How to make knowledge management work

Knowledge Management is expected to help a company navigate through future course of action via the collection of working bits from the past. At an individual level, knowledge acquired through training and experience is useful only when applied successfully in a practical context of the profession. University trained doctors are expected to translate their academic or theoretical knowledge of medical discipline into the practice of their clinic/ hospital. It works. Else, you cannot progress further in your career or profession. Even-though, it may not be well structured, you have an internal system that makes you learn and adopt.

At work, knowledge is expected to transfer successfully between departments, teams and people doing different work in different parts of the organisation and many a times – at different points of time. Since transfer over organisational interfaces and boundaries often fail to materialise, the need of managing that comes to play. You will see a lot of attempts to make this work through deployment of technology interventions – tools, techniques and methods. Supplemented by awards, rewards and recognitions. But, you will also notice that most of these become elements of tick-in-the-box, very quickly. Knowledge management slowly turns into Archives Management.

Making the knowledge/ learning systematically transferred into day-to-day practice is the key to increase the efficiency of transfer. Instead of building a knowledge management system and several costly interventions, change the way-of-working routinely. As and when new and important knowledge/learning is acquired/discovered. If the piece of learning can not be translated to an application in the routine work, chances of that fading away even in the memory of the system is very high.

The value of the knowledge is in the application of it in practice. Devise and support a knowledge-movement. The one that helps transfer of knowledge into routine practice without the-management. This will make knowledge management work for you.

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