A simple picture to link KM and continuous improvement
Knowledge Management is the discipline that drives continuous improvement. Here is a diagram that makes this clear
We are all familiar with the link between Knowledge and continuous improvement in our personal lives, as demonstrated by the familiar saying “Practice Makes Perfect”. The more we do something, the better we become. The more experience we have, the higher our performance.
This can also be true for Organisations, provided we apply KM. Organisations can also find that Practice Makes Perfect, and that the more experience they have the higher their performance.
The diagram here shows how – feel free to use with acknowledgement.
The two crucial elements are as follows.
1) There needs to be a learning loop in operation. Knowledge must be applied to activity and to problems, and must be reviewed and gained from activity, problems and experience. The challenges for an organisation are two-fold – firstly finding a way to gain knowledge from experience (through effective lessons capture for example), and secondly being able to find the knowledge from the past (practices like Peer Assist help here). This is one elements of Knowledge Management already.
2) The second element is to embed new knowledge into processes, procedures and structures. This is represented by the blue wedge in the diagram marked KM. Without this embedding step, the new knowledge is lost over time as human memory fades, or as lessons become buried within lessons databases, and performance slips back down the hill. The embedding KM wedge makes sure that performance gains are maintained (through the use of Lessons Management Software for example).
This combination of the KM components of learning loop and embedding means that
- the more experience an organisation has, the more it learns
- the more it learns, the more it improves its knowledge base
- the more it improves its knowledge base, the more it improves its processes, procedures and structures
- the more it improves its processes, procedures and structures, the more it improves performance.
Tags: learning from experience, value