Monday 9 April 2018

The most common missing elements from KM frameworks

When we review client Knowledge Management frameworks, it is often the same two elements that are missiong, or poorly developed.

One of the services we offer at Knoco is an assessment and benchmarking of client Knowledge Management Frameworks, to assess for completeness and maturity.

We do this in two ways, through a high level online self-assessment, and through a detailed diagnostic study where we conduct in-depth interviews and bring an expert eye to bear on your KM approach.

And you know what? There are some interesting patterns emerging from the results.

Let's look at the average results from the online survey results first (top right; components are scored from 1 to 5) and look at the factors that, on average, receive the lowest score. These are:
  • Roles and accountabilities (a lack of clear KM roles and accountabilities in the organisation)
  • Business alignment (KM not aligned with business goals and objectives)
  • Governance (no governance, for example no clear expectations, no performance management, no support)
On the other hand, the highest scores are Technology, and Behaviours and Cultures.

Many organisations think that the way to address KM is to address behaviours and culture, and to buy technology. The results of the survey suggest that these elements are relatively well covered, and that instead, or in addition, you should introduce some accountable roles, align KM with the business objectives, and get some governance in place, in order to deliver value from the technology and behaviours you already have.

If we look at the results from our detailed diagnostic analysis, we see a similar pattern. The diagnosis includes a more detailed analysis and different scoring levels, but if we extract the scores for the elements of People, Processes, Technologies and Governance, thenTechnology scores highest, Governance scores lowest, and People (roles and accountabilities) scores second lowest.

Technology is not the biggest KM problem our clients have. A lack of governance is the biggest problem, and the lack of accoumntable roles is second.

Also we can extract, from the detailed diagnostic, average scores for the four Nonaka elements of Socialisation, Externalisation, Combination, and Internalisation. 

Socialisation (the transfer of knowledge through discussion and conversation, either face to face or through social networks) scores highest, followed by Combination (working with explicit knowledge, combining and storing it).
The lowest score, and significantly lower, goes to Internalisation (the interaction with, and re-use of, explicit knowledge).

Socialising and Sharing, and building knowledge bases, are not the biggest KM problems our clients have. Re-use and internalisation of knowledge is the biggest problem.

The message from these results is that if you are seeking to improve the effectiveness of your Knowledge management approach, the knee-jerk reactions of "buy more technology" and "build a sharing culture" may not address where the weaknesses actually are. You may need to think more about roles and accountabilities, about business alignment, about governance and about re-use of knowledge. 

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