Developing a KM Strategy
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* How do you monitor the success of the strategy? * What are the elements of a KM strategy? * Where do you start and what is the process to develop a strategy? * Why would you develop a KM strategy?
· How do you monitor the success of the strategy?
You can monitor the success of a KM strategy when by measuring the following conditions:
* The number of staff is increased in subscribing and actively participating in Knowledge Networks * The increase in volume of traffic in he knowledge networks * When you mention knowledge management in meetings, you don't get a queer look from the staff * The efficiency of the organization is increased * Redundancy in projects and programmes is avoided * True and working rewarding or incentives are put in place for sharing knowledge * Enough budget and time are allocated for staff training and organizational learning * Face-to-Face discussions and forums are organized for knowledge and information sharing periodically
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· What are the elements of a KM strategy?
* The KM strategy should link to organization's mandate/mission/goals AND SHOULD TAKE ACCOUNT OF THE ORGANIZATION'S VALUES AND WAYS OF WORKING * Audit and mapping of KM resources * Statement of the resources available for the initiative * Comprehensive needs analysis * A business case * Articulate objectives of KM strategy - there is an issue of balance between internally and externally focussed objectives
3 major element of KM Strategy:
* People o Training/capacity building o Improving networking o Tapping people's knowledge o Creating incentives for knowledge sharing, INCLUDING REWARDS AND RECOGNITION * Process/organization (e.g. communications strategy) o Improving processes o Finding new ways of doing core business o Finding ways of expressing tacit knowledge o information management systems * Tools o IT tools o Tools must be very simple o Importance of presenting elements of km strategy in a visual form
* Build in plan for monitoring and evaluation system from the beginning * Factors that are likely to contribute to the success of a KM strategy include: o Sustainability - embed responsibility for maintenance in core staff responsibilities o Leadership o Communications o Acknowledge, celebrate and build on KM that is already happening
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· Where do you start and what is the process to develop a strategy?
Knowledge Management cannot exist in isolation from the organisation and so must start with the corporate plan - the document or process that describes what the organisation want to achieve for the future. Business drivers or metrics are then identified - these could be high level such as - ensuring we have a future role in a changing world - or specific such as 'reversing our downward trend in revenue per head of staff'.
The Knowledge Manager should agree at an early stage what 'Knowledge' is depending on the organisational structure and culture. For some, little more than an information sharing and organisational learning strategy will deliver significant early results. For other, more sophisticated organisations, an attempt at capturing 'tacit knowledge' - the way information is used by an individual - may be an appropriately ambitious strategy.
Also where is KM going to impact - is it a field-based initiative that serves actual development knowledge to the recipient countries or is it an organisational initiative to improve the effectiveness of the NGO - the two strands are very different.
The next stage is identifying the barriers to success. For instance the lack of a formal metadata or taxonomy structure could severely hinder information sharing. On a more human level, lack of communication between teams and departments may prove critical prior to any KM initiatives.
From the barriers to success, key initial actions can be identified (see example below) and work begins. Too many KM initiatives become interesting academic studies. Key initial actions ensure a quick start to the project.
But as with any successful business plan, the KM strategy becomes a living document. The first step is a needs analysis. Knowledge needs to be relevant and actionable to each person in the organisation. A bottom-up approach of understanding the information inputs an individual will experience, together with the outputs they will produce, allows the knowledge manager to establish how examples of best practice can be presented and who the practitioners are. Another useful step is early identification of knowledge champions - people who will buy into your vision for change and help you evangelise knowledge throughout the organisation.
Whilst it is impossible to fully do justice to the question in a short space, our key recommendations are:
* Understand corporate plan * Identify key business metrics * Set expectations about what KM is * Identify barriers to success and start initial actions to overcome them * Begin needs analysis working with the beneficiaries of knowledge (everyone) * Identify and work with knowledge champions - you can not do this on your own
Key Initial Actions Example
Barrier to success Strategy Tactics Lack of communication between teams Get the organisation talking Sponsor networking lunches; Employ IM technology; Create newsletter Lack of available information Make existing information widely availalbe Deploy metadata rules; Deploy search and classification tools; Publish success stories
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· Why would you develop a KM strategy?
The reason to develop a strategy for KM can vary among organizations. In some organizations the starting point might be a decision by the top management that knowledge management is important. In other organizations a strategy for KM can also be a vehicle to inform and convince the top management on the importance of knowledge management.
A strategy for KM articulates the organization's vision for what will achieve through knowledge management, as well as providing a concrete structure and processes. A strategy for KM will ideally function like a magnet that orients and focuses the energies of the organization and their partners. The strategy also serves to strengthen, legitimize and give weight to the position of KM managers and of KM within the organization.
The value of developing a strategy lies as much in the process as the final product. As a result, it is important to that people impacted by the strategy are engaged in the various stages of its development. This establishes a common understanding and facilitates a sense of ownership for the strategy during its implementation. The final product gives a framework for operationalizing KM and is an important precondition for effective monitoring and evaluation. In addition, it is a useful instrument for external communication.