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9 Valuable Tips From Knowledge Management Experts

9 Valuable Tips From Knowledge Management Experts

Knowledge management (KM) is the cornerstone of any organization. It is what employers use to function and what they rely on to provide good customer service. Giva has compiled nine nugget tips from four KM experts:

David Gurteen

Gurteen is a KM expert and public speaker who created the Gurteen Knowledge Community and Knowledge Cafes. In an interview with TallyFox, he gave the following tips:

  • Knowledge management occurs when engaging conversations are held and the knowledge is ingrained in the minds of employees. According to Gurteeen, when knowledge is captured through video, images, writing or any other way, it transforms to information. Employees must then use the knowledge they have to comprehend it. Therefore, Gurteen advises that people should learn how to have more productive and engaging face-to-face conversations with colleagues. He also promotes the Gurteen knowledge cafe initiative which encourages organizations to get employees thinking. In these "cafes" a speaker puts forward an idea then asks the audience for their input on the matter.

  • Gurteen also believes that the main reason why businesses fail is because KM is always undermined and viewed as an unnecessary asset that can be cut out of expenses when need be. On the contrary, knowledge should be leveraged in attempts at solving organizational issues. Gurteen advises that businesses should identify the problems or opportunities before searching for suitable KM solutions for them.

Ian Thorpe

Thorpe, who is in charge of UNICEF'S Learning and Knowledge exchange team, provides insights on how Digital Development Principles can also be leveraged in the development of KM:

  • Thorpe emphasizes that KM tools should be designed for the user, not for the knowledge itself. Simply put, knowledge is not collected for the sake of management, rather it is used to assist in reaching specific goals within the organization (CS and other functions). KM projects need to be launched with a purpose and developed in a way that is easy for the user to leverage. This can be achieved by understanding the current forms of knowledge sharing that employees use, the forms of tech that are accessible to them and their preferences.

  • Additionally, Thorpe mentions that the use of data and analytics is very effective in KM. By following the numbers, organizations can assess which KM tools are used the most, which ones are the most convenient and whether the knowledge that is gathered is actually utilized. Such data provides insight into whether the KM solutions have been successful in increasing productivity or not.

  • Thorpe also promotes the free use of data, open source and innovative ideas. He disagrees with the fact that knowledge is often stored away behind subscription fees, copyright laws, among other things. He is a firm believer that making those things free will provide equal opportunity for knowledge sharing. This would open up more doors to the open exchange of experiences and data.

Esteban Kolsky

Kolsky, an experienced analyst and knowledge expert, has a unique take on KM.

  • Kolsky believes that knowledge decays at a rate of 50 percent for every minute it exists. Accordingly, he advises that people should not hold tight to it, rather they should maintain it, spread it and use it as much as possible. Today, data is often outdated before it is even stored. Kolsky says that managing, storing and discovering knowledge at a fast pace is a challenge that must be overcome.

  • Another thing that Kolsky reiterates is that knowledge is found among customer and user communities, more so than in KM systems. He believes that knowledge bases are virtually useless, since knowledge becomes obsolete so quickly. Therefore, Kolsky encourages people to come together and share knowledge by collaborating on projects. This is something he calls "the wisdom of the masses." In a way, by asking people to converge and earn each other's trust, he is implying that knowledge bases can exist within the minds of people, rather than in databases. Naturally, while this point of view may work in smaller businesses, it may not be a success in larger ones.

Dave Snowden

Snowden has written seven ground rules for KM based on his experiences as a knowledge expert: Some of them are:

People only recall their knowledge when they need it:

  • This refers to the fact that one's ability to remember the knowledge they have is circumstantial and depends on a stimulus. Small acts or hints that pop up throughout our day can spark a memory of how to do something. This is in contrast with computers, which always contain stored data but require the user to input the correct terms to retrieve them.

We do not report the knowledge we have in the same way it is stored in our mind:

  • Memories we store in our minds change within seconds. Over time, ideas merge, become more organized and make more sense. Consequently, when people are asked about about a process they went through for a project, their responses are organized and orderly, something that typically contradicts the reality.