knowledge management in practice


The following represents a selection of practical knowledge management techniques, tools and initiatives which are geared to promote sustainable improvements in one or more of the facets of creation, sharing, storing, organising or working organisational knowledge.

4sight maintains a comprehensive (and growing !) database of such techniques, cross-referenced to indicate where likely benefits should match client objectives.

Sample KM Techniques & Tools:

After Action Reviews (AAR): The structured debriefing of participants by suitably trained person(s) at the conclusion of a project or identifiable event. Actual outcomes are compared to planned in a 'blame-free' environment with the intention of capturing lessons learned for future reference and use (Origin US Army)

Ask the expert: A facilitated 'market-place' where requests for 'expert' advice (with corresponding offers to help by experts) are made, responded to; ideally being stored for reference and use by others.

Communities of Practice (CoP): Increasingly recognised KM tool (with very natural origins) where a group of people form a community around a common interest or practice. Often CoPs transcend organisational boundaries, are self-forming and self-maintaining and have a natural life-cycle. However, they can be influenced through organisational direction, provision of suitable resources, leadership, example etc.

Competence Mapping Systems: Producing an accessible ontology and directory of deliverable skills i.e. allows 'experts' to be easily found. Helps leverage existing knowledge, reaffirm core-competences, create new "collective competencies" and identify skills gaps and clusters (H Bovet 2005)

Exit interviews:  An attempt to capture, organise and make available for re-use some of the explicit knowledge of departing employees that would otherwise be lost to the organisation.

Intellectual Capital Audits:  Beyond simply reporting on financial activity, organisations can measure relative performance (typically over time) of that most critical of resources, organisational knowledge or "intellectual capital". When viewed in the context of the corporate goals, these can be taken as indicators of future performance.

Knowledge centres:  Extended (digital) libraries where ideas, views, articles, papers, case studies, best practices, expert interviews etc. can be shared, typically within an organisation.

Peer Assists:  Facilitated and structured workshops where one group's knowledge and experience are tapped into by a second. Ideally focused on a specific issue or problem before it is addressed. With appropriate guidance, Peer Assists can uncover underlying issues/assumptions, display the issue/problem in a fresh light and enable new ideas leading to effective solutions (Pioneered by BP Amoco circa 1994)

Skunkworks:  (With a name like this it had to get a mention !) Where an organisational is 'seen' to encourage rather than discourage groups that work outside more normal lines of control i.e. high levels of autonomy - perhaps on advanced technical research projects.

Story-telling:  Where the ancient form of communicating and imparting information and knowledge gets a "make over" when it is proactively adopted into the culture and practices of an organisation. Stories can provide context and relationship between bits of information in ways that other 'presentations' are unable.

 knowledge management tools and techniques

knowledge management group techniques

group problem exploration session