Dernière mise à jour : 28 juin 2019
Feeling of deja vu
Oops! Jean, C Developer, is gone for holidays already and nobody knows how to debug the voice recognition part of the algorithm… The customer needs a correction ASAP…
Oops! Terrence, Technical lead IA, just got a better job offer, close from home. She quits, there are 3 months left to close the project and no time to structure and archive the subsequent knowledge. The countdown begins and all we’ve got for the transmission is based on volatiles notes…
Oops! There is a deliverable due in two weeks for a collaborative project. Rachel and Alex, Project managers, crash on the tasks for the next release… Not a single basic document around neither time to build up a serious report.
We have all experienced this kind of panic: companies need increasingly sharp technical and scientific skills to run the operations but time does not allow the execution of so-called side tasks to support the effort of knowledge management.
Often postponed or clearly ignored due to its null immediate financial return, this task of knowledge management is not adequately addressed. Besides, there is no reliable metrics giving explicit proofs on its impact on innovation potential and convince managing executives of its value. Indeed, assigning a specific management position to this quality process would be an essential asset, in terms of support and facilitation of the working conditions and innovation of the company, particularly in the context of R&D.
The cases of Jean, Terrence, Rachel and Alex are not isolated. It is part of the many hazards a company must overcome. But, be unaware and not putting the task forces to avoid (or reduce) these situations, is clear and slow sabotage, as many simple methods can bring adapted solutions… Here are some notes pointing how you sabotage your company organisation.
Underestimate your wealth
Knowledge management offers the ability to evolve, adapt, innovate, and create new methodologies and knowledge based on shared and capitalized experience. It is an immaterial wealth that can make the difference on the market.
Think for a moment about it: the wealth you have built and now, after a year, two years, five years, ten years of experience is indeed what you cash in an annual interview or a job interview. When all connected, it is the knowledge of the whole group, you and your colleagues, that form the intangible asset of your company, the basis for future innovations. Plus, in the knowledge economy, in general, "1 + 1 = 3"!
Therefore, a company produces knowledge that becomes immaterial resource which can increase the value of the company. For knowledge critical to the business, difficult to acquire, complex, held by a small number of people and with a risk of loss, knowledge management should be of paramount importance.
Neglect the information and postpone!
Formalized knowledge is the base of information. As for the know-how, it is acquired by using, conceptualizing, the simplifying of the information. It is possible to distinguish different types of information: those related to expertise, know-how; those related to the informative nature such as technological watch, benchmark, etc.
It is necessary to save both knowledge and information, the know-how ("how the expert did it") and the result ("what is it"). Say in programming, the know-how will be how the expert has set up such algorithm of artificial intelligence (motivations for the choices of implementation, feedback of experience) and the result (what the algorithm treats, what the input data, which output data).
We are mistaken when thinking that skills are assets external to individuals and interchangeable. Instead, you will notice that individuals build skills that make this adage difficult to apply. This is sadly understood in pain, when a valuable colleague retires, is on vacation or resigns.
Isolate disparate skills and experts
Sharing knowledge is an opportunity for internal skill growth, better collective performance and creation of new knowledge. As I said, as for knowledge economy, in general, « 1+1 = 3 »! Plus, this contributes to the development of “internal” open innovation process.
It is important to save, capitalize and transfer created knowledge as best as possible. It is also important to develop a common paradigm of knowledge creation and sharing behaviours so that it becomes as natural as possible. This is a demanding task that will pay on the long term but that seems worthwhile. Indeed, the benefits include performances, corporate culture strength, constructive engagement and cohesion that can rise thanks to this type of management, and consequently it improves your company’s competitiveness.
Do not say a word to your employees!
To succeed in your knowledge management project, it is necessary to identify people with strong know-how and then help them to formulate their knowledge. Indeed, the knowledge of the expert is often unconscious because integrated by experience, difficult to express. Moreover, the identified expert may not perceive the interest of the operation, or worst, he/she may be suspicious and less motivated to exchange. Thus, it is essential to prepare the launch of the knowledge management process within the company through pedagogical communication. Then a benevolent interview with the expert will achieve a certain formalization, a conceptualization of his/her wording.
Keep the documents for yourself
Knowledge transmission can be carried out through informal oral exchanges, emails, intra-company conferences, meetings, chats like Slack, document sharing platforms, etc. A knowledge management process offers sharing and transmission tools through written and illustrated documents, videos, e-learning, self-training or other flexible media.
Once extracted, formalized, referenced and made available, the next logical step consists in transferring the knowledge. But, this is not a straightforward step either. Uploading the formalized knowledge on the corporate intranet platform is not enough. You should have a real desire to initiate, within the group, the culture of sharing and training, through intra-company seminars based on the available formalizations, time dedicated to informal and social moments around an identified expertise, a space for sharing ideas nourished by the acquired knowledge, etc. In other words, the effectiveness of knowledge management is achieved only if a set of conductive measures are deployed and a change of behaviour, with conscious adherence, takes place. In the field of knowledge management, it is referred to as knowledge creation cycle.
Do not plan anything
Given the stakes and the duration of implementation, it is appropriate for the company to define its “knowledge management roadmap” according to its objectives, its culture, the criticality of its knowledge, and even its turnover (often linked to the attractiveness of debauched profiles). A long-term strategy will make it possible to choose the best means to implement, the frequencies of the meetings, the tools and the methodologies best suited to your current organization.
Knowledge management is now an essential dimension of the organization of the company, especially the organization of R&D. Faced with the growing demand for adaptation, flexibility, innovation and professional migration, this observation is sometimes integrated, experienced and digested in bitterness.
Nevertheless, it is a support function that can be outsourced by benefiting from an external perspective. I do propose this support function with all the enthusiasm and professionalism that characterize me. Listening to your needs, your perspectives of internal changes and their impacts, I participate in your evolution and the development of your adaptation abilities by using creative methods to support your creation and your capitalization of knowledge. Do not underestimate your wealth, do not neglect your knowledge and adopt a cultural approach of collaboration and exchange, from individual intelligence to collective intelligence. Let's talk about it now.