July 11, 2016


Some Guiding Principles of Knowledge Management
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A navigation technique is to look at the stars to tell you where you are. Similarly, we must use a powerful new "knowledge lens" in order to navigate or manage our companies. But we can't manage knowledge in a traditional way.

Always changing, knowledge is more organic than mechanical.

Below is the 12 principles about knowledge by Verna Allee (2009).

1. Knowledge is messy. Because knowledge is connected to everything else, you can't isolate the knowledge aspect of anything neatly. In the knowledge universe, you can't pay attention to just one factor.

2. Knowledge is self-organizing. The self that knowledge organizes around is organizational or group identity and purpose.

3. Knowledge seeks community. Knowledge wants to happen, just as life wants to happen. Both want to happen as community. Nothing illustrates this principle more than the Internet.

4. Knowledge travels via language. Without a language to describe our experience, we can't communicate what we know. Expanding organizational knowledge means that we must develop the languages we use to describe our work experience.

5. The more you try to pin knowledge down, the more it slips away. It's tempting to try to tie up knowledge as codified knowledge-documents, patents, libraries, databases, and so forth. But too much rigidity and formality regarding knowledge lead to the stultification of creativity.

6. Looser is probably better. Highly adaptable systems look sloppy. The survival rate of diverse, decentralized systems is higher. That means we can waste resources and energy trying to control knowledge too tightly.

7. There is no one solution. Knowledge is always changing. For the moment, the best approach to managing it is one that keeps things moving along while keeping options open.

8. Knowledge doesn't grow forever. Eventually, some knowledge is lost or dies, just as things in nature. Unlearning and letting go of old ways of thinking, even retiring whole blocks of knowledge, contribute to the vitality and evolution of knowledge.

9. No one is in charge. Knowledge is a social process. That means no one person can take responsibility for collective knowledge.

10. You can't impose rules and systems. If knowledge is truly self-organizing, the most important way to advance it is to remove the barriers to self-organization. In a supportive environment, knowledge will take care of itself.

11. There is no silver bullet. There is no single leverage point or best practice to advance knowledge. It must be supported at multiple levels and in a variety of ways.

12. How you define knowledge determines how you manage it. The "knowledge question" can present itself many ways. For example, concern about the ownership of knowledge leads to acquiring codified knowledge that is protected by copyrights and patents.


Definition of Knowledge Management Principles:

Knowledge management principles are an enduring set of guidelines for managing knowledge that are established by an organization, program or team.

Below is some principles about knowledge managementI picked up from Anna Mar (2013):

1. Knowledge is a Valuable Asset

2. Knowledge is Stored in A Central Repository

One of the biggest problems that knowledge management programs face is islands of knowledge. Teams and individuals have a tendency to horde knowledge in their own makeshift repositories. This principle makes it clear that everything goes into one central repository. Your knowledge repository (e.g. enterprise content management system) should allow teams and users to create their own knowledge spaces.

3. Knowledge is Quality Controlled

For example, quality guidelines may state that document authorship (who contributed to knowledge) be captured.

4. Knowledge is Decentralized

Most knowledge management responsibilities lie with those teams closest to the knowledge. Never centralize all knowledge management processes.

5. Knowledge is Social

Knowledge that sits on a shelf has no value. The value of knowledge depends on communication and socialization. The creation, assessment, improvement and use of knowledge is largely a social process.

6. Knowledge is Shared

A primary goal of knowledge management is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge. Encourage your organization to share (e.g. lunch and learn sessions).

7. Knowledge is Accessible

Knowledge is more valuable when it's accessible to a wide audience. Privacy and confidentiality prevent most organizations from sharing all knowledge. However, it's important to set the expectation that a valid reason is required to restrict access. The concept of accessibility also addresses access to knowledge for individuals with disabilities or special needs.

8. Knowledge is Secured

Knowledge is your most valuable information. It's critical that information security best practices be followed for knowledge management processes and tools.

9. Work Produces Knowledge

Set the expectation that every program, project, process and initiative is expected to generate knowledge. In some organizations, every meeting is expected to generate knowledge.

10. Knowledge is Improved

Knowledge that isn't improved quickly loses it's value. Knowledge management is a process of continual improvement.

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