Knowledge Management in our lives: part II
1 January 2013
Approximately a month ago, I published an article that discussed defining Knowledge Management differently than the definition commonly found in various sources. In this article I wish to continue my journey, titled "Knowledge Management in our lives". I will discuss additional components of the field and how they manifest in our day-to-day lives, namely: sharing, development of new knowledge and retaining past knowledge.
We are nowadays witnessing the sharing and creation of new knowledge in an astounding velocity on a nearly daily basis. We sometimes find it difficult to internalize and follow the process. This is especially true in regard to Social Networks. For example, after publishing a picture/status we will receive countless responses/answers, ideas and tips. This is due to the will and need to share. Usually people who possess required knowledge or information are happy to contribute it and share it on the web in order to help, stand out or feel powerful. Following this example, it is only natural that we compare between the levels of willingness to share on the web than willingness to share via tools designated for sharing in the organization. In most cases, there is a substantial difference between the two. There is less responsiveness on behalf of organization workers to share with their peers than to share via Social Networks. From my personal experience, the reasons for this phenomenon are: lack of time, overwork and organizational culture that doesn't sufficiently encourage this sharing.
Creating new knowledge
As mentioned above, new knowledge can be seen everywhere. A striking example is our conversations with our friends. We share knowledge in these conversations, are exposed to new knowledge in a variety of new knowledge, discuss and develop new insights and thus create knowledge we did not possess prior to the discussion.
If we analogize the aforementioned example to the field of KM in organizations, we can point out similar processes such as focus groups, global teams and brainstorming, all utilized for the purpose of developing new knowledge. The difference between the two situations is that the knowledge development in the organization is performed through an organized, goal oriented process and methodology while in a social meeting between friends the process is preformed while its performers unaware. This is actually the beauty of Knowledge Management in our lives.
Retaining the knowledge of yesterday
There are many examples of Knowledge Retention n our day-to-day lives. Here is an example of retaining the knowledge of yesterday:
We have all had to go through a bureaucratic process. In order to survive through such, tips, phases, shortcuts and recognizing relevant contacts can help a great deal. In these situations I retain the process and its relevant nuances in order to ease the process for myself or my friends in case we need to go through the process again in the future.
Many organizations have realized the potential of Knowledge Retention, when forced to deal with the retirement of a key worker in the organization in order to prevent the loss of this worker's known and unknown knowledge. It is recommended not to wait till the worker retires, rather retain the knowledge while the worker is still hired in order to access the worker's knowledge in real time as well as prepare material for the worker's substitute.
The retaining process, if done correctly and routinely, may conserve many resources and substantially ease the work process.
In conclusion, I will list four concepts discussed in both articles: accessibility, sharing, development of new knowledge, and retaining the existing knowledge. As you've seen, manifestations and examples of these four concepts can be found in all fields and aspects of our day-to-day life. What makes Knowledge Management a profession is the enveloping of all four concepts, which is an organized, goal-oriented methodological process.