Empower Your Organization

Revolutionary Ways to Empower Your Organization With Knowledge

Margaret Fuller says "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it." Knowledge management is a strategic shift in paradigm to enlighten sight of organization as a whole.
"All men by nature desire to know" said Aristotle. Learning, knowledge and intellectual are growth-driving factors in any organization or individual.
In 1997 Thomas Stewart popularized the term "intellectual capital," arguing that companies must learn to manage that capital if they are to succeed in today's information economy. Stewart defined intellectual capital as the "intellectual material - knowledge, information, intellectual property, experience - that can be put to use to create wealth." Or more simply, "intellectual capital is the sum of everything everybody in a company knows that gives it a competitive edge.
Traditionally intellectual capital has been a measured headcount of degreed personnel on staff as in 22 PhD's or 97 Java programmers. In the new world of cross-company and cross-functional creative teams, this measure is insufficient. To capture intellectual capital, and its contribution to the bottom line of the organization, a more sophisticated approach is needed. Intellectual capital can be supplemented from outside the organization in the form of suppliers (e.g. consultants, outsource providers, software providers) and customers (e.g. joint teams to build a new service for the customer) and alliance partners (e.g. joint venture to develop a new service or product). If your organization believes in intellectual capital inside then probably you are looking for making it more learning organization.
Learning organization is defined as one that looks for meaningful solutions and then internalizes those solutions so that they continue to grow, develop, and remain successful. Learning organizations incorporate ideas from many sources and involve a variety of people in problem solving, information sharing, and celebrating success. This learning involves employees at all levels and occurs through shared insights and knowledge that builds on past experiences. Topic areas: Governance, Staff Development and Organizational Capacity, Accountability and Evaluation.
David Garvin described a learning organization as an organization that is "skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights."
It is important to understand knowledge in actual terms so as to gain its importance & benefits in organization. Knowledge is a Process. It is dynamic, personal and distinctly different from data (discrete, unstructured symbols) and information (a medium for explicit communication). Since the dynamic properties of knowledge are in focus, the notion Individual Competence can be used as a fair synonym.
Knowledge can be explicit or tacit. Explicit knowledge includes anything that can be documented, archived and codified such as trademarks, business plans, marketing research, customer lists, PowerPoint presentations, email messages, databases. Tacit knowledge includes - know-how. The challenge is how to recognize, generate, share and manage tacit knowledge. It is possible to convert tacit knowledge into an explicit form or to share it by promoting human interaction through 'socialization' - some of which can take place online.
The knowledge management process must have an overarching business context; otherwise it is doomed to failure. Organization can reap following benefits taking care of KM & intellectual capital.
1. KM enables organization to foster innovation through flow of ideas;
2. With KM, organization can improve customer services and enhance relationships;
3. Once you are through with knowledge of market & your own capacity to produce, organization can boost revenues by getting products and services to market faster;
4. Improve employee retention rates by recognizing the value of employees' knowledge and rewarding them for it;
5. Make decisions faster and closer to the point of action;
6. Overcome internal and external barriers and
7. Reduce product development time.
Now question arises is how to incorporate KM inside your organization? Here are some activities proposed in one of the article written by Dr David J Skyrme.
1. Creation of knowledge databases - best practices, expert directories, market intelligence etc.
2. Effective information management - gathering, filtering, classifying, storing, etc.
3. Incorporation of knowledge into business processes e.g. through the use of help screens in computer procedures or access to experts from icons
4. Development of knowledge centers - focal points for knowledge skills and facilitating knowledge flow
5. Reuse of knowledge at customer support centers e.g. via case-based reasoning
6. Introduction of collaborative technologies, especially Intranets or groupware, for rapid information access
7. Knowledge webs - networks of experts who collaborate across and beyond an organization's functional and geographic boundaries
8. Augmentation of decision support processes, such as through expert systems or group decision support systems.
9. In fact, any activity that uses and applies knowledge can benefit from the disciplines of knowledge management, and that covers most managerial and professional activities
However technologies like Internet, Intranet, Groupware, Intelligent agents, Mapping tools and Document management can be used to trap knowledge forever.
Industry experts have proposed some golden concepts & realities to implement KM in real meaning. Generally organization has so many myths for KM. But here is a reality.
1. KM is not only learning but it must have a business focus.
2. KM is not a single process in your organization to implement, it is a totally shift in strategic paradigm.
3. KM is not only to capture knowledge from people but it creates environment for people to create, leverage and share knowledge.
4. Don't push KM otherwise it fails. Active learning and experimentation are required. There is no such thing as a finished requirement specification. Solutions evolve and adapt.
5. KM requires top management involvement. It is not only limited to efforts of HR and IT. IT helps only up to the information exchange but cannot drive change itself.
6. Successful implementation depends, as always, on giving appropriate focus to the non-technical factors such as human factors, organizational processes and culture, the multi-disciplinary skills of hybrid teams and managers.
Epictetus says, "It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows." However knowledge is a multiplier in terms of improvement in organization when it is shared. So it is least valuable "how much do you know?" in organization but it is crucial "how much do you share what you know"? Because sharing knowledge helps to correct your knowledge simultaneously it spreads correct knowledge too.