Knowledge management projects should focus on the practical

Thursday, 25 July, 2013


Organisations need to rethink their approach to knowledge management, putting greater emphasis on practical knowledge that can deliver measurable results.

This is the conclusion of a five-year study from University of Greenwich Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas.

According to a report from Coulson-Thomas based on the study, organisations are storing and sharing the wrong sort of knowledge.

“Many organisations just load material onto a corporate intranet. What is captured and shared is often ‘commodity knowledge’ that is available to others. It does not differentiate or represent a source of competitive advantage,” Coulson-Thomas said.

Corporate knowledge management initiatives have traditionally been far too general and complex, and have underdelivered, he said, recommending that companies take a more focused and agile approach.

“We need to step up from information management to knowledge-based performance support that helps key work groups to excel. Personalised help relevant to a particular job, issue or situation should be accessible 24/7 wherever people are, including when on the move.”

Many current corporate initiatives are also based on vague promises of future benefit, rather than measurable impact today.

“We need to shift the emphasis from ‘knowing’ to ‘doing’. Performance support can have a quick and direct impact on performance by focusing on knowledge of how to do things and - in particular - how to excel at difficult jobs,” Coulson-Thomas said.

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