Knowledge is of no value…

Copyright © 10/2023 ❘ The Enterneers®



In today's era, knowledge is no longer just the power of its owner, but an essential competitive factor for companies of all kinds. The knowledge of a company comprises of many complex elements and is strongly influenced by the knowledge of the employees in the company. It is not for nothing that the intangible assets of a company sometimes have a considerable influence on its market value.




 


KNOWLEDGE IS OF NO VALUE UNLESS YOU PUT IT INTO PRACTICE.

 


Anton Chekov

 


In today's era, knowledge is no longer just the power of its owner, but an essential competitive factor for companies of all kinds. The knowledge of a company comprises of many complex elements and is strongly influenced by the knowledge of the employees in the company. It is not for nothing that the intangible assets of a company sometimes have a considerable influence on its market value.

Explicit knowledge: This part of an organisation's knowledge can be documented, evaluated, or licensed. It is formulated knowledge in the form of databases, forums, manuals, standards, or regulations.

Implicit knowledge: This knowledge resides within the minds of individuals and is often directly linked to their experience and talent. To make this tacit knowledge accessible to a community or organisation, expand it, and preserve it, more than mere documentation is required.

Knowledge management has the task of ensuring the optimal handling of explicit and tacit knowledge within an organisation. Its core objective is to improve the efficiency of an organisation and store knowledge within the company.



​Why

Knowledge in the form of experiences, regulations, ideas, skills, or norms can be arbitrarily complex and is continuously evolving. It is shaped by the individual actions of people within the organisation and spreads throughout the community in a variety of ways. Companies that allow this development to run its course without implementing a system of knowledge management may not be able to convert a large part of their skills into economic success.

A systematic documentation and transfer of explicit knowledge serves the purpose of training and induction of new employees. It helps to maintain accumulated knowledge within the organisation, irrespective of the individuals acting. During times of crisis, it can protect against total loss of knowledge, for example, if most knowledge carriers from a relevant area leave the company simultaneously, and other new people should be trained at short notice. This form of knowledge management also serves quality assurance and risk management, providing important guidelines for actions and decision-making within the company.

Well-organised knowledge management helps to make decisions faster and to increase an organisation's reaction speed. In times of constantly increasing rates of change, knowledge management quickly becomes a critical success factor.

Knowledge is the basis for innovation and development. Companies with high demands on their own innovative strength and development capabilities cannot avoid systematic knowledge management.

The much-cited culture of learning from mistakes is also based on knowledge. Companies that want to ensure that learning from mistakes made internally is active and company-wide must provide the foundations for it.

Effective handling of knowledge within the company increases transparency and improves the work experience, consequently boosting the motivation of the workforce.



How

Connections to other elements: As evident in various aspects of Enterneering®, the first step in knowledge management is also to align connected elements based on their characteristics and usability. Companies with a high degree of integration of the individual Enterneering® elements will achieve considerable synergies. The elements that are most intensively connected to the company's knowledge include:

Transparency; here it must be examined whether the currently practised form of transparency serves active knowledge management or if adjustments are necessary. Active knowledge management requires a certain degree of transparency.

Governance; an effective alignment of the functions in corporate governance inevitably has a positive impact on knowledge management. In comparison, it is easy to see whether governance is actively implemented or if it has a more bureaucratic proof character. The latter can be an obstacle to effective knowledge management.

Communication; communication for knowledge management should generally follow established rules and formats. The establishment of parallel worlds is neither necessary nor useful, although individual tools and methods may vary.

Involvement; here it is important to check whether the involvement currently practised serves active knowledge management or if there is a need for adaptation. Active knowledge management requires a certain degree of involvement.


Organising and structuring knowledge: To enable active knowledge management, a basic order or structure is needed. Knowledge should be categorised, so to speak. It makes sense to sort knowledge according to topics that align well with the company and its organisation. Traditionally, the following topics are relevant:

Applicable law
Technical norms, management standards
Internal guidelines, instructions
Emergency documentation
Project programme
Product programme
Key figures, reports
News, information
Ideas, Innovations
Reference work, sources
Forums, chats

Depending on the category, there are numerous and diverse tools or systems available. The suitability of each tool depends on many individual factors. In the digital age, a wide variety of software solutions are available. Before deciding on or against a tool, it is important to outline the most important requirement criteria regarding its purpose, application goal, degree of complexity, required effort, and practicality. Simple criteria such as stringent keywording, a fully integrated search function, centralized notifications, revision security, and intuitive user guidance should also be a part of the requirement criteria. Experience has shown that interaction rates and attention are still quite high at the beginning of the introduction of digital knowledge management systems. Open issues quickly become apparent when it comes to the responsibilities and the available capacities for maintaining the systems, which can lead to a loss of attention. Another challenge is to maintain the timeliness, quality, and completeness of entries at the necessary level.

Gathering knowledge: The first step is to gather existing knowledge. Depending on the company's situation, this can be done through a comprehensive initial grassroots survey or a preparation of already existing information. The subsequent steps are about continuously updating or modifying existing information and adding new entries. Fixed time intervals are suitable for the frequency of these steps, depending on the type of information. For example, updating a well-established routine can have a longer interval than knowledge related to short-lived products. In addition to this structured gathering, there is also a spontaneous gathering of knowledge. Here it is primarily important that the corporate culture promotes open and proactive dialogue and intrinsically motivates knowledge bearers as much as possible to share their newly acquired knowledge with the organisation. Furthermore, a regular enquiry within the organisation about knowledge to be incorporated makes sense.

The more open and transparent a corporate culture is, and the more effective internal communication is, the easier it is to gather knowledge and also to continuously update it. It is important to understand that knowledge management is not a one-time investment in a tool, but a continuous process that requires regular resources as well.

Transporting knowledge: When providing knowledge, companies should always pay attention to the push and pull principle. There are situations in which the company wants to distribute certain knowledge in a targeted manner. And there are people within the organisation who are looking for specific information depending on the situation. Both ways must be operable effectively and efficiently, just as the provision of knowledge should be. Only if the company succeeds in making the transport of knowledge user-friendly and valuable, it will be able to operate effective knowledge management in the long term.



​Entrepreneurs have the power to create a digital knowledge ecosystem within their company and overcome or prevent silo thinking. Many successful companies have long since extended their knowledge management to include external stakeholders such as customers or suppliers, and thus benefit from an expanded knowledge base and shorter information and decision-making paths.



 


 

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