Tuesday 16 February 2016

Joined-up knowledge management

One of the major differences between a Knowledge Management Toolbox and a Knowledge Management Framework is that in a framework, the components are joined up.

Image from wikimedia commons
I have blogged before about the evolution in KM thinking from tool, to toolkit, to framework. I have argued that the framework is more complete than the toolbox, as it includes not just a listing of the processes and technologies, but a definition of when they are expected to be used, and by whom. The framework adds the governance element (the expectation), and the roles element (the "by whom").

The framework defines how KM is embedded into the work process and into the accountabilities in the organisation. Instead of the toolbox lying unopened in the garage, it is brought in and put on the table; made a part of how you work.

However there is one other main advantage to the framework, which is that it allows the elements of KM to be joined up.

For example, take what might otherwise be separate elements - the communities of practice, the best practice system, and the lessons learned system.

In a framework, these could be joined up in the following ways:

  • The community of practice leader is also the practice owner, accountable for making sure best practice guidance is developed where possible
  • The community discussions, when complete, are converted into best practice guidance
  • The lessons learned system makes sure the practice owners are notified of any new lesson in their area of practice
  • New lessons can be discussed by relevant the communities
  • After discussion, the relevant practice is updated based on the new lesson
  • The structure of the communities is based on the same taxonomy as the best practice system and the lessons management system
  • The metadata set is consistent across all three elements as well
  • The operation of the communities and the creation of the best practice guidance is monitored and reported together.
So instead of these three components being three separate tools in a box, they become part of an interlinked framework, through which knowledge flows.

Contact us for advice on turning your KM toolbox into a joined-up framework.

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