Last spring the SIKM Leaders group discussed the idea of "evidence of KM" and I wrote a blog post with my top ten, What is your evidence of KM. The topic has come up again on the mailing list, and my first thought (even before reviewing the above) was this:
If KM is working well in an organization, I would expect to see people asking "dumb" or "naive" questions and getting useful answers from people they don't necessarily know.
There is a lot packed into that comment. By "dumb" or "naive" I am thinking that it the people viewing the question who might think it dumb or naive. Of course, in a well-functioning organization, maybe they wouldn't even consider those words to describe the questions. I would expect to see people asking questions. And having good expectation that those questions would be answered in a useful fashion. "Useful" being anything from a conversation in the hallway to pointers to the appropriate people or other materials.
Beyond this one answer, I would expect to see more than the opportunity to ask questions. I would want to see people working together to solve problems. And working together to get better at doing whatever they do. Use the questions to start conversations. Use those conversations to help inform people who run into similar questions. Of course, you won't have all the answers, and the situations are different every time.
What do you expect to see when knowledge management is working where you are?
[Photo: "Evidence" by Lars Ploughman]