A lot of discussion /questions this week seem to be focused on knowledge capture /retention / harvesting. A lot of people seem to be asking things like ‘how do I do this’ or ‘how do I encourage people who are about to leave the company to share their knowledge’.
Many of the responses are of high quality and read as if they come from someone who has actually been involved in doing work like this rather than someone who has read a book about it. But they focus on the capture and very little about re-use of what has been captured.
In some instances the purpose of why the knowledge is being captured seems to have been lost. There also seems to be potential confusion as to what ‘knowledge sharing’ entails.
I was asked to benchmark on one organisation’s knowledge management processes and was immediately taken by the very high level of senior management support that it had. ‘Knowledge sharing’ was a mantra that was repeated by senior management in speeches, publications, in their day to day interaction with the workforce. It was impressive.
Their knowledge bank was brimming over with high quality material. Their internal KM team had put a lot of effort into marketing the knowledge bank and its existence was well known in the organisation. Almost everyone that I spoke to had submitted material to the knowledge bank and many had ‘knowledge sharing’ written into their personal objectives.
However the words ‘knowledge sharing’ were being heard as ‘I will share my knowledge with you’, the re-use of what was already there was missing.
Knowledge capture is but one part of the equation, you also need to include the other part, knowledge re-use.