At the weekend, I was having a cup of coffee with other villagers when I was introduced to a newcomer, John. Our chat went along these lines:
John: So what do you
Rupert: I’m a
management consultant. I work in knowledge
John: [A look of bafflement on his face] Err, what’s that?
Rupert: Right…what do
John: I used to be an
architect, then I became a teacher and now I’m a campaigner.
Rupert: Okay, so in
any of those jobs there would have been knowledge in your head from which
others could benefit. Now, imagine you
were knocked down by a bus tomorrow – I’m sure your colleagues would miss you
for being you and would be upset etc.
But it probably wouldn’t be too long for them to miss you because you and
only you were the one that knew how to do certain things. Once you’re gone, it’s too late to ask, isn’t
it? Well, knowledge management tries to
get the stuff that’s in here [pointing to John’s head] out to those that can
use it now, before you walk in front of that bus.
John: Oh goodness,
tell me more. I’m running a really
important project at the moment and I’m retiring next year. What should we be doing to address that?
Rupert: Well, firstly,
you need to prioritise the knowledge you have – you can’t share everything and
time and resources are limited, so you need to work out in advance what is
critical and what is nice-to-have. So
you need what we call a knowledge
John: Okay, can you
send me details of that?
Rupert: Of course,
next you probably want some sort of knowledge capture process, like an interview
where you get to share your knowledge with those that need it, preferably in
the room but it’s a good idea to record it as well, on audio or maybe even
video for some sections. The key things
is that it’s not just you writing down what you think you know but you need
someone there that can represent the end-user, to get you to explain jargon and
to keep things as straightforward as possible.
John: Right…can you…?
Rupert: I’ll send you the
Rupert: Then there’s
what you do with the knowledge once it’s out there. It needs to be tidied up and made
presentable, then put into what we call a ‘knowledge asset’, which is
basically an online location, such as a wiki or portal that can be accessed by
all that need it, as well as edited and updated as things change and the
knowledge changes with it.
John: Gosh, I didn’t
even know such things existed. This is
really serendipitous, us meeting like this.
Please send me whatever you think we’ll need and then we can discuss.
Rupert: Happy to help.
If you’d like a conversation, with or without the coffee,
about how to measure, capture, analyse, protect, share, and in any other way
manage your knowledge, please get in touch or visit the Knoco website.