Tuesday, 15 October 2019

What are the most popular strategic elements of KM?

What do companies around the world identify as their primary KM strategic approaches?  This was another area we wanted to explore in our two global surveys of Knowledge Management.


One of the questions in our surveys therefore covered the topic of strategic focus areas for KM, and we asked the participants to prioritise, from a list of 11 potential approaches, those most important to them.

The pie chart below shows the frequency of each of these approaches as "first choice."  The approaches are of course not exclusive, and most respondents applied many of these. However




  • 19% of respondents said their highest priority within their Knowledge Management strategy was to connect people through communities of practice or networks;
  • 17% chose "better access to documents"as their highest strategy. This is the average of the two surveys, and if you look at the 2017 survey alone, this was the most popular choice. However the 2017 had a much higher percentage of contributors from the legal sector, where this is their default approach;
  • 13% saw Knowledge Retention as their highest priority approach;
  • For 12%, Learning from experience was the most important;
  • 10% chose "Creating and providing access to best practices"
  • For another 6%, Innovation was the most important;
  • Provision of knowledge to customer facing staff was also the primary strategy for 6%
The remaining options all received small percentages of the votes.

Some of our respondents pointed out that there were maybe 3 or 4 strategic options on the list with more or less equal priority - Communities of Practice plus Learning from Experience was the most common combination.

The choice of primary strategy varied to some extent with the industry - 
  • "Connecting people" was most popular in Aid & development, Construction,and Oil and Gas
  • "Learning from Experience" was most common in the military and emergency services
  • "Development of best practice" was the preferred focus for the military
  • "Better access to documents" was the area prioritised by the legal firms, the public sector and the financial sector.

What does this mean?

I think we can take the results of this question and assert that it shows what the world of KM practitioners tends to choose as primary KM strategies.

On the whole, Knowledge Management seems to be recognised as a combination of Connecting People, Learning from Experience, provision of access to documents, retention of knowledge, creation of best practices, and innovation.  Individual industries favour one of these six over the others, but in combination they seem to pretty much map out the mainstream field of KM as it is currently understood.



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