Knowledge Management (KM) is the creation and subsequent management of an environment that encourages expertise and experience (tacit knowledge) and information (explicit knowledge) to be created, shared, learned, enhanced and organised for the organisation’s benefit. An organisation’s strength not only includes its physical assets (information) it also includes its knowledge assets (people). KM is the systematic gathering and exploitation of those assets which may be explicit or hidden. It includes the recognition, capture and spreading of good practice, the utilisation of collective intelligence and the sharing of lessons learned.
IFC’s holistic approach comprises of the following key activities:
Organisations are facing ever-increasing challenges, brought on by economic and market forces to make more efficient use of their assets. Due to the nature of the workplace the knowledge that organisations can access to increase the productivity and success of businesses is critical. Many organisations are now looking to knowledge management (KM) to address these challenges. Such initiatives are often started with the development of a knowledge management strategy.
IFC's approach is to utilise tools and methods to identify opportunities for improving organisational performance through better knowledge management.
At IFC we believe that KM strategy must do more than just outline high-level goals such as "become a knowledge-enabled organisation". Our approach to strategy development identifies the key needs and issues within the organisation and provides a framework for addressing these. Our approach also identifies the inter-relationships between people, roles and responsibilities, information, expertise, the drivers and the strategic goals of the organisation. This approach gives us a clear understanding of the existing Knowledge Management culture, systems, processes and expectation which require close collaboration with the various teams as well as interviewing key stakeholders and decision makers within the organisation.
The outputs provide a road-map to deliver the organisational changes required to meet the challenges identified.
IFC's Knowledge Management experts assist in the pragmatic application and implementation of appropriate KM tools and methods to move the knowledge management strategy into action. The tools and methods are grouped together as follows:
Linking People to People
The aim of this category of approaches, methods and tools is to connect staff across the organisation, with key stakeholder groups, practitioners and experts to ensure that key learning and experience is shared. The underlying culture of sharing needs to be in place for these delivery activities to be successful.
Linking People to Information
Information runs through an organisation like electricity. It is what we all use every day to fuel our work. Knowledge work is about transforming information, discriminating, adding value to it, applying experience and expertise. The aim of the KM approaches, methods and tools in this category is to improve access to data and information which provides evidence for policy and practice advice.
The aim of this category of approaches, methods and tools is to ensure staff know about effective and relevant KM techniques so that knowledge is shared, captured and retained.
IFC recognise and support the establishment of a robust KM management framework containing the following elements:
- A set of clear corporate expectations for how knowledge will be managed in the organisation, including accountabilities for the ownership of key knowledge areas and the definition of corporate standards for Knowledge Management including the development and formulation of KM policies and procedures
- A Knowledge Management System, providing the means by which knowledge can be managed. This is not just an IT system, but a holistic management system which will include:
- Roles for Knowledge Management
- Processes for capturing, organizing, accessing and communicating knowledge.
- Technologies for capturing, organizing, accessing and communicating knowledge.
- A person or team monitoring and measuring the application of KM to make sure that people are delivering on their accountabilities and applying the system in the way that they are expected to, to identify the need for new interventions to improve the KM system and to ensure a continuous improvement in the ability of the organisation to manage strategic knowledge.
Our KM consultants support the establishment and enhancement of these frameworks through the development of pragmatic policy, procedures and changes to process.