It’s a term that’s been around for a long time, but in the age of the great resignation, as organisations see people, and their collective knowledge walk away, it’s gained new resonance. In this post, we look at knowledge management, why it matters, and how it connects to curation.
What is knowledge management?
Technology is constantly evolving, and it’s up to every company to stay relevant and competitive in their field by adopting technology to improve their practice. Knowledge management is the practice of creating, acquiring, organizing, and retrieving knowledge to improve decision-making. This is built by knowledge workers and managers whose job involves capturing intellectual capital from individuals and teams within and outside the organization, and developing systems to make that knowledge available when and where it is needed. It is a combination of building a knowledge acquisition and sharing habit, and usually a system for collating it.
Why does it matter?
Stop Elvis from completely leaving the building
People move on, that’s a given. Post pandemic, increasingly our knowledge workers are making different choices, and leaving their employers. But if the insights and wisdom walks out the door with them, that is a damaging loss to the organisation. Throughout the knowledge worker’s career, we need to make it easy – and incentivised – for them to share their insights and codify them for others. This can mean asking Subject Matter Experts to share their insights in video or other forms, and/or share and comment on content that they endorse and recommend (a core step in curation, too). It’s too late to leave this to the exit interview.
Everyone needs to stay relevant and employable
However successful a company is in building their KMS (knowledge management system), we must not forget that many organisations face challenges supporting knowledge work. Companies fall behind if their teams and individuals don’t stay up to date with relevant content and when it comes to bringing in outside knowledge, the latest news and trends on the industry or competitor news and analysis, we often find a gap within the learning content.
Keeping up with industry changes and staying informed on new trends is essential for any professional. Business leaders need to be aware of the latest news and trends in their industry so they can make the best decisions for their company. By keeping up with the latest knowledge and insights, team members can also learn new skills and stay up to date with their field. Also, knowledge sharing is a great way to build relationships with other professionals both inside your organisation and in the wider industry, and learn from their experiences.
Protect the hive mind: knowledge management powers collective intelligence
No one is as smart as everyone. The best teams have individuals that openly and actively share knowledge – at the core of knowledge management is the sharing of the best insights. It is hard to read everything or stay updated as an individual but within a team and with the right tools you can leverage members to scan and research the environment and share information.
Stephen Downes prefers the concept of connective intelligence to collective intelligence. This is because individuals must be enabled and empowered to seek out information and to share. A good model for teams and individuals is Harold Jarche’s seek, sense and share model. In this model members actively seek out knowledge and information, which reinforces Stephen Downes point about empowerment, they then validate, synthesise and share information that is relevant to their team. By commenting and opening up a discussion they can also provoke a collaborative discussion which leads to joint attention.
Empowering the individual to take responsibility
In an interview with Harold Jarche we discussed how the individual is responsible for their own learning.
“Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) is about individuals taking more responsibility for their learning, and organisations giving up some control. And you have to take control as an individual. Machine Learning is great, but machines can’t cooperate and exchange value in the way that humans can in networks. That’s why developing sharing habits is so important, touching base with your network every day, sharing one thing – otherwise you slip back into old behaviours.”
As Jarche explains, there’s far more knowledge out there in the world than we might find inside courses and a curriculum. Knowledge management must be outward looking:
“Having a curriculum is wrong. Someone decides that 1 percent of one billionth of the knowledge in the world is what we should teach people? Well how do you decide on what to cover? How do you keep it relevant? Courses are like stock, they go out of date – knowledge is more like flow. It can be scary for people to realise there are no prescriptive recipes. But courses don’t work for complex issues. You have to find your own way and build your own habits around seeking out information, making sense of it, and sharing it.”
What is a process we can use for knowledge management?
We have long been advocates of Jarche’s Seek > Sense > Share Framework. While designed for Personal Knowledge Management, It’s closely aligned with content curation – in essence both activities share a core purpose of finding the most relevant information, and bringing it to the attention of the right people at the right time.
Seeking: Carefully seeking content from the most relevant sources is a critical step. Building a network of colleagues is helpful in this regard. It not only allows us to “pull” information, but also have it “pushed” to us by trusted sources. Good curators are valued members of knowledge networks.
Sensing is how we personalize information and contextualise it. Sensing includes reflection and putting into practice what we have learned. By filtering for quality and relevance, you can save yourself and your teams the time it would take them to search for the diamonds in the rough. But true curation means humans and machines working together. Often it requires experimentation, as we learn best by doing.
Sharing includes exchanging resources, ideas, and experiences with our networks as well as collaborating with our colleagues. This means more than just passing on a link to an article. This is about adding commentary, context and insights and drawing attention to the most relevant content. Algorithms can filter, only humans can add insights.
So how can Anders Pink help?
Curation and knowledge management are tightly connected. Do both together, and build the hive mind in your organisation through our tool – here are some quick tips:
The act of seeking content is powered by Anders Pink through our tool. Briefings are made in a few short steps based on the topic keywords you wish to seek content from. This then generates content as articles, videos and podcasts from the last 3 months.
Make sense together: By up and down voting each article in your new briefing, you are sensing the relevance of the latest content. Once you have trained this briefing to 100% our machine learning remembers this for future content on the subject. You and your team can comment on this content to set the context, asking questions and adding value either natively or in your Learning Experience Platform or through Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Slack.
Share in the right place: relevant knowledge and insights can then be put into the channels that’s easiest for you, your team or wider community to access. There’s no copy pasting – we’re all too busy for that. We use APIs and ready-made connectors to make this easy and automated. We have just released a new digest feature where you can select the best content to include, how often you’d like the digest to be sent, what time and day (in line with your timezone) and to whom. A focused weekly email may be just the way to kickstart a knowledge management habit in your team.
To kickstart your personal knowledge management journey with Anders Pink, get in contact here and book a demo!