Originally answered Dec 19, 2014
Knowledge Management is the art of transforming information and intellectual assets into enduring value for an organization’s clients and its people. Knowledge management fosters the reuse of intellectual capital, enables better decision making, and creates the conditions for innovation. This is done by providing people, processes, and technology to help knowledge flow so that people can act more efficiently, effectively, and creatively.
Why should we spend any time trying to manage knowledge? We are all busy enough as it is without adding the burdens of searching for and contributing knowledge.
If we don’t spend time on knowledge management activities, we run the risk of wasting even more time on unnecessary effort that could have been avoided. We might repeat mistakes that others have already made, costing time, money, and even lives. And the results of our work will not be as valuable as they could have been if they had been influenced by the experience and expertise of others.
Knowledge management enables an organization to better:
- Share what has been learned, created, and proved to allow others to learn from the experience of the organization and reuse what has already been done. This provides a supply of knowledge.
- Innovate by being more creative, inventive, and imaginative, resulting in breakthroughs from bold new ways of thinking and doing. This creates new knowledge.
- Reuse what others have already learned, created, and proved to save time and money, minimize risk, and be more effective. This creates a demand for knowledge.
- Collaborate with others to yield better results, benefit from diverse perspectives, and tap the experience and expertise of many other people. This allows knowledge to flow at the time of need, creates communities, and takes advantage of the strength in numbers.
- Learn by doing, from others, and from existing information to perform better, solve and avoid problems, and make good decisions. Learning is the origin of knowledge.