Wednesday, 9 March 2011
a recent blog post, to talk about the different polarised attitudes companies can take to knowledge transfer.
This differentiation into different types of knowledge transfer carries over into the role that the KM support team can take, and suggests 4 potential endmember roles.
I ask all KM professionals reading this, to identify which role(s) they are currently focusing on, and which role(s) they are neglecting.
A KM team that focuses on Explicit Push, or Share, takes the role of a publishing house. They are forever seeking contributors and publishers, to make sure that the flow of explicit knowledge is pushed out to the organisation. If your biggest worry is how to incentivise explicit content, you are taking this role.
A KM team that focuses on Explicit Pull, or Search/Find, is taking the role of a Library team. They are concerned with taxonomies, ontologies, findability, cross-linking, structures, and owners, to ensure that people can find what they need in the explicit knowledge base.
A KM team that focuses on Tacit Push is taking the role of an events promoter (think of a promoter of lecture tours or concerts). They are concerned with getting the experts to tell what they know and tell their stories, and with arranging venues and events and spaces where people can hear the stories.
A KM team that focuses on Tacit Pull takes the role of a help center and contact broker. This is the role taken by the US Army Centre for Lessons Learned in the famous story. They are concerned with getting questions answered, and putting people in touch with others, and with documents, that can help.
Everyone will have their preferred role (and my preferred role is the last of the 4, because I think it is the most effective in the short term, is easiest to get off the ground, and changes the culture faster than any other approach), but the key for any KM program is that you need to fulfil all 4 roles.
You need to fufil all 4 roles, as different knowledge needs to be transferred in different ways, and to focus on only one quadrant of the diagram is to miss 75% of the possibilities KM can deliver.
So tell me, what role(s) are you taking, and what role(s) are you neglecting?