Knowledge Management 15 years on – RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter June 2011

Other information and knowledge management practitioners might echo our own experience of first having got ‘involved’ with Knowledge Management in the mid- to late-1990s.  At the time there was the usual range of reactions to what many perceived as the latest ‘initiative’ or management trend: skepticism, enthusiastic exploration and advocacy, or something in between.

Fifteen years on and RiverRhee Consulting has been hearing about and witnessing a not unexpected spread in the extent of adoption of Knowledge Management by organisations: some ignorance of what it’s all about combined with interest in finding out more, some skepticism about its value, a lot of continuing evangelism by information and knowledge management practitioners, and some organisations claiming that it is embedded in the way they work.

In this newsletter we’ll highlight a half-dozen insights or reflections based on the things we’ve been hearing and writing about, from events we’ve attended, presented at and facilitated in recent months.

1. ‘Knowledge Management is an ecosystem’.

Elisabeth Goodman shared a speaker platform with Mary Jensen (Baker Hughes) at IQPC’s SmartLab Exchange2 in Berlin earlier this year. The conference delegates were at various stages in their adoption of Knowledge Management (KM) and so we reminded them that effective KM does rely on addressing all the components of a business ‘ecosystem’: people, process, content or information, technology and strategy (as well as compliance). There is still a tendency to focus on only one or two of these components.

2. Knowledge Management can enhance the implementation and embedding of other management strategies

This was one of the central themes of the SmartLab Exchange presentation, and also of Elisabeth’s presentation at IQPC’s’ Business Process Excellence3 conference in London in April. We discussed how KM can enhance the implementation and embedding of process improvement (Operational Excellence, or Lean and Six Sigma).  This is one of the pillars for achieving ‘high-velocity’ organisations described by Steven Spear4, and is at the core of RiverRhee Consulting’s offerings.

3. Communities of Interest / Practice amd After Action Reviews are as relevant as ever but there is a lot of ignorance about how to make them work

John Riddell and Elisabeth ran a workshop5 for the IQPC London conference introducing various KM techniques and it was Communities of Interest / Practice which delegates were especially interested in learning more about.  The topic of After Action Reviews also came up at our seminar for APM in May, which we are repeating in Norwich(6) in July. Although people recognize the value of these, they still find it difficult to ensure that they take place and that the learnings are effectively re-used

4. Sharepoint has a lot of potential as a KM tool and there’s a lot of valuable learning out there

SharePoint is an important and even core business tool for many organisations, and Elisabeth wrote a tweet-based blog (7) on some of the key points that arose during a recent NetIKX seminar on the subject.  From the comments of speakers and delegates alike, it’s obvious that the tool has a lot of potential for supporting internal and external sharing and re-use of knowledge but that library, information and knowledge management practitioners are still learning the best way of helping end-users with this.

5. Internal and external ‘clouds’ and ‘crowd-sourcing’ are important Knowledge Management tools

SharePoint and Social Media tools provide valuable platforms for collaborating and pulling ideas for innovation both internally and externally.  Elisabeth’s tweet-based write-up of the SharePoint meeting and her blog on another NetIKX meeting8 in January 2011 include references for how SharePoint and social media can be used to support collaboration, learning and development, and act as virtual reference sources.

6. Information and Knowledge Management practitioners can provide valuable guidance for the effective use of Social Media

As we wrote in our last KM newsletter in August 2010(9), social media tools and how they are used have a significant role to play in the evolution of KM, whether for business or leisure.  RiverRhee Consulting’s recent workshop for members of The Cambridge Network team(10), and Elisabeth’s article for FUMSI on LinkedIn(11) are examples of how we can use our insights of KM to help users of social media in general make the most of these tools.

Closing thoughts

The value and power of the whole Knowledge Management ecosystem is as obvious today as it has ever been.  New organisational dynamics, management strategies and technologies underscore its relevance and the benefits it can bring in fostering collaboration, innovation and general business growth and development.  Our challenge as information and knowledge management practitioners continues to be how we can help people to recognize and make the most of what Knowledge Management has to offer to enhance overall organisational goals and strategies.

Notes

  1. RiverRhee Consulting enhances team effectiveness using process improvement, knowledge management and change management.  Elisabeth Goodman is the owner and Pricinpal Consultant at RiverRhee Consulting, and also the Programme Events Manager for NetIKX.  John Riddell is an Associate of RiverRhee Consulting.
  2. SmartLabs Exchange, Berlin 28 Feb – 2 March 2011 Creating the right Knowledge Ecosystem to drive Operational Excellence. See write-up here: Operational Excellence and Knowledge Management in an R&D Laboratory Environment
  3. Business Process Excellence in Pharmaceuticals, Biotech and Medical Devices, April 2011 -Part 1 anPart 2
  4. The high-velocity edge, by Steven Spear, McGraw-Hill, 2009 (& blog)
  5. Photographs taken during IQPC Business Process Excellence workshop on Knowledge Management, April 2011
  6. Lean Six Sigma and Project Management – triangles and (virtuous) circles, APM, Norwich, 6th July
  7. 18 May NetIKX / CLSIG seminar on making the most of Sharepoint 
  8. NetIK write-up: Using Social Media to achieve organisational goals
  9. RiverRhee Consulting – August 2010 – Knowledge Management
  10. Testimonial from The Cambridge Network for endorsing RiverRhee Consulting’s Social Media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) workshop
  11. LinkedIn: An awesome information resource for building your reputation, your connections and your knowledge.  FUMSI, 1st June 2011
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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Knowledge Management 15 years on – RiverRhee Consulting Newsletter June 2011

  1. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.

    I do not know who you are but definitely you are going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

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