The benefits of Knowledge Management in Bouncing Back from Covid 19

The benefits of KM come from managing our most important asset – what we know. It’s often said that People are our greatest asset – my view is that it is true because of what they know, both individually and collectively. This is why we need people – because of what they know!

We need peoples’ knowledge to Flow. It mustn’t sit in pools and become stagnant; it needs to flow between people, teams, projects and functions. This is what good KM achieves.

It’s been estimated that 80% of the value of modern organisations is in its knowledge base; the discipline of managing this is bound to bring benefit. Put another way, the absence of KM means we are potentially neglecting up to 80% of the value of our organisation.

The value from KM comes from managing knowledge as an asset in a fuller and more consistent sense to get that knowledge flow we need.

This means routinely addressing questions such as:

Which knowledge do we need, now and in the future, to meet our organisational objectives, aspirations and needs?

  • How can we segment our knowledge needs for Departments or Functions according to importance and priority?
  • For Projects, how can we articulate which knowledge we need to import from the wider organisation at the start and export to the wider organisation at the end - and make this actually happen?
  • How do we link Projects and Departments / Functions into an overall KM system for the organisation with clear knowledge customers, suppliers and effective knowledge flow?
  • Given all the above, when and how do we run team learning processes (eg Peer Assist, Learning Reviews), Expert Interviews and Knowledge-Sharing Communities?
  • What roles, supporting technologies and governance do we need?

The benefits from comprehensive KM (which is quite simple and pragmatic in practice) and effective knowledge flow include:

  • Proactive learning from both successes & disappointments (not just the collation of Lessons Learnt but the application of Lessons Identified in a managed way)
  • Enhanced Innovation
  • Increased Risk Mitigation (a lot of risk is mitigated by knowledge in today’s world)
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Increased staff motivation & fulfilment
  • Enhanced organisational adaptability & agility
  • Common language and frameworks in managing knowledge

It seems to me that the distinction between those that manage what they know (both countries and companies) and those that don’t is becoming increasingly stark. Recovering from Covid 19 quickly and delivering well means getting knowledge to flow effectively around the organisation, rather like helping a recovering patient - it lifts the organisation in so many ways.