After we’ve discussed the theory of knowledge management (KM) in the last two blog posts, this article shows you how you can structure and use your knowledge better step by step. You will also receive some practical InLoox tips on how the software can support you on this journey.
The basic requirement is to create an atmosphere in which your employees are willing to share their implied knowledge. The aim is to create a strong employee culture, which assumes a transparent transfer of knowledge. Even simple actions such as building a cozy coffee corner can help to create an environment that encourages your employees to communicate with each other. Particularly superiors, but also colleagues, should openly communicate respect and appreciation for work in order to remove inhibitions. Role models that set a good example and demonstrate the handling of knowledge in the company also motivate the rest of the colleagues. In the end, you have to succeed in showing the benefits of the increased effort for your employees in order to establish acceptance for knowledge management.
Step by step, you can now begin to introduce successful knowledge management. The following shows you a procedure based on Probst's model, which deals with the most important core processes of KM. The individual elements represent possible knowledge management activities in the company. They form a cycle but are also connected and influence each other in some situations. Once again, the first step is to formulate the objectives:
Step 1: Define knowledge objectives
At the beginning of every new management process the question is: "What do you want to achieve?” For your knowledge management project, you also need to clarify in which areas of the company you want to expand knowledge and skills. These goals are the foundation for the project planning as well as for control and implementation. We have already explained the three different types of objectives in part 2 of this series. To guide the project in the right direction right from the start, you have to pick the right people. It is important to involve several departments such as management, IT department and the heads of department in the planning. Kick off the process with a brainstorming together with all participants which helps to identify important knowledge goals. To structure the results, the ABC analysis method is useful to prioritize the knowledge objectives in different ways. When formulating the goals, make sure to name them as concretely as possible using the SMART method.
InLoox tip: Make goals visible for everyone
The sooner you involve your employees in the planning process, the fewer challenges and misunderstandings arise in the later application. You can use the project notes to document the knowledge objectives that have been determined in a way that is visible to everyone. So all participants will always be able to look them up whenever they feel they have lost sight of the goals.
Picture: Note feature in InLoox now
Step 2: Identify your knowledge
What kind of knowledge and which skills are actually available in the company? Often individual managers know the answer, but the rest of the organization has no idea how much of the resource “knowledge” exists in the company. Therefore, knowledge identification should create transparency about existing knowledge both internal and external. But it is also important to find out what the company doesn’t know, and which knowledge gaps need to be filled. A good method here is knowledge mapping in which different fields of knowledge are visualized in the form of mind maps. These can be created in the project team or individually. At this phase it’s advisable to bring key figures from different departments into the team or determine your existing knowledge through customer surveys, market research, existing process instructions or other internal data. You don’t necessarily have to determine the entire company’s knowledge here, instead just consider the fields of knowledge that you have included in your goals.
InLoox: Use the mind map feature
The software offers you the possibility to create several mind maps if necessary. For example, you can create one knowledge map for each department, or you can work on a mind map together as a team.
Picture: Mindmap tool in InLoox now
Step 3: Acquiring and developing knowledge
After you were able to find out what your company doesn't know during the identification process, it is now time to close these knowledge gaps. You have two options to do this: Either you get the missing knowledge from outside or develop it yourself within your own company. External know-how can come from consultants, new employees, cooperation or training. You will also find many specialist articles or literature on numerous topics from respected experts on the Internet. But before you decide to acquire new knowledge externally and possibly spend money on it, you should take a look at your internal potential. How does the company deal with the creativity of its employees? How is the acquisition of new knowledge encouraged? New knowledge is always created through dialogue, so you must do everything you can to ensure the exchange og knowledge within your company. You should also create enough formal opportunities to systematically record and document experiences and knowledge through internal creative methods such as lessons learned or feedback discussions. Also keep in mind that initiating new projects always creates new knowledge. You should create formal onboarding processes or mentoring programs for new employees as they have a acquire knowledge from scratch. Mentoring has proven to be a good method to supplement missing knowledge.
InLoox tip: Use the InLoox training courses and free webinars and white papers
InLoox offers a range of resources to help you expand your knowledge of InLoox, project management and productivity. Expand your InLoox know-how with our in-house and online training courses, where you and your colleagues learn how get the most out of InLoox. Or expand your Outlook and project management knowledge with our free webinars (in German) and white papers. With our online services you can expand your knowledge anywhere and anytime - whether in the office or when working from home.