22 KM success factors and 22 KM failure factors

It’s always good to cross-check our KM programs against lists of failure and success factors. Here are two pretty comprehensive lists.

Crossroads: Success or FailureTwo of the most popular posts on this blog are

I wrote these posts based on our long experience at Knoco Ltd in Knowledge Management Implementation, the lessons we had learned from our own consultancy projects, and from those we have observed closely at other organisations.

More recently I came across this 2007 article entitled Addressing Failure Factors in Knowledge Management by Rosina O. Weber, which is an analysis of KM failure factors through a literature review, and which therefore provides a similar overview of success and failure factors. However the lists come at the issue from different angles – the Knoco list looks mostly at errors in KM implementation, Rosina’s list looks mostly at errors in the KM solution or approach.

Failure factors

Here are Rosina’s 15 failure factors.

1. Organizations that tried to develop a monolithic organizational memory for an entire organization have failed
2. KM approaches may fail when they do not integrate people, processes, and technology
3. KM approaches may fail when they are designed without input from all stakeholders
4. KM approaches may fail when contributors do not know the ideal specificity of knowledge.
5. KM approaches may fail due to lack of leadership support
6. KM approaches may fail when users are afraid of the consequences of their contributions.
7. KM approaches may fail when they store knowledge in unrestricted textual representations
8. KM approaches may fail when they rely on inadequate technology.
9. KM approaches may fail when they are outside the process context.
10. KM approaches may fail when they ignore impediments to knowledge transfer.
11. KM approaches may fail when they do not enforce managerial responsibilities
12. KM approaches may fail when they do not properly oversee the quality of stored knowledge.
13. KM approaches may fail when they do not promote collaboration.
14. KM approaches may fail when they are not able to show measurable benefits
15. KM approaches may fail because users do not perceive value in contributing.

Here are my 7 failure factors for comparison (see here for more explanation)

1. KM is not introduced as a change program
2. The KM team does not have the right people to deliver change
3. The KM team “preach only to the choir”.
4. Only parts of the KM solution are implemented (Rosina’s number 2, although even she neglects the importance of governance)
5. KM is never embedded into the business
6. There is no effective high-level sponsorship (Rosina’s number 5)
7. KM is not introduced with a business focus (An overlap with Rosina’s number 14)

Success factors

Rosina then turns these 15 around and states the converse, to derive 15 success factors.

1. KM approaches should be designed to support communities of practice.
2. KM approaches should integrate people, processes, and technology.
3. KM approaches should be designed in collaboration with different stakeholders.
4. KM approaches should identify an adequate level of specificity.
5. KM approaches should be strongly supported by the leaders of their target communities.
6. KM approaches should be adopted by communities that encourage innovation.
7. KM approaches should adopt representations with set of specific fields.
8. KM approaches should adopt technology only when it is suitable for a task. When technology is not adequate for a task and a suitable one is not available, then this task should be left to humans.
9. KM approaches should be integrated into the context of target organizational processes.
10. KM approaches should include methods to overcome impediments to knowledge transfer.
11. KM approaches should incorporate means of enforcing managerial responsibilities.
12. KM approaches should include verification methods.
13. KM approaches should include measures to promote collaboration.
14. KM approaches should demonstrate how contributors can benefit from KM.
15. KM approaches should allow for the measurement of their effectiveness

Here are my 7 success factors for comparison (see here for more explanation)

1. KM needs to be driven by the needs of the organisation.
2. KM needs to be introduced as a management framework
(Rosina’s number 2, although even she neglects the importance of governance).3. KM needs to address Pull as well as Push.
4. KM should be implemented as a change process.
5. KM Must be embedded in the business
(Rosina’s number 11, I think).6. KM needs not just high level support, but high level expectation.
7. KM needs to be delivered where the high value decisions are made.

How to use these lists

My advice to the KM professional is to look at Rosina’s lists and at my lists, and use these to drive a risk analysis of your Knowledge Management implementation. The more of the failure factors you recognise in your own approach, the higher the risk you face.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

5 first steps to KM success

Here are the first 5 steps in a successful KM journey

Buffalo, NY
Buffalo, NY by JasonParis, on Flickr

At Knoco, we have seen enough Knowledge Management implementation programs by now  to know that there a few key steps every organisation needs to take in the beginning. These steps are as follows;

  1. Assess the current state
  2. Build a business-led strategy
  3. Develop a draft KM framework
  4. Create an implementation plan
  5. Deliver some early pilots

Here is some more detail around each of these five steps (and if you need even more detail, read my book “Designing a Successful KM Strategy“).

Assess the current state. Before you can plan any future KM development, you need to know where you are right now. Knowledge Management is common sense, even it if is not common practice, and most organisations are already doing some elements of KM under different names. Those elements may not yet be effective, and they may not yet be joined up, but you need to know what’s working, what’s present but not working, and what’s missing. We see three types of assessment;

When you are conducting an assessment, make sure you talk to stakeholders at all levels. As my friend Lisandro Gaertner pointed out to me “listen to a lot of people’s stories about how they share knowledge and what are the outcomes they get. Sometimes people use cold (but apparently logical) assessment tools, interview mostly the wrong people (middle management and up) and get a fake glimpse about the KM culture. I don’t have to say to you that it is the recipe to failure”.

Build a business-led strategy. Time and again, experience has shown that the most successful knowledge management initiatives are those which are business-led, and which solve business problems. Your KM strategy needs to be closely aligned to the business strategy, to focus on the critical knowledge needed by the business, and to deliver practical ways of managing that knowledge better. Elements of the strategy include

  • Vision 
  • Scope 
  • Business drivers 
  • Value proposition 
  • Critical knowledge areas 
  • Change and stakeholder management 
  • Potential business-led Pilot areas
Sometimes the strategy can be driven by one overriding business need, such as the risk of Knowledge loss, and in this case a Knowledge Retention Strategy may be needed.

This blog contains plenty of guidance on getting your KM strategy correct.

Develop a draft Knowledge Management Framework. As Knowledge Management has evolved over the last two decades, the need for an integrated Knowledge Management framework has become apparent. With a Management Framework, KM can take on the aspects of other management systems, and be made part of normal business, rather than relying on a disparate set of tools.

A Knowledge Management Framework ensures that all necessary KM elements (Accountabilities, Processes, Technologies and Governance) are in place, and interconnected. This ensures that there are no gaps in the system, and that knowledge flows freely through the organisation.

Your Assessment (Step 1) should have been planned with a Framework in mind, and will have identified the gaps which need to be filled.  we are calling this a “draft framework” at the moment, as the framework will not be finalised until after piloting.

This blog contains plenty of guidance on building an effective Knowledge Management Framework.

Build an implementation plan. Implementing Knowledge Management is not easy. You really only have one attempt, and if this fails, you may find that the concept has become irrecoverably tarnished. An excellent Implementation Plan is needed, based on lessons from successful (and less successful) implementations in other companies, and tailored to your own context.

The plan will be based on

  • the results of assessment and benchmarking 
  • the Knowledge Management strategy 
  • the draft Knowledge Management framework
  • the potential pilot areas, and
  • a staged, change management approach.

This blog contains plenty of guidance on Knowledge management implementation.

Start some business-led proof of concept pilots. A key component of your knowledge management strategy involves running some pilot projects. A pilot project is a project where knowledge management can be applied within the business, to solve a specific and important business problem, to deliver measurable results (and therefore prove the value), and also to act as a proving ground for Knowledge Management within the business.

Choosing the right pilots can be a massive springboard for your eventual KM implementation. A spectacular success early in the journey can give you some real momentum.

This blog contains plenty of guidance on Knowledge management pilots.

There are plenty of ways to get Knowledge Management wrong, and a few principles you need to follow to get Knowledge Management right.

Follow the five steps listed here and, with advice and guidance from a good experienced consultancy, your road to Knowledge Management success is clear.

Contact Knoco if you need more help.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

Why hasn’t knowledge management caught on? Wrong question!

Very often we hear people talking about the failure of KM as a discipline, and asking  “Why hasn’t it caught on after all these years?” It’s an interesting question, but it’s the wrong question.

It’s an interesting question, but it’s the wrong question. People asking the question are often in government or the public sector, and there KM has not yet “caught on”. However there are other sectors where KM has caught on, and has delivered sustained value for a couple of decades.

The consulting sector, for example – early adopters of KM, where KM is embedded, institutionalised, and part of the unconscious fabric of working. Or the legal sector, who’s own document-focused brand of KM is well established. Or the oil and gas sector. Ot the construction sector. Aerospace. The military. etc etc.

Data from the publicly available Knoco global surveys of KM

The plot above shows the maturity stages of KM in various industries, with far more examples of KM fully embedded in legal firms, for example, than in education and training firms. The plot below also shows that the larger the organisation, the more mature KM is likely to be.

Data from the publicly available Knoco global surveys of KM

So the question is not “Why hasn’t KM caught on” but “Why hasn’t KM caught on in my organisational sector, and in organisations oy my size”.

I think there are several reasons why KM has not yet caught on in the public sector in particular, and many of these can be related to the presence or lack of the components of organisational learning culture.

  • KM catches on most easily where knowledge has the biggest and most immediate impact on performance. If you can see, and measure, the added value of knowledge (on cost, speed of delivery, bid win rate, whatever) then good KM, leading to an improvement of the delivery of knowledge to the decision makers, delivers immediate and visible value. In the public sector, performance is a very difficult concept to work with. What makes up “good performance” for a public sector organisation? How easy is that to measure, and how easy is it to tie back to knowledge?
  • The value of KM certainly is more visible in larger organisations. Big multinationals have the most to gain from KM, and learning from their big-money decisions in multiple countries can deliver big benefit. In smaller organisations the benefits are correspondingly smaller and less visible, even though the proportional benefit may be the same.
  • Where I have worked with public sector institutions, one of the things that struck me most forcefully was the way messages were managed. There seemed to be a lot of reworking documents, to make sure they said things in the correct way. Now there’s nothing wrong with that per se, but it introduces barriers to empowerment, to transparency, and to other elements of the required organisational learning culture. 
  • There is a distinct lack of “no blame” in the public sector, this time due to external pressures. All over the world (or almost all over), there is a hungry press waiting to pounce on anything that looks like a mistake or a failure from a government body or a national health service. This makes “learning from failure” a very risky affair. Indeed, the default approach to learning from failure is the dreaded “public enquiry”, after which someone will be sacked, someone will retire in disgrace, and the true reasons for failure will remain unfixed. The “just culture” is very hard to apply in a situation like this.

So there are some real structural and cultural reasons why KM is not so easy in the public sector. In addition, where I have seen it, it tends to be focused on the tactical issues, and seldom on the strategic issues.

However, whether you sit in the public or private sector and are pondering “Why does KM seem to be dead? Why hasn’t it caught on?”, then you are asking the wrong question, because in other places KM has caught on and is alive and well.  You need to learn from where it works, and see what’s different about your own context. And make adjustments as needed.

The question should be “why hasn’t KM caught on here yet” and “how can we learn from others, where it has already caught on?”

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

How long does it take to implement KM?

Knowledge Management can be started quickly, but takes a long time to fully embed. Here are two sources of data that show exactly how long.

Over the past few years we have helped many organisations to benchmark their “current status” of Knowledge Management. They ask for this for a number of reasons. Sometimes they want to see where they need to improve. Sometimes they need to see IF they need to improve. Sometimes they need to set a benchmark so they have something they can measure future improvement against.  The benchmark is a measure of the level of completeness and application of their knowledge management framework.

Recently we looked back on some of our benchmark data, and looked to see if we could find any trends. Well, we could.

The first trend appears when you look at how the overall benchmark score varies with the length of time KM has been addressed by the organisation. The graph above shows the overall KM score (from zero to 5) for about 25 organisations, plotted against how long they have been deliberately working with KM, in years. Bear in mind four things when you look at this plot.

  1. not all organisations want to score 5 out of 5, and 4 out of 5 is a pretty fine score.
  2. nobody scores more than 5, so the plot will “level off” at 5
  3. every company starts at a different level. Knowledge Management is something that mos companies do some of, without even trying. There is a big range of scores on organisations who are just starting KM implementation. If you already have a collaborative, open and supportive culture, you start at a higher point, and get good pretty quickly. If your culture is hierarchical, blaming and closed, it’s going to be a much longer journey.
  4. the people who call us in are often “stuck” in their KM efforts. That’s why they call us in. So “low scoring” companies will be over-represented here.

However also note on the plot the two red points joined by a red line, which represent the same organisation measured at an interval of 2 years, showing good progress. Similarly the two green points joined by a green line represent a different organisation, measured twice, at a 3.5 year interval, showing a similar rate of progress.

The black line is a simple linear trend line. It is there for guidance only – we really need some sort of exponential fit, but I could not get that to work in Excel

My conclusions from this plot are as follows;

  • Firstly, fully implementing Knowledge Management is a slow process. The earliest a company has reached level 4, from this dataset, is 4 years. The black line suggests an average of 14 years to get to level 4.
  • Secondly, you can speed up your implementation. The black trend line represents “natural drift” towards Knowledge Management, while the red and green lines bot represent a deliberate, focused and resourced KM implementation program. If you followed the red line trend, you could start at level 2 and get to level 4 in about 3 years.
Lets compare these figures with a different set of date, from our surveys in 2014 and 2017 (copies of the report available from the Knoco website), as described in this blog post from a year ago.
This plot shows that 
  • About 10% of companies have achieved fully embedded KM within 4 years
  • About 20% of companies have achieved fully embedded KM within 8 years
  • About 50% of companies have achieved fully embedded KM within 16 years
  • About 70% of companies have achieved fully embedded KM within 32 years

The blog article breaks these data down further, showing that KM implementation is quicker in smaller companies, and slower in larger, but the overall conclusions are the same from both graphs shown here.

KM a journey, it’s a slow journey, the fastest you will get there is about 4 years, different organisations start from different places, but faster progress can be made if you pay attention to implementing Knowledge Management as a project.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

According to one article, there are 3 main traps a KM implementation can fall into.

The article is in a study on Enabling Communities of Practice at EADS-Airbus.

One of the articles in this study, by Marleen Huysman and Dirk de Wit, discusses an analysis of KM implementations in several firms, and contains a section entitled “Identifying Traps and Ways to Avoid Them”, summarised by the table below.

Six Research Questions and Their Dominant Biases and Related Traps

Research Question Knowledge-Sharing Bias Knowledge-Sharing Traps
Why is knowledge sharing managed? Control bias Management trap
When is knowledge sharing managed? Opportunity-driven bias Management trap
Whose knowledge sharing is managed? Individual knowledge bias Local learning trap
Where is knowledge sharing managed? Operational-level bias Local learning trap
What knowledge sharing is managed? Codified knowledge bias ICT trap
How is knowledge sharing managed? Technology-driven bias ICT trap

The three traps they describe are these:

The ICT trap is the underlying assumption is that ICT can support and improve knowledge sharing within an organization. The authors say that –

Knowledge management is often seen as inherently connected to ICT. For example, the introduction of an intranet is seen as creating the facility for knowledge exchange, often in combination with a reward structure meant to encourage people to share their knowledge. Yet, when the technology itself is not fancy enough, or when the use is not adapted to the people working with the technology, people will be driven away despite rewards or punishments. This will curtail the knowledge management initiative. Unilever learned a lesson over the past years from falling into the ICT trap. The company started out by putting its faith in technology and the opportunities to map expert knowledge in databases. Soon it discovered that creating a network of experts, and facilitating physical encounters, opens a large potential for knowledge sharing. The ICT is introduced after the network has become established

The management trap is that the concept is perceived from a managerial perspective only . The authors say that –

Clearly, for managers there are several advantages to managing knowledge within the organization….  Management books and articles demonstrate a growing awareness that the intellectual capital of the corporation is usually worth much more than its tangible book value.. (However) because managers cannot force people to share their knowledge, knowledge management calls for support of knowledge workers. Knowledge management heavily depends on the willingness of knowledge workers to take part in it. The management trap also relates to the bias to introduce knowledge management based on opportunity-driven arguments only rather than on problem-driven arguments. We saw that knowledge management will be more successful when it addresses existing situations and problems than when it is seen as an opportunity for organizational change.

The local learning trap is about the risk of concentrating attention on local knowledge sharing without addressing the issue of how the organization as a whole can benefit from it.  The authors say that –

There is a potential pitfall when (KM) is interpreted as the management of individual learning instead of collective learning. During our research, we saw many initiatives approaching knowledge management as supporting knowledge sharing by individuals more than by collectives within organizations. That the focus tends to be more on individual learning rather than on collective learning is understandable, as managing individual learning is less complicated than managing collective learning. The role of managers will be pushed to the periphery, where their main contribution lies in the acknowledgement and facilitation of emergent grass-roots community behaviour. The most crucial consequence of the lack of management involvement is that shared knowledge will most likely remain local knowledge and will not be collectively accepted.

I think all of us can recognise these traps, and the key is to steer a path between them so that your KM  approach is not dominated by ICT, by Management, or by local individual learning.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

"Today we get married to Knowledge Management"

This post from the archives describes a strange statement from a client, and some of the thoughts it raised for me at the time.

Cake decorations @ Notts County Ground, Nottingham

“Today we get married to Knowledge Management”

That was the, shall we say, “unusual” statement made by the convener of a KM seminar that I was speaking at last week. (I was either one of the ministers at the ceremony, or one of the bridesmaids – I am not sure. Probably the former. Also he said it in Swedish.)

By “getting married” he meant that the company in question was now formally intending to make Knowledge Management “part of the household”, or an embedded component of how they do business.

The marriage idea struck me as an excellent analogy, largely by the way that it represented a definite and positive ceremony of commitment. Then I started taking the analogy further, and wondered whether you could take the phases of a love affair and map them onto the Knowledge management journey. Maybe it would go something like this.

Flirting
You are not sure whether Knowledge Management would suit your company  but you are definitely interested. You get the idea that there might be something there – that you might find something of value if you explored a little further. You are reading about the topic, you are following some of the blogs, attending the conferences, maybe holding some internal conferences or seminars. Maybe you set up your first KM task force, and run a KM assessment.

First Date
You have explored the topic sufficiently to realise that this is time for a serious trial, and for an investment of some time and money to find out if it is worth proceeding further. You set up your first Knowledge Management pilot program, to see if it works in your company, to see how it works in your company, and to see if it adds value, and if so, how much. To see if it “feels right”. If the first date (pilot) works out, then it will be followed by the second, and the third, and so on.

Meeting the parents and getting their blessing
In older more sexist days, this would be “asking her father for his daughter’s hand in marriage”. Nowadays it is less of a hurdle, but there is a point where you need to declare your relationship with others in your circle of family and friends, and discuss the next stage. In Knowledge Management terms, this is when you involve senior management. You discuss the pilots, you discuss the value, and you negotiate whether, and how, and when, you can make the relationship with Knowledge Management official. Senior management may need more evidence, or more pilots, but if you have a good enough business case and  enough value stories from the pilots, they will be on your side.

Getting Engaged
This is the commitment to KM (and to be honest, last weeks ceremony was more the engagement party than the marriage ceremony. It was the point at which all the interested parties came together to get to know the new bride/groom). You start the transition, begin the roll-out, ramp up the change management, and get everything ready (the roles, the technologies, the processes, the governance) for the big day.

Getting Married.
From this step on, the company and knowledge management are joined at the hip. There is a KM Policy in place (the equivalent of the marriage contract) and KM is now expected to be an integral part of the day-to-day activity of the organisation.

That’s as far as I want to take the analogy at the moment, and we can leave the happy couple setting off on the honeymoon together.

It would be worth considering where you and your company are on this journey.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

How well distributed is your KM budget?

There are 4 legs on the Knowledge Management table. Are you investing evenly in each of them?

Knowledge Management  requires equal attention to the four key enablers of People, Process, Technology and Governance.

The test of whether you truly are paying equal attention is whether your KM program investments equally in these four crucial elements of the KM Framework.

Most of the time, we find that the companies we speak with spend far more on technology than on the other elements, and most of the time we find that their Knowledge Management program suffers as a result. Technology alone will not deliver knowledge management, and an overspend on technology is usually a bad strategic move.

We don’t have a lot of statistics on the proportional spend from KM campaigns, but the attached diagram shows the proportions from one program we were involved with, about 12 years ago. In this program we can see

  • 34% of the spend was on Technology (ideally, should have been 25%)
  • 8% of the spend was on Processes (ideally, should have been 25%)
  • 58% was on People and Governance (ideally should have been 50%)
This is a more equal spend than we see in many organisations, but there still seems to be an under-investment in process (process definition, process trial and testing, ad training in KM processes.
We are happy to say that this KM program is still very much alive and well and delivering value 12 years later. A balanced spend seems to have contributed to their success.

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

What Enterprise Social Networks can tell us about KM adoption

Many Enterprise Social Network adoptions have stalled. What lessons can we draw for Knowledge Management?

Frustrated woman on computer

Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) technologies such as Yammer, Slack and Facebook for Business are often introduced on the same premise as Knowledge Management – that these technologies will allow staff to share knowledge, collaborate, and discuss work-related issues with each other.

However there is much evidence to suggest that adoption of these technologies is often far from the success it was planned to be. For example –

A 2014 article in Sloane Management Review, entitled “they build it, but employees aren’t coming” says   

“Are companies that have made headway in introducing a social collaboration platform into their enterprise having success getting employees to participate? According to one recent study, not really. More than half of the companies surveyed said “only 10-20% of their employees are actively involved”.

Also a more recent study quoted here

“According to Harvard Business Review, organizations with Enterprise Social Networks report only 20-25% of employees are using the platform with any regularity”.

A 2017 survey by APQC, quoted here, reports that 

“When asked how they prefer to innovate and solve problems at work, fewer than 7% listed communities or enterprise social networks among their top three modes of collaboration”.

A Gatehouse survey quoted here:

At a broad level, only 43% of respondents who introduced social channels consider their adoption rate at either good or excellent, with 52% responding that they struggle to demonstrate their value to the organization. Not great indicators for ESNs.

A 2017 Adobe survey, quoted here, reports that 

“Enterprise social networks are supposed to reinvent how work gets done and employees collaborate, but just 1 percent of workers consider the tools a preferred way to communicate …. email remains the dominant form of work communication (and) …  there has been a surge in face-to-face communication as a preferred way to communicate”

And according to this report, even when you have have an enterprise social network, 

“An average of 7% of network participants are responsible for 50% of connections”


So in summary, even when ESNs are introduced, more than half of companies rate adoption as “less than good”, uptake may struggle to exceed 20% or so of employees, and 7% of those engaged (in other words, 1.4% of employees) are doing much of the work. 

This is a long way from the vision of ESNs providing free and open exchange of knowledge across the whole organisation.

Why are ESNs failing to catch on?

There are some clues in the articles quoted above for why adoption rates have been poor. For example from here

“Enterprise social platforms tend to focus on social communication without paying sufficient attention to solving business process problems that will help users get their work done. Benefits like cross-business-unit and cross-border collaboration that are part of the enterprise social raison d’être may be critical to the organization, but they aren’t likely to spark employee enthusiasm because they don’t have obvious immediate value to users themselves”


from here:

“What really struck me was the way the ESNs appear to have been launched in the organizations – poorly. The survey reported that there was a lack of clear purpose for ESNs, and in many organizations the ESN had been launched not by IC but by IT with no clarity of purpose around how they would fit into existing channel strategies, how they should be used, what success looks like etc”

A Dachis survey in 2012 showed that 75% of ESN engagements were run (or actively influenced by) the IT department, and only 16% by Knowledge Management, suggesting that technology was seen as the primary enabler, rather than as part of a KM solution..

So it is quite likely that most ESN implementations are, in effect, “Technology Push” – rolling out a technology platform and hoping for adoption.

In cases of technology push there will be adoption, but only by a small subset of the population. A while ago, I blogged about the demographics of KM support, and I asserted that

Only about one in five people instinctively “get” KM. Only about 20% of staff are supporters of the idea from the beginning. When you talk to a room full of people about KM, the “KM Light Bulb” will switch on over the heads of about a fifth of your audience. 

I would say that the results above support this assertion. 


20% of people are naturally KM enthusiasts, and will naturally flock to a new platform. The rest won’t. So a platform rolled out in the hope that “they will come” will reach that 20%. And if you focus your attention only on that 20%, you are preaching to the choir. Technology push alone will  will rarely break the 20% adoption barrier and move beyond the “early adopters”. The KM fans will create a KM bubble, but you won’t penetrate the rest of the organisation, so 80% of the knowledge remains untapped and unmanaged.

What are the lessons for Knowledge Management implementation?

I think there are a lot of lessons for KM implementation. Here are 4 obvious ones.

  • Don’t introduce Knowledge Management through technology push alone. The history of KM is littered with failed implementations driven by technology push, and ESN is only the latest in a long line. Identify the business purpose and the value to the business and to the user, identify the pilots, create the business pull

“There is certainly a place for enterprise social, but not as a standalone tool. That would be as useless as having a smartphone without email or other apps. Put social together with a solution that solves a business process problem, and the resulting tool may take off faster than you can say “viral.”

“Once a problem solving purpose is acknowledged, we have a path to true value creation. Tim Baker and Aubrey Warren in their book “Conversations at Work: Promoting a Culture “of Conversation in the Changing Workplace” identify conversations without questions being simply statements passing back and forth with no result. “Questions add the vital ingredients of reflection, investigation, and integration”; all of which are required to solve important business problems”. 

  • Move beyond the 20% of early adopters. To bring in the remaining 80%, you need to embed KM into the work process, and to bring in the 4 incentives I mention in this blog post, because once you are past the 20%, the rest won’t come until you lead them, cajole them, and ultimately require them to come. 



View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

4 KM implementation lessons from Hoffman-LaRoche

Here are some useful lessons on KM implementation.

 
Taken from this article, here’s some lessons on KM implementation from the Hoffman-LaRoche experience.

I quote

“First, managers hoping to make a difference through better knowledge management should start by focusing on the right problem. Patricia Seemann chose a spot that was closely tied to the strategy of the business, and a driver of the firm’s future growth. She also focused on a process that was undeniably knowledge-intensive, ensuring that the impact of knowledge improvements would be great.

“This points to a second lesson: set definitive goals for what the effort will achieve. Preferably, as at Roche, these can be stated in terms of ultimate increases in profitability. 

“The third lesson to take away from Roche’s story is that knowledge management need not be technology- intensive, and should not be technology-driven. Tools like prototypes and knowledge maps can be surprisingly low-tech. They don’t require people to buy into major infrastructural overhauls up front and on faith—they simply get a job done, and win converts along the way.

“Finally, Roche’s success teaches a lesson about bringing together the right project team. A mix of twenty-five Roche people and a variety of outside consultants, Seemann’s was small enough to move fast, but big enough to bring a variety of perspectives to the table. Most importantly, every member of the team was drawn from the best and the brightest Roche had to offer. Too often, Seemann knew, internal projects are staffed with employees who have time on their hands. Unfortunately, they may be free for good reason—they are not the organization’smost valued contributors. Getting the best benefits a project on two levels: it gets the work done faster and better, and it makes a very visible statement about the project’s importance to top management. In Seemann’s words, “Do not divest knowledge management to your deadwood. Knowledge is something that is so dear to the company that only the best and brightest can actually bring it out.”

Good advice! 

View Original Source (nickmilton.com) Here.

"KM is all about change" – up to a point, and then it isn’t

Knowledge Management is only a change management exercise, until a certain point is reached. After that, it is about not changing.

It is an accepted fact that introducing KM is all about change.

You are bringing in  new processes, new roles, new technologies and new governance, that will enable, drive and support new ways of working, new behaviours, and new attitudes to knowledge. You are asking people not only to change the way they work, but also they way they think, In particular you are asking them to start to treat knowledge as a collective asset, not a personal asset.
So your KM program has all the trappings of a change management program – a vision, champions, a communication strategy, publicity for the strong perfomers, and so on.
However if you are successful, you come to a point where KM is institutionalised in the organisational frameworks. That’s when you need to stop changing.
Once KM is institutionalised, it is easy to take your eye off the ball, and think that the job has been done. However it is all too easy for the organisation to change back, to lose sight of the value KM brings and to start to revert back to how it was. The role of the KM team, once the KM change has been made, is to embed that change so that there will be no reversion.
Now your KM program has all the trappings of an established discipline – a policy, accountabilities, governance, standards, metrics and reporting, sanctions against the people who refuse to do KM, and so on.
And if you are successful with this, then KM can become internalised within the culture for the long term, and thats where the benefits will be greatest.

So Yes, KM is a change program, until it becomes a “don’t change back” program.

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