Nowadays, most of organizations realize that the important of managing knowledge effectively. For doing so, they need to be always able to identify, generate, acquire, diffuse and capture the most valuable benefits of knowledge that sets up a strategic advantage to themselves. It also needs to have the ability to differentiate the information, which is digitizable, and true knowledge assets, which can only exist with in the context of an intelligent system. To be able to clearly understand the requirements for effectively implement knowledge management processes in the workplace, we may discuss the knowledge life cycle and strategies in each stages of the cycle.
Knowledge Management Life Cycle
Knowledge has a life cycle. New knowledge is born as uncertainty thing, and it form into shape as it is tested, matures through implementation in reality, is diffused to a growing user, and finally becomes broadly understood and recognize as common practice. The knowledge can process through four stages of knowledge life cycle: creation, mobilization, diffusion and commoditization.
In this initial state of knowledge formation, people cannot define or understand completely the idea or emerging knowledge, even for the person who proposes it due to the perplexing nature of knowledge creation. Knowledge creation with respect to its commercial viability can be tested at the early stage of the life-cycle. A nurturing business environment that is open to new ideas and adaptable to changes is necessitated for creativity and experimentation. In order to create that culture, adjustments must be made in the following areas:
- Informal Knowledge System: Management must grant level of access, rewards and options to grant the employees the privileges and responsibilities to experiment, and open access to training programs and conferences in order to develop knowledge effectively.
- Information Technology Systems: Collaboration tools and knowledge base library to be accessed, utilized via Intranet, Extranet, Internet, Cloud and portable computing must be provided to technology driven workforce – who have an interest in sharing the new idea at the highly specialized forums – rather than to codify and store emerging knowledge which have little value.
- Human Resources: HR department should hire people willing to adopt the knowledge management system and its application.
- External Relationship: Contacts with the customers or external suppliers can be the stimulants for development of new ideas in synergistic partnership.
In this stage, continuous knowledge improvement will lead to further value extraction for the organization. Firms must mobilize knowledge internally and protect its Intellectual property’s. The approaches are detailed as following:
- Informal Knowledge System: Internal company networks must be created so that the employees can transfer the knowledge through experience.
- Information Technology Systems: The IT department will implement and maintain a collaboration resource such that meet the needs of users’ base to create, share, access, and commenting on subjects of interest as easily and securely as possible.
- Human Resources: Thinkers, doers, mavericks and pragmatists are needed in order to fully transform new ideas into valuable knowledge.
- External Relationships: Evolving interaction fostered by close relationship with customers and partners will be as vital.
This stage will see the actualization and commercialization of the ideas and knowledge accumulated and improved upon earlier. So there will be a diffusion of the knowledge out of the firms to paying customers who place a value toward the attainment of the knowledge in question. Again, managers should be aware of following facets:
- Informal Knowledge Systems: Standardized knowledge can be more easily transferred and adopted. Thus firms must emphasize on employees training and knowledge application.
- Information Technology Systems: During this state, the extensive knowledge databases will be very helpful for the companies through the diffusion and commoditization stages. Ease of access to information will enhance the firms’ competitive advantages.
- Human Resources: Knowledge workers must realize the importance of application of knowledge base to solving customer’s problems and concerns.
- External Relationship: Great businesses derive maximum profit while satisfying the needs of increasing customer base in a sustaining economic sector. Firms must increase their goodwill via PR campaign to leverage brand image and product & services’ values.
In this state, the basic knowledge is already diffused completely and the firm must manage to maintain it efficiently. There are various chances to extract value from current knowledge that has reached commodity status. Extraction techniques are as follow:
- Informal Knowledge Systems: In this state, higher grading is credited to formal knowledge systems. The organizations must concentrate on supplying best practices that can add more value to well-developed processes. Moreover, the company’s systems are necessary to encourage new ways of commercializing existing knowledge.
- Information Technology Systems: Effort is dedicated to the development of querying and retrieval techniques of existing databases. The efficient of the system is as effective to the filtering of irrelevant data which have accrued overtime.
- Human Resources: Demand for knowledge and experience is lessened at this stage, thus contract employees can be quickly trained to perform application built upon the knowledge base where human interaction is a necessity(ie. Out-call center, support and sales department).