Author of The Wealth of Knowledge, Tom Stewart boldly stated, connection not collection, was the essence of knowledge management. Managers need to constantly ask themselves how they can encourage employer-to-employee and employee-to-employee communication. Technology has pioneered new ways of fostering communication and managers shouldn’t be afraid to get off their dinosaurs and embrace new ways of communicating.
An effective knowledge platform is essential in remaining competitive in the market. Think of a knowledge platform as a stage or arena where key players in business come together to interact and share their knowledge.
The concept of an arena where the exchanging of information and ideas can take place is timeless. Ancient citizens of the city of Rome frequented a space called the Roman forum, then a marketplace. This forum was for centuries the centre of Roman public life and set the stage for some of Rome’s greatest advances. History giants like Julius Caesar delivered speeches from its podia, men and women gathered to share information and ideas and to buy and sell goods. Knowledge was freely exchanged and Rome thrived on the activity that happened here.
This forum concept should be kept in mind when trying to understand a ‘knowledge platform’.
Online social networking circles, corporate networking breakfasts, discussion groups, email interviews, and inter- and intra-company question and answer sessions, for example, might not be physically tangible as the cement-and-brick Roman forum, but like the forum, they are a space for connecting and exchanging ideas.
Idle knowledge is worth nothing. Knowledge needs to be active and alive and it is through connection that this happens.
As such, a knowledge platform is developed to facilitate connection. The understanding is that people, with their knowledge reserves, are the building blocks making companies – and when people connect, their knowledge reserves are released to be harvested.
Management needs to understand and work with staff to establish an environment of open communication. Through such lines of open communication, management can map and track the knowledge base within the company, in a process known as knowledge management.
Once the knowledge base is focused, measured and mapped, the information can be shared through the different tiers of management, enhancing collective knowledge within the organisation. This in turn creates a chain of support through the organisation, enhancing the customer experience.
Establishing a knowledge base is both an exciting and challenging undertaking for management. Many factors need to be considered to ensure its success.
The platform should bring together organisational resources and capabilities, business strategy, and the various components of knowledge management. It should also be linked to the company’s strategic needs and to a customer-centred approach. To identify the knowledge platform and formulate a plan for moving forwards, requires knowledge measurement, mapping and tracking in alignment with a solid knowledge management strategy.
Despite the challenges involved, such a platform can revolutionise your company and put you ahead of your game – much as the Roman forum revolutionised Rome and became the heart of the ancient city, once thought of as the capital of the world.