Thursday, 15 March 2012

Knowledge Management after the change

We know that knowledge management is a change program; that is pretty well established.

We know that the introduction of Knowledge Management requires cultural change, as well as implementing an organisational framework. The focus on culture change is absolutely vital if KM implementation is going to succeed.

Sometimes that leads people to think that once the change program is over, the job is done, and that Knowledge Management becomes something that "just happens". They think that everyone will then be naturally sharing and reusing each others knowledge, and that the need for KM professionals, a KM department, or a KM organisational framework will then disappear.

This is not true. The change program will deliver a changed organisation, and that will be an organisation with KM built not only into the culture, but into work practices, roles, technologies, and governance structures. The KM components of this changed organisation are what we describe as a Knowledge Management Framework, and like any management framework it needs it's own roles and processes to drive it, embedded into the business structure, and a small group to monitor and maintain it.

The change program is not over until the framework is in place, and until the implementation team have handed the framework over to an operations and maintenance team for KM.

Without this operation and maintenance, and an embedded framework, an organisation can all too easily tip back into a pre-KM state, and KM will be declared as another "failed initiative".

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