Knowledge management is about turning knowledge into value. It is about recognizing what is valuable, combining pieces into something usable and finally it is about action. You need to use your knowledge to gain some value from it.
Knowledge management is a management paradigm of the information society. Its purpose is to improve organizations’ performance.
There are various tools available in the areas of information management, intellectual capital, business intelligence and organizational learning. The key is to recognize the right approach for your purposes.
The biggest mistake you can make is to consider knowledge management only as a technical or mechanistic endeavor; a ready-made solution. In most cases, it is not.
Technology provides valuable tools, for example, to foster knowledge transfer but will not ascertain that knowledge is utilized and creating value. This requires a cultural change. Especially in public sector organizations, which I have been working with lately.
Don’t focus only on numbers, pay attention what those numbers tell you.
A move away from the mere information provision means that you need to understand the context – what the organization is doing and what information leads to action.
The literature around knowledge strategy provides a good starting point for harnessing the value of knowledge [see e.g. Zack, M. (1999). Developing a knowledge strategy. California Management Review 41(3): 125-45].
Everything begins from the business objectives. What are you pursuing and where are your performance gaps? Then, a knowledge strategy defines how knowledge can make a difference in filling these gaps and improving your business performance.
It is about matching the demand and supply. About satisfying knowledge needs with appropriate knowledge. Management system determines the need for knowledge. Then all you need to do is to build knowledge processes to fill these needs.
In my view, knowledge management should be integrated to organization’s ways of operating not glued on top of the existing management systems.
Of course, knowledge management can also help in challenging the existing practices; don’t take everything as granted.
Moving the focus on the use of knowledge means that everyone becomes a knowledge manager. Don’t blame the knowledge officer if you are acting stupid.