By Jon Boyle
Think about your organization and how it handles knowledge. Some questions to prime the pump: How is knowledge aligned to the mission? What are the competencies and capabilities needed for your workforce to leverage and share it? How does it affect project success and how is it measured at various organizational levels?
Do these questions make you come up with more questions? Good, since there are no easy answers concerning knowledge in organizations.
Let’s ask a more forthright question. What are the knowledge products and services that already exist or are planned in your organization? One of the most striking things that you may find is the sheer depth and breadth of knowledge activities and products that may already exist or are planned in your organization. Some may be self-service, such as typing a query in a search box and getting answers that point in the right direction. Others may be planned activities that share knowledge through social interaction at meetings and storytelling.
Given this potential range of knowledge activities, let’s identify an initial list of knowledge categories that address knowledge products and services:
• Online Tools such as portals; document repositories; collaboration and sharing sites; video libraries
• Search/Tag/Taxonomy Tools, such as a dedicated search engine for knowledge (e.g., Google Search Appliance) and initiatives related to meta-tagging or taxonomy
• Case Studies/Publications, such as original documents or multimedia case studies that capture project stories and associated lessons learned or best practices
• Lessons Learned/Knowledge Processes, such as a Lessons-Learned process and/or repository; benchmarking best and emerging practices; case studies involving successes and/or failures; knowledge sharing recognition programs; customer service and product validation processes
• Knowledge Networks, such as communities of practice; expert locators; mass collaboration activities; virtual and physical workspaces designed to enable exchanges and collaboration
• Social Exchanges, such as forums, workshops, Brown Bag Lunches
The purpose here is two-fold — to get you curious about what is going on in your organization with regards to knowledge, and to help you think about what knowledge management tools and techniques may help you in your own job. Can you think of other things that belong on the list?