For a while now we have talked about the need to manage the ‘whole’ KM process. We’re not the only ones, this article in The Hindu, an interview with Sandhya Shekhar, the CEO of the Chennai-based IIT Madras Research Park, shows that people are talking about the same things, but the way to operationalise the “weaving” or integration of KM within the wider organisation is not necessarily clear – It is almost like an ideal, something we talk about without being sure of how to actually do it.
Sounds like a challenge…
So, what do we mean and where’s the evidence?
Cutting through the jargon and the hype, this is it. First the evidence process…with links to our other blog posts to help bring some extra context to what we’re discussing:
- We have examined over 500 aspects of operational, practitioner and academic literature to find out what people are talking about when they are working with KM – to do this we looked across sectors and geographic locations
- We found 278 descriptions of KM activities that we boiled down to 16 groupings – basically groups of synonyms
- We then took these groupings and tested them to see what KMers and academics thought of them – an opportunity for challenge
- We then looked at the complexity of the groupings and through further analysis developed 4 functions and 12 constructs – ending up with the K-Kore Model
- Taking it a step further, we wanted to know if there was another model out there that showed practitioners what the KM system and sub-processes looked like; so we looked at over 100 theories, frameworks and KM models – from popular frameworks, such as SECI, through to consulting tools published on KM consultant websites…we didn’t find one that explicitly answered to our findings (using the 278 descriptions identified in the first part of the analysis). See the blog post: “Nonaka, the wonderful wizard of KM“
- We then tested our findings through a survey of practitioners and academics mapping the responses through fractal analysis to identify self-similarity in what people were saying
- We needed to take things a step further – Not only did we need to show people ‘what’ the KM system incorporated, but we needed to show them ‘how’ to integrate the constructs; to do this we created the K-Core toolkit
- We then took the findings out for a ‘test drive’ through various face-to-face forums in the UK, Hungary, Hong Kong, France, Ireland, Bahrain, Russia, Singapore and the United States
- Finally, the model and toolkit was tested in Multi-Nationals in Europe and Asia Pacific along with SMEs in the UK and public organisations in the Middle East and the UK.
- The research has been peer-reviewed and published in 5 journal articles and 6 international conference papers; it has also been made available through 3 professional journal articles – see these blog posts: “The Knowledge-Core (K-core) model” or “I say tomato” (Inside Knowledge May 2011) or “Redefining KM: New principles for better practice” (Ark Group Publications)
The basic overview and simple descriptions of the 4 functions and 12 constructs is as follows – please note, this blog is far too limited to discuss all the aspects of the research or the 278 descriptors…happy to chat off-line with anyone interested in a more detailed discussion:
The 4 Functions
KM needs to enable the organisation to…
Acquire and store knowledge – Not just about technology or information storage, see these blog posts: “Knowledge Leak? Don’t just stick a thumb in it, KM it” or “KM and organisational learning in Bahrain“
The 12 Constructs
To enable the 4 functions, KM needs to ‘manage’ these constructs…
1. What you already know: What do you know, and how do you know what you know? See these blog posts: “Six critical things your company wants to know” or “Two killer KM questions, how would you answer them?”
2. Context: How do set the context for what you are doing; how do you align and operationalise KM with strategy and planning processes? See the blog posts: “KM is dead! Long live knowledge!” or “KM: The ROI myth”
3. Motivation: What frameworks exist to stimulate people to interact with KM processes, including leadership – basically, how do you motivate people? See the blog post: “For KM’s sake, get the people factor right!”
4. Culture: What does your organisational typology say about your culture and how do you adapt your processes to overcome barriers – this can include multi-cultural issues experienced by multi-location organisations?
5. Spaces: Virtual and physical spaces, how do people interact, do they meet their needs?
6. Organisational structure: How does it impact the knowledge flow, where are the blockages?
7. Artefacts: What knowledge artefacts exist, where do they exist and do they transmit the knowledge that you need them to?
8. Reflection: What feedback processes do you employ; do they tell you what you need to know; what about quality assurance?
9. Knowledge structure: How do you structure your knowledge, how is it indexed and how does it impact access?
10. Catalysts (four of them): Do you give people enough time; the financial resources; do you have the right people doing the right job; and the right technology frameworks to enable your people and their projects?
11. Communication: How do you communicate your knowledge and your knowledge needs; how do people communicate?
12. Extending what you know: Questioning processes that allow you to learn and build upon what you already know or create that ‘epiphany moment’ of something totally new.
How to enable and analyse these constructs and their interactions… well, that’s what we do for organisations through the K-Core toolkit and we’re happy to share our process with anyone who would like to chat – just contact us off-line (for an example, see the blog post “Knowledge and Learning at the new frontier: A K-Core case study“)