Innovation knowledge management

“Managing organizational knowledge can stimulate cultural change and innovation by encouraging the flow of ideas. Within the company, we were able to achieve greater effectiveness and innovation, which means we are doing a good KM.” - Horea Ratiu, (Director), MSG Systems, IT company, RO

What does knowledge management mean?

Types of knowledge:

  • Tacit: it is cumulated in the brain of the individual, so it is not easy to transfer and to be used by others.
  • Explicit: it is stored in documents (handbooks and instructions) – so it is easy to transfer and to be used by others. 

When we want to manage knowledge we first have to define what type of knowledge we intend to manage. Different cultures have different words and we find many definitions. In our context, we will use the term KNOWLEDGE for having information about subjects, processes and skills for dealing with them. This includes our acquired experiences. This knowledge – which we want to manage – can be our own personal knowledge. It is inside us, others do not see it. We call it TACIT. Knowledge that we can find in other sources, like books, instructions, etc., we call EXPLICIT.

This sounds theoretical but this basic distinction shall be understood for elaborating different strategies in knowledge management (KM).

Advantages of knowledge management

All of us will remember situations where we spent time looking for a file or document which we had stored but could not remember where. Or we composed a document knowing that a similar had been already written – but could not find it. Or a colleague did a job in a wrong way because the information did not reach him properly. Or a colleague left the company from one day to the other and nobody knows how to find specific information or to do the job properly (we speak of losing of “critical knowledge” then). You will perhaps also remember situations where you were angry because relevant information did not reach you.

Main areas of knowledge management

KM is a process that we can develop on our own, slowly, systematically. Who should be involved in this process? It is important that the management should not see it as a new task to do. KM needs our continuous attention. Managers will not have time for it besides their daily business duties. KM needs your support and monitoring.

Talk to your team: choose someone who is accepted by the others, who likes communicating and is reliable. He/she will be “responsible for knowledge”. This person shall not see this task as a burden. You should always allow sufficient time for tasks connected to KM, so that your team will have more information and tools. Recognise and consider KM tasks according to their real value: a very important factor supporting the development of your company.

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