME COMMON KM ISSUES:
THE BRAIN DRAIN - LOSS OF INSTITUTIONAL KNOWLEDGE
Do you remember this ?
NEWS FLASH! NASA LOSES PLANS TO SATURN 5 ROCKET
The knowledge drain from the boomer retirement wave already has had some far-reaching consequences. As author David DeLong reports in his book, Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce (Oxford Univ. Press, 2004), NASA lost the plans for the Saturn 5 rocket, which was used to launch the lunar landing craft. No one knows where the plans are. DeLong writes:
In an era of cost-cutting and downsizing, the engineers who designed the huge Saturn 5 rocket ... were encouraged to take early retirement from the space program. With them went years of experience and expertise about the design trade-offs that had been made in building the Saturn rockets. Also lost were what appear to be the last set of critical blueprints for the Saturn booster, which was the only rocket ever built with enough thrust to launch a manned lunar payload.
BUSINESS RESPONSE TO THE BRAIN DRAIN
An article in Management Issues – September 2007 stated that research by online recruiter Monster suggests that a mere one in five American companies have a formal strategy in place to capture critical knowledge and experience from older employees approaching retirement and transfer this knowledge to newer employees. To make matters worse, only 12 percent of human resource managers said that knowledge retention was seen as high priority within their organizations - despite the fact that a third of them acknowledge that 20 per cent or more of their workforce will be eligible for retirement over the next few years.
The study suggests that while HR managers may recognize the looming issue of losing institutional knowledge due to retirement, many face barriers to establishing strategies and tactics that could help to pre-empt the problem. The article further stated that concrete steps organizations can take to help mitigate the affects of brain drain include appointing a Chief Knowledge Officer responsible for organizational knowledge.
DO SIMULAR ISSUES EXIST IN YOUR ORGANIZATION? IF SO, YOU SHOULD PUT THE "X-FACTOR" TO WORK FOR YOU. YOU MAY CONSIDER . . .
Implementing programs to identify knowledge assets, sources, and offering knowledge-sharing incentives for employees and incorporate standards in performance reviews. Employing other tactics including leveraging technology – using things like blogs and wikkis to enable employees to redistribute and access organizational knowledge. There are many remedies, and one size does not fit all.
Although the brain drain is a looming problem for employers, it also presents an excellent opportunity for innovative companies to position themselves for better competitive advantage.