We develop strategies to gain competitive advantage through the knowledge that is all about you.
This is not content management or document storage - it is about enabling access to the right information at the right time, and about fostering a culture of enquiry and usage that leads to understanding.
There is a lot of theoretical research out there, but very little practical experience. We have a lot of the latter(!) and know what it takes for a knowledge culture to grow and thrive in an organisation.
In our experience, an organisation can only develop a competitive advantage from knowledge if it adopts light-touch knowledge management processes, offers staff freedom of choice, and backs it all up with some sophisticated yet near-invisible technology. Using an enterprise-wide technology sledgehammer to crack the nut will only end in expensive tears...
We have a proven approach to developing knowledge strategies:
- Map the current status quo.
- Engage everyone in exploring possible options.
- Involve only a few in developing detailed solutions.
- Use 'light touch' technology.
- Build in multi-channel mechanisms for continual feedback and continual improvement.
Charting current practices
The first step to developing a knowledge strategy is to understand the current status quo, what is causing it, and what are the barriers to change.
We often find that business units do not talk to each other for the oddest of historical reasons, with the result that valuable knowledge is hidden away from others and so becomes effectively worthless. We regularly discover that the groups who should be communicating with each other are often operating in silos which generate unnecessary costs to the organisation.
Knowledge only has a value if people actually use it.
Nothing will change with a new strategy unless an organisation's staff and contractors are involved in the development of the processes and technologies. That said, design of detailed solutions by committee is painful, slow and almost inevitably ends in knowledge strategies that fail.
Thus there is a balance to be struck between the engagement of everyone and the fostering of key advocates who embed genuine usage of knowledge throughout the entire organisation.
It's not about the technology
People create and consume knowledge in a way that is viral, organic and fluid. So it is important to utilise a light-touch technology that is an enabler and not positioned as the solution itself. That technology needs to support people's behavioural tendencies, not fight against them.
How are we doing?
Organisations evolve over time and so too must their approach to fostering the use of knowledge. To help achieve this we develop strategies that generate continual feedback that can be used for continual improvement.