Monday, 30 June 2014

Reactive KM or proactive KM?

Is your Knowledge Management framework reactive, or proactive?

A reactive KM framework reacts to events. You may react to the threat of knowledge loss, for example putting in place retention interviewing when a key person retires from the organisation. You may react to knowledge gain, by capturing and documenting lessons from a project, or collecting best practices from people. The reactive KM program says "What knowledge do we have? Let's keep it safe".

A proactive KM framework anticipates events. You may ask, what is the strategic knowledge the company will need going forward? How will we create it; where will it come from? Or you may take a proactive view of knowledge in a project, developing a Knowledge Management plan to ensure the project has the knowledge it needs at the start, and identifies the knowledge it should create for others.

A proactive KM approach identifies the key knowledge in advance, and puts in place strategies to manage it, whereas in a reactive approach, knowledge management is always "after the event".

You need both of course, but if you omit the proactive side, your KM is always playing catch-up.

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