Friday, 10 October 2014

The 4 legs on the Knowledge Management table

It's very easy to develop an unbalanced perspective on Knowledge Management, especially when we work closely with the topic, but it is something that we should strive to avoid.

Image from wikimedia commons

I was listening to someone describe their Knowledge management Framework recently. They described their portal, they described the roles that support the portal, they described the processes that support the portal, and they described the governance elements they had developed around the portal.

As I listened, I reflected that they had the elements of KM, but had a one-sided perspective.

Let me explain what I mean.

The 4 legs on the table

There are 4 enablers that support Knowledge Management, like 4 legs that support a table. These are
All of these elements are mutually supportive.

Yes, the roles support the portal, but to an equal extent the portal supports the roles. Yes, the processes support the portal, but to an equal extent the portal supports the processes, as do the roles, as does the governance.

Like the 4 legs on a table, the 4 elements of KM are all equally important. No single element is dominant - they all support KM, and they support Knowledge Management in supporting the business.

If you find one of these enablers is becoming dominant in your thinking for any reason, then your table is at risk of becoming wobbly and unstable. If any of these elements is missing completely, your table will fall.

Balance your perspective.

Focus on all four enablers, to an equal extent, and your Knowledge Management table will stand firm and secure in support of the business.


Daniel Ranta said...

Nick - great reminder on what still seems to escape many organizations. I like the simplicity and clarity of the analogy. Here are two articles that align with your thinking:

Alan Baren said...

Nice article. "Balance" is a key challenge for the mission of any KM organization, not only for portal effectiveness, but also more generally for where the focus of your program is; internal versus external KM, operational versus strategic initiatives, etc. You also need to have the four legs get equal attention across all your initiatives; portals, wikis, social channels, external website, etc.

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