Organizing Knowledge, Core Objectives, Incentives, KM Roadmap

20-Feb-07 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

Welcome to my first blog entry on hp.com, the new home for my weekly KM Blog. It had previously been available at Line56, which is no longer publishing.

Each week I will include links to knowledge management books, blogs, and web sites. I will also answer questions about the field, particularly about how knowledge management is implemented and practiced.

KM Book of the Week

Organising Knowledge: Taxonomies, Knowledge and Organizational Effectiveness by Patrick Lambe

Taxonomies are often thought to play a niche role within content-oriented knowledge management projects. They are thought to be ‘nice to have’, but not essential. In this groundbreaking book, Patrick Lambe shows how they play an integral role in helping organizations coordinate and communicate effectively. Through a series of case studies, he demonstrates the range of ways in which taxonomies can help organizations to leverage and articulate their knowledge. A step-by-step guide in the book to running a taxonomy project is full of practical advice for knowledge managers and business owners alike.

KM Blog of the Week

Anecdote: Knowledge strategy — the core objectives by Shawn Callahan

Every knowledge strategy has the same objectives, which are:

  • improve knowledge sharing
  • enhance innovation
  • reduce impact of people leaving (knowledge retention)
  • build skills and know-how
  • improve everyone’s ability to find relevant knowledge when they need it
  • improve how we learn from experience

KM Link of the Week

Do knowledge management incentives pay off? by Govind Iyer and Sury Ravindran

Bottom Line:

  • Employees judge knowledge bases based on their usability. If they come to the conclusion that a knowledgebase frequently will not be helpful, they will disregard it and try to invent their own solutions to problems. This reduces the anticipated value of a KB and costs a company money.
  • Frequently, a KB perceived as useful and practical is one that has many contributions, much like a full set of encyclopedias in lieu of a single volume.
  • Different personality types, job types and companies will require different types of knowledge bases. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work.
  • Incentives work to get both concrete and non-concrete thinkers to contribute their know-how to a KB. People who are more comfortable with unstructured tasks are more likely to contribute of their own volition — to “give back” — if they find the KB useful to them.
  • Companies may be wasting their money if they continue to offer incentives for contributing to a KB when, in some cases, users will develop a habit of contributing when they see the utility of mutual contribution.

KM Question of the Week

Q: I have been asked to prepare a prototype of KM roadmap for an organization. So far, KM in this organization is driven by IT with not much buy-in from the business units.

KM is talked about only in business review meetings and forgotten once everyone leaves the room. A few business units started with a big bang and then the enthusiasm died down after the initial euphoria.

Now, the CIO wants me to prepare a KM Roadmap with features and IT Infrastructure to move to the next stages of KM. If you call our initial stage as digitization of documents, then the next stage would be converting tacit knowledge into digital form.

Any suggestions would be helpful.

A: There is a series of five steps to follow to start a knowledge management program. They are:

  1. Create a Top 3 Objectives List of challenges and opportunities which your KM program will address. These objectives align business direction with program goals.
  2. Provide 9 Answers to questions about people, process, and technology. This information defines who will participate, which processes will be required, and how tools will support the people and processes.
  3. Define the KM Strategy. These are specific actions which will be taken to implement the program.
  4. Gain the sponsorship of your senior executive through The 10 Commitments. These commitments from the leader of your organization will enable the KM strategy to be implemented.
  5. Create and execute the Implementation Plan. This plan spells out the details of implementing the initiative. Contained in the Implementation Plan are program governance; desired modes of knowledge flow; people, process, and technology component selection; and implementation plans for some of the components, such as training, communications, and change management. Each one of these needs to be followed as part of implementing the overall plan.

Details on each of these steps are provided in my new book Implementing a Successful KM Programme.