Monthly Archives: April 2011

Knowledge Management

As Peter Drucker wrote – knowledge is about increasing capability of individuals to do something different or being able to do something more effectively. Knowledge is not limited to individuals, it  also exist  on organization level. However this is the area where it becomes more esoteric.  Although there are different models trying to define and put knowledge into some kind of a structure – I do not think that anybody got it right so far. There are many reasons for this although I think that it is primarily related to complexity of individual mind, and at the same time influences of human interactions as well as factor introduced by environment or context. It exists not only in physical or electronic format but primarily in human mind, expressed by speech, gestures, motions or thoughts. Knowledge management can be positioned on one of the higher levels of continuum starting from data, information, knowledge and ending with wisdom. The complexity of the definition increases along this continuum. Data refers to facts, information is data put into a context, but knowledge is much more difficult to define, not to mention definition of wisdom which increases the challenge even more.

I think that organization’s position within this continuum is indirectly related to information management maturity model.



For most of organizations data and information management, with all their challenges, come much easier to be put on the information management roadmap, rather  than explicit expanding of capabilities through knowledge.

I like Nonaka’s spiral model with knowledge process with intertwined tacit and explicit knowledge (externalization, combination, internalization and socialization), although it has its own limitations. One of the biggest problems that mature organizations face today is to try to codify the knowledge so it could be shared or used collectively. Great example is project’s lessons learned. All project managers know that this should be produced at least at certain stage of the  project lifecycle. And what happens? PMO collects them but very few project managers make any use of them. Lack of standard codification of lessons learned, and related lack of context, make them of little use. The knowledge transfer process breaks.


Better approach is to use access to experts to provide coaching for such transfer. The human interaction allows for better alignment with the needs.


Big push for knowledge management comes nowadays  from introduction of social networking. It became already part of our lives, however organizations still struggle with the concept and how to tap into this enormous knowledge repository. This is quite interesting topic and I am working on a paper addressing this. Coming soon….