One of the most widespread, and one of the most unhelpful, models in Knowledge Management is the DIKW model, which suggests that knowledge emerges from information, which emerges from data.
This is unhelpful, because it ignores the fact that most knowledge (especially if we think in terms of "Know-how") originates from people, and is transferred from person to person, rather than being aggregated from data, via information.
A way to think about knowledge management, which I think is a much more useful way, is to think about Knowledge Management being the systematic and structured way of transferring strategic and operational knowledge from suppliers to users.
In a recent blog post, I explained about Collect and Connect as being two routes for knowledge transfer between the supplier and user, but now let's look at the supplier and user themselves.
Knowledge is created through experience, and through the reflection on experience in order to derive guidelines, rules, theories, heuristics and doctrines. Knowledge may be created by individuals, through reflecting on their own experience, or it may be created by teams reflecting on team experience, or communities of practice engaged in collective sense-making. These are knowledge suppliers.
Knowledge is applied by individuals and teams, who can apply their own personal knowledge and experience, or they can look elsewhere for knowledge – to learn before they start, and benefit from shared experience. These are knowledge users. One of the challenges for knowledge transfer, is that often the user is unknown.
Knowledge management consists of building an enabling environment, or framework, where the users are expected to, and given the tools to, seek for and re-use knowledge whenever they need it, and where the suppliers are expected to, and enabled to, share and/or store their knowledge, wherever and whenever they have something of importance to share, using either Connection or Collection, depending on which is appropriate.