What is KM - questionnaire
I'm speaking at a workshop in June that brings together experts from knowledge management, organizational development (AD) and human performance technology (more on the workshop later). In part of the promotional setup, the organizers want to know about these disciplines. Here are my answers to their questions. As always, I welcome responses to these, as I continually refine them based on my own experiences and those of my friends and colleagues.
Q1. What is KM? What business needs does it help satisfy? What benefits does it seek to provide a business?
A1. Knowledge Management is a view of the world that looks at people, their environment and the information they need in their business. The key behind all these for KM is that knowledge flows between people and is modified by the environment and the existing mechanisms around formal recording of information. The main goal for KM is to tap into the collective knowledge of the organization, past and present, and use that to drive the business forward.
Q2. Relationship between [OD, KM, HPT] and the traditional concept of training and corporate learning.
A2. These disciplines are highly inter-related. KM happens to focus on the concept of knowledge sharing and opening channels between people for those purposes. But this is what I believe is a key concept behind OD: creating organizations that are aligned with the needs of the business as a whole. The focus may not be explicitly on "knowledge sharing," but from a KM viewpoint, knowledge flows are enhanced or hindered by the environment. Is OD focused on strictly providing knowledge around tasks, or does it extend into developing relationships that ensure knowledge sharing after formal training ends.
Obviously, the technologies used for HPT can also support KM, and visa-versa. Do the technologies share common infrastructure; can they share content? Are these technologies supporting knowledge flows? What about active knowledge sharing, can the tools from KM and HPT support these conversations around business-critical issues? How does sharing of mistakes and successes related to the growth of individuals and of the teams and organization under which they work.
Q3.How it works (methodologies, people, success)
A3. My methodology has more to do with understanding the core problems the organization is facing and understanding how a knowledge management approach can help eliminate or reduce that problem. The people involved in crafting a full solution have to be the people affected by the problem being overcome. These are the people who can help articulate the impact that this problem has on their daily life and on the business. And these are the people who can help design a new solution that ensures the problem goes away. Success is measured by the extent to which the problem is diminished or removed, and how fast.
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