Monday 7 February 2011

Solving the KM jigsaw puzzle

Scattered puzzle pieces next to solved fragment
As a consultant, I visit many many organisations to perform reviews or audits of their knowledge management systems (by which I dont just mean IT systems, I mean the whole systematic approach to KM).

Most companies have some elements of KM in place already; many are doing pretty well. All have some holes in their system.

It strikes me as being a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. The client has many of the pieces on the table already. Some are joined up. Some aren't. Some pieces are missing. The client doesn't really know what the joined up puzzle will look like - they don't know "the picture on the box". But they know they don't have the full picture, as they are not getting the value they expected from KM.

Often they have many of the technology pieces of the puzzle, often they have a few process pieces, usually they are struggling with the "roles and accountability" pieces, and seldom have they addressed the pieces that drive culture (such as the governance aspects).

Our role as consultants is to take the pieces that work well - that form part of the picture - join them together and integrate them- fill in the gaps, then make sure that the final system is firmly embedded into the organisational culture and working habits.

Integrate, enhance, embed, was the mantra that we came up with this week.

Integrate = join the existing pieces of the KM puzzle
Enhance = fill in the gaps
Embed = fix it to the table so it doesn't slide off (in other words to embed it into cultural process and behaviours)

And a key part of our role as consultants is to know what the "picture on the box" would look like, for any given client.

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