As part of our 2014 global survey of Knowledge Management professionals, we asked the participants to select from a list the Knowledge Management governance elements that had in place in their organisation.
The result is shown here, and the answer is "some of them are common, but it depends on the stage of your KM journey".
Most of the survey respondents reported at least one element of Knowledge Management governance, with the most common being the Knowledge Management Strategy (reported by over half of the people who responded).
Having a senior KM champion was also high on the list (although those who reported having a senior champion also reported that a lack of support from leadership was their second greatest barrier to KM implementation, so its not just having a champion that's important, its having one that delivers leadership support).
It is also interesting to see a Knowledge Management policy being applied in 30% of the cases. KM policies are quite hard to find online - but there must be a few of them out there.
Please do not think that because a governance element is low in the list, that it is not important! We would suggest that all these elements are important, with the exception of having a separate KM incentive system (see here for more on KM incentives). It's just that some are more commonly applied than others, often because people do not realise the value these elements bring.
Firstly it is clear that the big difference - the biggest jump - is between the early stagers and those who are well in progress. This represents either the adoption of KM governance needed for progression, or the lack of progress of those who do not have those elements.
Those organisations where KM is embedded have an even greater application of some of the KM governance elements, namely KM strategy, Knowledge Management framework, reference materials, training and success stories. The latter three are late-stage elements, related to roll-out.
On the other hand the proportion with a business case is much the same between the three subset populations, as the business case is a foundational document which is created in the earlier stages.
At Knoco we would suggest that some of these governance elements should be developed within the first year of your KM journey, notably the strategy, the framework, the business case, the vision and the high level champion. Others such as the success stories and the network of champions in the business should be the next target, while the KM policy, training, metrics and reference are late-stage governance items.