Thursday, 5 December 2013

Choosing which decisions to support through KM

The purpose of Knowledge Management is decision support.

Peter Senge tells us that Knowledge is the ability to make effective decisions, and if we want to improve the effectiveness of decision making in our organisations, then we look to KM to help us.

But which decisions?

Which are the decisions which it is most cost-effective for KM to support?

Firstly, there is no point in supporting the tiny daily decisions, which have an impact in the $100 dollar range. There are too many of these to be able to handle them easily, and the amount of KM investment is likely to be very high.

Secondly, there is no point in trying to support the very rare decisions that happen once a decade or so (decisions about major acquisitions or divestment, or decisions about complete reversals of strategy).  You could do a lot of good KM work on these decisions, but it would be ten years before that knowledge was re-used.

The ideal place to focus is in the middle - the decisions that are worth millions, and are made on an annual basis. Here the value of KM will be high, and the re-use of the knowledge will be relatively frequent, and a year is about long enough for people to have forgotten the details of the last decision, and to start to reinvent the wheel unless KM helps them.

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