Monday, 5 December 2011

The USP for Knowledge Management

What's the Unique Selling Point for Knowledge Management? What does it deliver to the business, that other management disciplines don't?

For me, the key USP that KM delivers is Continuous Improvement on a company-wide scale.

I  have blogged previously about Knowledge and Performance, and the tight link between the two.  The more you know, the better you perform. If you learn from performance, you increase knowledge, if you increase knowledge, you improve performance.

An effective KM framework closes the cycle between performing and learning in a systematic way, building ever improving stores of knowledge (tacit and explicit) through learning from experience - applying this knowledge in service of ever improving decision making and continuously improving performance. The result is the sort of learning curve you see in the picture here.

If you look at the scale of one operating unit, there may be other drivers of continuous performance improvement. Six Sigma, quality circles, Kaizen, also drive continuous improvement within a team or a production unit. What KM adds to the mix, is to share the performance results, and the improvement methods, around the organisation. If a process improvement is made in Jakarta, it can be replicated in Jamaica. If a product improvement is made in Hawaii, it can be replicated in Hosaka. If a lesson is learned about a Key Account in Brussels, it can be replicated in Brisbane.

Continuous improvement therefore becomes not just a local phenomenon, but a company wide phenomenon, thanks to Knowledge Management.

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