Saturday, March 22, 2014

Digital Flow: The Future of Knowledge Management

Digital knowledge management is not managing knowledge as an object, it is providing the management system that enables knowledge flow and builds information stock. 

Digital means flow, data flow, information flow, and knowledge flow; there is a shift from more traditional knowledge management approaches to techniques that involve enhancing the "flow" of knowledge within an organization to improve access and use. As the accepted model of knowledge management is too hierarchical, too centralized for the fast-moving, increasingly social or collaborative digital enterprise of today, so it makes sense that something like flow management is seen as a more fitting.

Knowledge flow and stock: Digital knowledge management is not managing knowledge as an object, it is providing the management system that enables knowledge flow and builds information stock. Stock without flow is wasted effort and leads to bloated databases nobody uses. Flow without stock leads to ephemeral knowledge and constant reinvention of the wheel and relearning of lessons. Knowledge Management, taken as a whole, addresses both stock and flow; both connect and collect; both share and create.

Create an environment that encourages the utilization and the flow of knowledge. The knowledge stock should be perceived as something that changes the volume and shapes all the time. Why? Because knowledge does not stand still! It flows into the company, it flows out of it, it erodes; it gets created, and hopefully, it flows to the customers of that company in terms of product and service delivery too. KM is about understanding and driving the change of knowledge stock at minimal cost in a way that fits the strategy of the business the best.

Build the bridge from data to knowledge. Information is data with a purpose. Knowledge is information within context. Wisdom is the ultimate insight from the knowledge you accumulate. Data and information are available but what’s the best way to transform those data into valuable knowledge to the teams or company. The trouble with many organizations is that they don't even know what they buying into the workflow-only or centric mechanism (even if successfully implemented) only means the buyer will make mistakes faster, and perhaps more momentous than they did before.

Knowledge Management is a process to manage known from flowing. Look at the organization chart to find out where in the organization the requested expertise might be sitting - part of taking knowledge seriously as a corporate asset involves assigning responsibility for knowledge within the organization - both maintaining and improving the stock and ensuring the flow. Data is collected continuously and is meaningless until it is processed into information. Knowledge is information put to use. It is about having the social skills to connect, share, find, on and off the line with people who are very different from each other. A robust taxonomy is required to generate the dynamic ontology modern enterprises require turning shared awareness (with acceptable certainty levels) into action lead time ahead of competitors/threats.

Digital knowledge management has been expounding many of the principles such as connect-collect-collaborate; ask-learn-share, and solving some of the pains underlying it, unlocking latent expertise, collaboration through communities, getting the right information to the right person at the right time; geographically-distributed teams are connected by technology, there arises an opportunity to analyze and reuse the data they create as they go about their activities, and from that to generate valuable knowledge that can be shared to help everyone in their work and keep talent grow, as there's a fundamental difference between knowledge and expertise, but they're obviously related since knowledge changes as expertise grows. There is also an epistemic distinction between knowledge as the information put to use by human decisions (a flow, instantly obsolete), and the expertise (a stock) compiled by systems, by understanding these differences, the knowledge management can be more tailored and focused. 

In summary, digital knowledge management will enable not only the information flow and knowledge flow, but more importantly, it will empower the mind flow, and transform the modern business from static to dynamic, from efficient to agile and from functioning to delight


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