Improving the Flow of Content and Knowledge

Organizations need to understand what knowledge makes them more competitive, innovative, and profitable. By clearly identifying the pieces of knowledge that lead to success, an organization can develop ways to leverage that knowledge more effectively.

To uncover the highest priority knowledge in your organization and develop a vision for your knowledge management (KM) program, ask the following questions:

  • Does our current knowledge allow us to compete effectively?
  • What knowledge will we need to innovate and meet long-term customer needs?
  • What strategic issue could improve if knowledge and expertise were better shared and transferred?
  • Which of our challenges are knowledge-related? How would we benefit from a better flow of knowledge?
  • What would success look like?

Then, begin designing a plan to improve knowledge flow:

  1. Choose a specific batch of critical knowledge, and identify the area of the business through which the knowledge flows.
  2. Specify the reason for mapping the knowledge. What are you trying to achieve?
  3. Map out all the activities and hand-offs that make up the process, focusing on key decision points and cross-functional hand-offs.
  4. Identify sources and recipients of critical knowledge as well as important knowledge assets needed for each step of the process.
  5. Create an inventory of types of knowledge (explicit and tacit) used and needed.
  6. Identify problem areas where there are gaps, lack of connectivity, or information overload.
  7. Develop a plan to review, validate, and share the findings from the map.

Examining the processes through which knowledge flows reveals where that flow breaks down. People who don’t know anything about KM suddenly get it when they see how knowledge should flow and how it isn’t in their current processes.

APQC can help you determine where and how to focus your efforts to improve the flow of knowledge. Contact us today for more information. Or continue reading about the following knowledge management topics: