Microsoft and Dan Rasmus have published an interesting piece on the current state of knowledge management, with a focus on creating a Dynamic Knowledge Environment. Knowledge and Talent in a People-Ready Business. A full white paper on the topic is available for download as well.
Knowledge management is back in vogue, this time to help companies cope with crushing competition and the pending retirement of an entire generation of skilled workers. The technology is much improved, but organizations must be willing to change their practices and culture in order to succeed.
[found via Mike Gotta]
Rasmus recounts the basics of what has happened in the promotion of knowledge management, starting with the focus on database-as-knowledge to the more flexible focus of enabling connections between people. I'd suggest some of the first successes in knowledge management (Xerox, Buckman Labs) were serendipitous discoveries that connections between people are critical. It was just that the attempt to operationalize these successes turned into "knowledge-base" activities rather than connection activities.
So, what is a Dynamic Knowledge Environment (DKE)? It's an acknowledgment that old-school knowledge-bases are too rigid and fixed to provide value to people whose needs shift from engagement to engagement. The idea of DKE suggests a better understanding of how work gets done via collaboration and give-and-take.
Based on the discussion in the paper, they provide a list of "10 STARTING POINTS FOR DYNAMIC KNOWLEDGE ENTERPRISES:"
- Encourage informal knowledge capture through the use of collaborative technology that works the way people work
- Deploy flexible and adaptable technology that amplifies the capabilities of employees by helping them quickly find the people, processes or information they need to be effective.
- Allow employees to invest in relationships and use their social networks for learning and knowledge sharing.
- Align incentive and reward programs to encourage knowledge sharing
- Embrace innovation throughout the organization as a focal point for organizational learning and action
- Build knowledge networks with employees, partners and customers that help anticipate future demand and risks.
- Build an information architecture that allows the organization to optimize around people, not process, so that people can collaborate, find and use information and build work-saving tools within the natural context of their role, task and work style.
- Consider the role space plays in knowledge exchange and create environments that encourage knowledge sharing.
- Include the recognition of knowledge intensive processes and the retention of talent and knowledge as a specific goal in strategic planning.
- Define metrics in the context of strategic organizational goals that will demonstrate the value of knowledge investments.