Knowledge, as they say, is power. It is also one of your business’s most vital forms of capital – the bedrock on which innovation is founded, and the fuel that drives growth and expansion. But many companies pay insufficient attention to how knowledge is captured, nurtured, shared and perpetuated. This can lead to the degradation of a business’s information resources, and a failure to maximise employee potential. In order to ensure this does not happen to your business, a robust and dynamic knowledge management strategy is vital.
Making your business’s knowledge work for you
Once they have been in business for a number of years, most companies will find that they have accumulated a vast repository of information and expertise. Knowledge management is a discipline that focuses on making the most of this knowledge, making it available and accessible to the employees that need it, and drawing on skills that already exist within the organisation, rather than trying to reacquire them through superfluous training or recruitment.
How to avoid making the same mistakes twice
Experienced knowledge management consultants take the view that an effective knowledge management strategy within a company should enable employees, their teams, and the organisation as a whole to achieve their objectives by systematically creating, sharing and implementing knowledge. Simply put, rather than expecting each employee or project to learn a process from scratch, a capable knowledge management consultant will help to create an environment where team members can benefit from mistakes made and lessons learned in the past. This ensures that occasional challenges and failures in a business’s evolution are turned into opportunities, and help to prevent future slip-ups.
An emerging discipline
The concept of knowledge management is a relatively new one, but already the discipline has been consolidated with named posts in the hierarchy of many major companies, and accepted as an academic discipline in its own right – not to mention the large number of specialist knowledge management consultants who have sprung up over the past few years.
Depending on the approach of the practitioner and the requirements of the organisation, there are various perspectives from which knowledge management may be approached.
- Techno-centric: Consultants working in this field will focus on the most effective technological solutions to enhance knowledge creation, capture and sharing.
- Organisational: Taking a broader perspective, an organisational knowledge management consultant will investigate ways in which an organisation can be changed to facilitate knowledge processes.
- Ecological: This more detailed and abstract approach takes into account a wide range of variables, considering a knowledge-based organisation a complex adaptive system similar to a natural ecosystem.
The means and methods of knowledge management can be a complex and unwieldy field to navigate. Engaging an experienced consultant can help organisations not only to ensure they are adopting the correct approach towards knowledge management, but also to follow the knowledge management strategy most likely to reap results, and help their company build on past successes to thrive in the future.