Knowledge sharing is the act of exchanging information, skills, and expertise between individuals, teams, communities, or organizations. This can be supported by knowledge management (KM) systems or knowledge repositories.
Knowledge sharing is difficult to measure, yet it is critical to the success of any organization and results in better business outcomes. It can be enabled through the use of technology, positive workplace culture, and incentives. Ultimately, it strives to optimize knowledge flow so that the right people can get the right knowledge at the right time. This fosters better decision making and cultivates an environment ripe for innovation.
“The knowledge that we consider knowledge proves itself in action. What we now mean by knowledge is information in action, information focused on results.”
There are numerous techniques for KM. Here are five of the most popular ones:
1. After-Action Review:
After the conclusion of a project, an after-action review is conducted to assess the efficacy of everything that happened. It provides a forum for open discussion between team members and team leaders, enabling all to learn from the experience.
2. Knowledge Audit:
Knowledge auditing is a systematic process to identify an organization’s knowledge needs, resources, and flows.
3. Knowledge Harvesting:
This is a tool that captures expertise within the organization so that it can be preserved regardless of personnel.
4. Knowledge Mapping:
Knowledge mapping is a process that helps participants to discover the location, ownership, value, and applications of knowledge. It describes knowledge flow patterns and identifies constraints and bottlenecks in that flow.
5. Mind Maps:
Mind maps are basically just notes, but with keywords and images instead of long text passages. They are easy to make, remember, and review.
A good KM tool enables all of these techniques and makes it easy to continually learn and improve.
Knowledge management tools are systems that organizations use for sharing information both internally and externally. Customer relationship systems like HubSpot, learning management systems like LearnUpon, and knowledge bases like Wikipedia can all be considered KM tools.
Customer relationship management (CRM) tools:
CRM tools help marketing, sales, and customer service to track prospects and manage customer relationships. All interactions are securely logged so that there is full visibility into where a customer is in the buying cycle. These interactions might include things like email opens, form fills, and sales calls.
Learning management systems (LMS):
LMS tools standardize and templatize the employee onboarding process. Typically they are used by big organizations that need a way to disseminate training programs and educational resources online.
Knowledge bases are searchable directories with informational content. They can be internal (intranets) or external (Wikipedia).
When implementing a KM tool in your organization, you should consider what kind of information to collect, what processes to develop, how to drive adoption, how to manage knowledge assets in the long term, and finally, what technology will support those objectives.
The benefits of using a knowledge management tool are numerous, but can be difficult to quantify. Here are a few of the main benefits:
Finding relevant information quickly.
When faced with issues and tasks, team members can access and search a repository of information for resources to support those activities. That way, they can make decisions and respond to problems faster.
Reusing ideas, templates, presentations, etc.
It’s important for everyone to have access to the effective processes that have already been developed. If something already exists, there is no need to reinvent the wheel — organizations should make it as easy as possible to recycle existing ideas. That way, costly rework can be avoided.
Leveraging existing expertise.
Particularly in large enterprise organizations, people don’t know what they don’t know. With a KM tool, they can more easily access the insights and experiences of others to get a solution framework.
Consistency is important, especially in highly regulated industries. KM tools disseminate information to every person in the organization, providing repeatable procedures that make it easier to support audit and compliance.
Accelerating software delivery.
Over time, knowledge sharing reduces time to value and gets products and features into the hands of customers faster.
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