Inside Knowledge Magazine /Knowledge Management Magazine Archive
Volume 6 Issue 7
KM and knowledge creation
To many practitioners, knowledge management is about making best use of the knowledge and information already held by their organisations. This side of KM has tended to dominate the discipline since the mid-1990s; in a bid to avoid ‘re-inventing the wheel’ most firms have concentrated their efforts on putting the processes and systems in place to allow knowledge to flow across the enterprise to the people who need it most. As such, the emphasis has been on identifying where knowledge exists and codifying that knowledge, or at least making it more accessible.
This is not necessarily the wrong way to go about things, particularly in a climate in which businesses need to take full advantage of any resources at their disposal. It is also not as though businesses have entirely cracked how to do this. In all but a few companies (and perhaps not even that many), KM practitioners continue to struggle with issues relating to culture and change management – the goal of establishing a truly collaborative working environment remains elusive. But by concentrating exclusively on this aspect of KM, firms are overlooking a crucial phase in the knowledge lifecycle: that of knowledge creation.
Sustained success in any market is dependent upon a firm’s ability to learn from the environment in which it operates and from everyday activities, and to apply that learning to improve and transform the organisation. In turn, businesses need to develop the capabilities to identify and bridge the knowledge gaps that exist among their employees, and to work to establish a culture of learning that reaches from top to bottom. Unless a company is able to continually react and adapt to new opportunities and threats, it will quickly find itself losing ground on its competitors. Our exploration of the role KM has to play in the process of knowledge creation begins on page 10.
Simon Lelic, Editor
Your Say: KM and knowledge creation
Traditional knowledge-management programmes have focused primarily on the process of capturing and sharing knowledge and information, at the expense of that of knowledge creation and learning. Simon Lelic talks to representatives from Fujitsu Services, Macroinnovation, Pfizer, Simcorp Consultants and SimuLearn, and discusses how organisations should act to redress this imbalance.
Unleashing the power of metaphor in business games
In the process of knowledge creation and learning, business games and simulations offer an effective means of ensuring employees are actively engaged. In turn, and as John Castledine explains, metaphor is a powerful and cost-effective tool for promoting a deep understanding of the key issues involved.
Beyond first-generation KM
In the past, knowledge-management programmes have focused on knowledge as if it were simply a more complex form of information. Roderick Smith and Simon Burnett discuss the limitations of this approach, and outline the need to move towards a more balanced understanding of what knowledge is and how we should attempt to manage it.
Mind the (knowledge) gap
A crucial process in the continued success of any enterprise is that of identifying and bridging gaps in organisational knowledge. Joseph M. Firestone outlines the importance of enhancing problem-recognition, idea-generation and error-elimination capabilities if businesses are to fulfil their potential and achieve the results their stakeholders demand.
Knowledge as a competitive weapon
The automotive stamping industry is an extremely specialised environment, characterised by workers with invaluable industry-specific knowledge and experience, but with, at best, moderate IT literacy, highly visual ways of thinking and a distrust of management initiatives. Victor Pantano, Jeremy Smith and Michael Cardew-Hall outline Ford Australias attempts to build a knowledge-based system that would overcome these problems, facilitate knowledge capture and increase dissemination between upstream and downstream processes.
On the web: Intranet restructuring at Deloitte & Touche
Having successfully launched an intranet at Deloitte & Touche, Samantha Fanning soon realised that the game was not over. A couple of months after the site had gone live, Fannings team revisited the structure, navigation and classification system of the intranet to align it with external developments and internal strategies.
Book review: Knowledge Assets
Steve Hales reviews Knowledge Assets Professionals Guide to Valuation and Financial Management by Mark Clare and Arthur DeTore
Five minutes with
Jacquie Bran, project manager with the Knowledge Management events team, spoke to Terrence Hilty, global manager within the Knowledge Management Group of Dow Corning, about his experiences working to ensure the companys knowledge-management initiative continues to evolve.
Country focus: Poland
Simon Lelic talks to Mariusz Strojny about the impact knowledge management has had in Poland.
The knowledge: Robert H. Buckman
Buckman Labs has become one of the most oft-cited examples of a successful knowledge-based enterprise, and a huge amount of credit for the companys achievements is owed to Bob Buckman, former CEO and chairman of the board. He talks to Simon Lelic about his personal accomplishments and what he sees as the dominant issues facing knowledge-management practitioners.