Using this Boston Square as a guide, we can recognise four main activities which need to be supported in Knowledge Management.
our archetypes in KM.
This differentiation into different However we can also use this diagram as a check - to ensure we are balancing out Knowledge Management programs.
The Boston Square looks at four behaviours within KM, divided by Push and Pull, and Explicit and Tacit. Any balanced KM program will address all four, more or less equally. Any KM program that focuses only on one or two quadrants in unbalanced.
The Explicit Push quadrant, labelled Share, is where an organisation focuses on collecting codified or documented knowledge, and on creating knowledge collections. It is the "Collect" route described here. The KM focus is on portals such as SharePoint, and on information structures, tagging, content provision and user contribution. If your biggest worry is how to incentivise explicit content, you are taking this role.
The Explicit Pull quadrant, labelled Search, is where an organisation focuses on facilitating searching for documents. They are concerned with taxonomies, ontologies, findability, cross-linking and search technologies, to ensure that people can find what they need in the explicit knowledge base.
The Tacit Push quadrant, labelled Tell, is where an organisation focuses on storytelling and knowledge exchange. They are concerned with getting the experts to tell what they know and tell their stories, with processes such as knowledge cafe, with blogging and microblogging, and with Working Out Loud.
The Tacit Pull quadrant, labelled Ask, is where an organisation focuses on creating and satisfying a demand for knowledge. They are concerned with getting questions answered, and putting people in touch with others, and with building structures such as communities of practice, where questions are safe to ask and speedily answered. This is the "Connect" route described here.
Everyone will have their preferred quadrant in which they feel most comfortable, but the key for any KM program is that you need to address all four elements.
You need to address all four elements, as different knowledge needs to be transferred in different ways, and to focus on only one quadrant of the diagram is to miss 75% of the possibilities KM can deliver.
How does your KM program measure up?