Knowledge transfer in an organisation is like a market-place, and every transfer of knowledge requires a supplier and a customer. To be effective, a market must be customer-centred.
|Customer Satisfaction, by Roland Tanglao, on Flickr|
I am focusing here on knowledge transfer, not on the creative act of innovation that comes from people combining their knowledge to make something new. I am also focusing, not on the customers of your organisation, but on the customers for the internal knowledge transfer, namely the knowledge workers in your organisation.
In knowledge transfer, there is someone who knows something (the supplier) who interacts with someone who needs knowledge (the customer), so that the customer can learn something new.
In any transactional organisation, you need to focus on the customer. The needs of the customer are paramount, and we see this in commerce with the rise of the customer-centric organisations such as Amazon and Zappos.
Customer centricity is defined as putting the customer first, and designing a great customer experience, so they are delighted with the product, and with the process of finding and buying the product. Markets which are not customer focused and customer centric lose their customers. The customers find the products disappointing, and the purchasing process too cumbersome, and the market dies.
Your internal knowledge market, and the transfer of knowledge to internal knowledge workers and knowledge users who are the customers for that knowledge, needs also to be customer-centric.
If KM is a market, how customer-centric is your KM program?
By customer-centric, I mean the following
- Driven by the knowledge needs of the customer - by Knowledge Pull (see here)
- Transferring knowledge the way the customer needs it to be transferred (see here)
- Transferring knowledge in a medium that works for the customer
- Putting "ease of finding" above "ease of sharing" (see here)
- Maximising the knowledge signal, minimising the knowledge noise (see here)
- Minimising the waste in the knowledge supply chain (see here)
- Knowledge customers delighted by the knowledge products they find, and by the process of finding them.
Too many KM programs focus on the supplier and neglect the customer, and struggle to make a difference as a result. Don't be one of them! Be customer-centric, before your knowledge market starts to lose its customers.