We are not using our knowledge

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“We are not using our knowledge”

That’s an affirmation I have been hearing for quite a while now. Reinventing the wheel and not learning from past mistakes are two common symptoms of an organization that lacks “in-know-ation”. This is a term I use to describe situations where collective intelligence gives place to actionable knowledge.

As I mentioned in a recent post, organizations only become knowledgeable when knowledge is actionable.  For this to happen, interconnected ideas must translate into a suitable course of action and become work standards for future processes or projects.

This is indeed a major concern for many organizations today. However, solutions only seem to happen at a technology-portal level. We have come to believe that by creating a suitable sharepoint-like platform we have covered all there is to cover. Then we ask ourselves: “How do we make people use it?”, specially when participation levels do not ignite at all.

So whenever I read about a promising platform I no longer look at it in the same manner. I am more concerned about how people want it, instead of bringing them something which they are not familiar with. People are at the heart of design. More importantly, people are at the heart of Knowledge Management (#KM).

In this sense, we need to forget about “how do we make people use it”. If you never considered them in the design phase and took time to understand if they are comfortable with it, then you have missed out the answer to the age old question. It is also true that in many organizations #KM is not part of the work flow. Most people perceive that it´s something that must be done after work.  “They have to be productive and achieve goals”

But #KM is part of the value chain and teams need it in order to be more productive and achieve goals in less time. As an organization we must give #KM it´s place and steer culture by using certain mechanisms such as performance management and personal objectives. Also, don’t forget to reward participation and communicate effectively (Kmers are often bad at this!).

It is also important to understand what knowledge needs to be used. Focus on knowledge that generates value. Identify critical knowledge and develop the next steps that have to do with it´s development and retention at an organizational level.

I hope this helps to understand better why organizations do not use their knowledge.

PD- Don’t leave out culture.

© Jose Carlos Tenorio Favero

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