One of the more effective ways to introduce Knowledge Management is through solving a series of business problems. Here is a 12 step approach to doing just that.
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I came across this paper recently by Ray Dawson, professor of KM at Loughborough University, proposing a 12-step approach to KM implementation based on the successive solution of a series of business problems. Ray illustrates his 12 steps with case studies of implementation of KM technologies.
A similar approach was implemented at Mars to great effect, and is one component of our favoured KM implementation strategy alongside a longer-term framework-based approach.
Here are Ray's 12 steps.
- Undertake a problem audit to identify a recognised problem. Start by targeting a problem in the company that is manageable in size, knowledge-related, and also widely recognised by all staff concerned.
- Find out how bad the problem is. If there is a problem then there will be a cost as a result, and these cost figures give a baseline upon which a return on investment for KM can be measured.
- Find a knowledge management solution in the context of the problem.
- Check the cost of the proposed solution so you can calculate a business case.
- Check the value for each individual. A new knowledge management initiative has two stakeholder groups - it must have financial benefits to a company, but it must also give value to each individual employee that must make it work.
- Get buy-in from management and individuals based on the business case for the identified problem alone. The knowledge management initiative must be “sold” to both management and users.
- Involve the users in the solution. Users should be involved in the requirements process and design of the new KM approach.
- Plan for systems operation as well as the implementation. Neglecting to plan for the operation of a system is likely to mean any initial success cannot be sustained.
- Implement the solution
- Evaluate the actual savings made. You can find many examples of such savings on this blog.
- Use the evidence of success to achieve a wider KM rollout and to get buy-in for new initiatives. This is the social proof aspect we discuss here. The solved problems act as proofs of concept and pilot projects for the wider initiative.
- Use smaller knowledge management projects to build bigger projects. Large projects can be broken down into smaller projects that can each be implemented with the first 11 steps of this knowledge management implementation methodology. In this way the company can work towards the larger integrated system to which it aspires.
This is a very practical approach to KM implementation which we entirely endorse here at Knoco. The smaller problem-led pilots help build the KM structure brick by brick, and lead you towards implementation of a complete Knowledge Management Framework