Before I rolled into the wonderful world of intranets, I had a Knowledge Management role, like so many of my intranet/collaboration/digitalworkplace peers.
At that time, from around 2000, Knowledge Management was like “The Internet of Things” now, or “(Enterprise) Social Media” some years ago: you could go to a conference every day and everyone was trying to sell you fantastic software and gadgets that would solve all your company’s problems immediately. Until I asked them innocently how that Knowledge would get into the system they were trying to sell me. “You have to put it in” they said. Yeah right. In my old siloed company, getting to know what we had to know and what we actually knew was only the first problem, let alone collecting, collating, structuring and putting it in!
While vendors and consultants were totally excited about Knowledge Management, the people I worked with, mostly the General Managers of our 50-odd silos, were totally bored. People’s eyes glazed over when I mentioned the word “Knowledge” and sometimes they did not even hear the word “Management” 🙂 .
As by magic their agendas filled up with other priorities when I wanted to talk about it. They zoned out before I had the chance to mention anything about the benefits.
Later, when I approached (almost) the same General Managers to talk about “intranet”, they freed up space in their agenda, introduced me to their team and took me to lunch. Intranet was fun and interesting and they all had an opinion and things on their wishlist. How curious!
I have not dared to use the word for years!
Recently I have noticed a revival of Knowledge Management. It still means a lot of different things to different people, but the word and the concept are back.
- Is it because the world is asking for more and more products and services based on information, intelligence and knowledge?
- Is it because people are noticing knowledge gaps in their company, caused by layoffs during the recent recession?
- Is it because we have more and easier tools to gather and distribute knowledge?
- Is it the success of the current hype of Content Marketing which is, in my book, a tangible and marketable outcome of Knowledge Management?
I do not know and I will not elaborate on those assumptions. But I recently found some of my materials from that time and thought they would be nice to update and share.
We had selected a few topics we wanted to focus on:
- Improving the speed to market of our products (I am a Food Technologist and had been involved in New Product Development for 15 years, so I was a good candidate for that project)
- How to keep the knowledge of leaving experts in the company
- Making information on a certain topic available on the intranet
Now you know the missing link between Food Technology and Intranet/Digitalworkplace in my career :-).
I will share my “Leaving Experts Decision Flowchart” with you next time.
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net