Thursday 25 May 2017

Which Knowledge Management Processes add most value?

I blogged yesterday about usage and value of Knowledge Management technologies. Here is a similar analysis, also drawn from our  2017 Global Survey of Knowledge management, of the usage and value of KM processes.

We asked the survey participants to rate these different KM processes by the value they have added to their KM program, including in the question the option to choose "we do not use this process" or "it's too early to tell".

The chart above shows these processes in order of value from left to right, as a stacked area chart of responses, with the weighted value of the process overlain as a line (this line would be at 100% if all the participants that used this process claimed it had "high value" and at 0% if they all claimed it had no value). The height of the dark grey area represents usage, as the light grey area is the "Not Used" response.

288 people answered this question on the survey. from a wide range of organisations around the globe.

The processes are also listed below in order of the usage figures, and in order of the average value assigned by the respondents.

Knowledge Management processes in order of usage 
(most common at the top)
Knowledge Management processes in order of the assigned value when used (those rated most valuable at the top)
1. coaching and mentoring
2. project lessons capture (large scale)
3. after action review (small scale)
4. knowledge roundtables
5. Peer Assist
6. retention interviews
7. storytelling
8. action learning
9. knowledge cafe
10. crowdsourcing
11. open space
12. appreciative enquiry
13. Innovation deepdive
14. wikithon
15. positive deviance
1. knowledge roundtables
2. coaching and mentoring
3. project lessons capture (large scale)
4. after action review (small scale)
5. action learning
6. Peer Assist
7. retention interviews
8. knowledge cafe
9. Innovation deepdive
10. storytelling
11. appreciative enquiry
12. open space
13. crowdsourcing
14. positive deviance
15. wikithon

Comparison of usage and value

As with the Technology results, there is a strong correlation between usage and value. This could represent a tendency for the more valuable KM processes to get the greatest use. This is a perfectly valid interpretation.  An alternative argument would be to say that processes deliver more value the more they are used. Processes at the top of the list are mainstream processes, used frequently, and delivering high value. Processes at the bottom of the list are less mainstream, and deliver less value to the companies that use them, because those companies make less use of these processes. This is also a plausible interpretation.

Even with this interpretation, we could still look for "Good performing" processes which deliver more value than their popularity would imply (and so are significantly higher in the value list than in the popularity list), and "Poor performing processes" which deliver less value than their popularity would imply.

Under this interpretation, the best performing KM processes are Innovation Deepdive, Knowledge Roundtable meetings and Action Learning (both of them 3 or 4 places higher in the Value list than the Usage list) and the poorest performing processes in terms of value per use are Crowdsourcing and Storytelling.

Changes since the 2014 survey

We saw similar results in the 2014 survey, with processes such as Knowledge Roundtable, After Action Review and Coaching and Mentoring both popular and performing well. However there are also some significant changes in both usage and value.

Those processes which have seen the greatest increase in use between  the two surveys in 2014 and 2017 is Project Lesson Capture, with a rise in usage of 5 places and in value of 6 places, and Storytelling (+7 in usage, +4 in value).

There have been some big fallers as well. Positive Deviance has dropped 9 places in usage and 8 places in value, and Crowdsourcing has dropped 6 places in usage and 9 places on the value list. We did not include Innovation deepdives in the 2014 survey. Peer Assist has also fallen in popularity, which is a shame

It looks like the old staples processes of KM - the knowledge roundtable meetings, after action reviews, lesosn capture, peer assist and coaching and mentoring - remain the core process set for Knowledge Management.

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