Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management Chart

Knowledge Management Chart

Like many organizations and the information they produce and use, knowledge management can take many different forms. At its core, it means the retention, maintenance, and sharing of information that is vital to your employees’ work and to your organization’s mission. This information can include intellectual property, data, and records. Sound knowledge management practices should improve the way you do your work and enable you to use your information better for decision making. Effective knowledge management solutions include both human processes and technology toolsets

So What does Knowledge Management consist of?

So what is involved in KM? The most obvious point is the making of the organization’s data and information available to the members of the organization through portals and with the use of content management systems. Content Management, sometimes known as Enterprise Content Management, is the most immediate and obvious part of KM.
In addition to the obvious, however, there are three undertakings that are quintessentially KM, and those are the bases for most of what is described as KM.

Lessons Learned Databases
Lessons Learned databases are databases that attempt to capture and to make accessible knowledge that has been operationally obtained and typically would not have been captured in a fixed medium.
Most successful lessons learned systems have an active weeding or stratification process. Without a clearly designed process for weeding, the proportion of new and crisp items inevitably declines, the system begins to look stale and usage and utility falls. Deletion, of course, is not necessarily loss and destruction. Using stratification principles, items removed from the foreground can be archived and moved to the background but still made available.
Expertise Location
If knowledge resides in people, then one of the best ways to learn what an expert knows is to talk with that expert. Locating the right expert with the knowledge you need, though, can be a problem. The basic function of an expertise locator system is straightforward: it is to identify and locate those persons within an organization who have expertise in a particular area.
There are now three areas which typically supply data for an expertise locator system, employee resumes, employee self identification of areas of expertise, typically by being requested to fill out a form online, or by algorithmic analysis of electronic communications from and to the employee
Communities of Practice (CoPs)
CoPs are groups of individuals with shared interests that come together in person or virtually to tell stories, to share and discuss problems and opportunities, discuss best practices, and talk over lessons learned.
A CoP might, for example, focus on road construction and maintenance in arid conditions, and the point would be to include not only participants from the funding agency and the country where the relevant project is being implemented, but also participants from elsewhere who have expertise in building roads in arid conditions, such as staff from Research Boards and Department of Transportation.

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