What do companies around the world understand by "Knowledge Management", and what are their KM strategies? This was another area we wanted to explore in our 2014 global survey of Knowledge Management.
One of the questions therefore covered the topic of strategic focus areas for KM, and we asked the participants to prioritise, from a list of 11 potential approaches, the most important to them.
The pie chart here shows the frequency of each of these options as "first choice"
- 22% of respondents said their highest priority within their Knowledge Management strategy was to connect people through communities of practice or networks.
- 17% chose Learning from experience as their highest strategy
- For 15%, it was "better access to documents"
- 14% saw Knowledge Retention as their highest priority approach
- 9% chose the "Creating and providing access to best practices"
- For another 9%, Innovation was the most important.
The remaining options all received small percentages of the votes.
Some of our respondents pointed out that there were maybe 3 or 4 strategic options on the list with more or less equal priority - Communities of Practice plus Learning from Experience was the most common combination.
The choice of primary strategy varied to some extent with the industry -
- "Connecting people" was most popular in Aid & development, Manufacturing, Construction, Financial services and Professional services
- "Learning from Experience" was most common in Oil and Gas and in Telecoms
- "Development of best practice" was the preferred focus for the military
- "Better access to documents" was the area prioritised by the legal firms, and the public sector
What does this mean?I think we can take the results of this question and assert that it shows what the world of KM practitioners understands by the term Knowledge Management.
Knowledge Management seems to be recognised as a combination of Connecting People, Learning from Experience, provision of access to documents, retention of knowledge, creation of best practices, and innovation.
Individual industries favour one of these six over the others, but in combination they seem to pretty much map out the mainstream field of KM as it is currently understood.