Knowledge Management Process
The overall knowledge management process can prove complex and often lengthy. From start to finish it requires expertise and specific technology to ensure a smooth execution, and even then, needs constant monitoring.
There are several ways that the knowledge management process can be broken down, but in its simplest form it can be categorised into 4 parts: discover, capture, organisation, share.
Let’s unpack these 4 steps further.
‘We only know what we know when we need to know it”
- Dave Snowden
The discovery stage of the knowledge management process is responsible for finding out what exactly a business needs to know and where knowledge already exists. This generally includes explicit knowledge that is already documented, but perhaps in a fragmented way.
Knowledge management will extract this explicit knowledge through the data mining of company documents, intranets and other records. Good Knowledge Management software will be able to semi-automate this time-consuming but necessary process.
As the name suggests, this step focuses on the capturing of knowledge that is not documented. It concerns turning the tacit knowledge into explicit, consumable knowledge.
This is arguably the most challenging and time-consuming step of the knowledge management process; knowledge management must capture the knowledge that resides in employees’ brains, that has become second nature to them and therefore difficult to communicate.
There are a number of methods that Knowledge Managers use to capture tacit knowledge including:
- Retrospect (reflection meetings that take place after the completion of a project)
- Knowledge harvesting (often involving senior employees)
Once knowledge has been discovered and captured, knowledge management must unpack and process it in a way that makes it consumable for all. This requires deep analysis to see how knowledge can be best organised, displayed and incorporated into the company.
The organisation and accessibility of knowledge is the very essence of knowledge management. Therefore, it is crucial that this step is conducted successfully.
Most businesses use knowledge management software to organise and store their knowledge. Purpose-built systems order and display knowledge effectively to remove the fear, uncertainly and ambiguity surrounding knowledge.
Making the right knowledge available to the right people at the right time is key. Without this step, a company would have masses of vital knowledge beautifully stored and organised with no way to access it.
Knowledge sharing pulls all the other knowledge management steps together. It takes all the acquired knowledge and communicates it throughout a company. Some Knowledge Management Software even gamifies aspects of knowledge sharing, allowing employees to submit articles for approval, which if used lets others comment on and interact with.
Knowledge can be delivered via presentations and meetings but the most effective way to share it is through knowledge management software, allowing knowledge to be consistent and available on demand depending on who you are in the company.
To find out more about the knowledge management process, click here.