Wednesday, November 14, 2007

National Knowledge Management Research meeting "Made in Holland" (1)

Ton Zijlstra (Proven Partners): Knowledge management scans

Since 2000 Proven Partners collects the results of 4 knowledge management scans, using an online benchmark engine.

The scans are about the following themes:
1) How important is knowledge in our organization?
2) How clear is our future direction?
3) How good are we at knowledge management?
4) Is our company organized in a knowledge sensitive way?

These scans are based on the Knowledge Value Chain (Weggeman, 1997) and filled in by a broad selection of Dutch organizations.

In this presentation Ton looks back and gives an analysis of seven years of data collecting.

Impressions from the surveys:
- the survey consists of 600 questions of which 151 are taken from standard scans. Weggeman helped define the questions.
- there is a big gap between KM ambition level of companies and what they are doing in practice.
- Companies find it hard to define knowledge goals and strategy.
- Most companies do not find it difficult to get an overview of ‘Knowing what we know’.
- The survey results say the problem in KM is not people and management, but systems and structures. “We need to change, but I don’t.”
- Consequently translating knowledge goals to practice is difficult.
- Work experience plays an important role in the perception of KM. Young employees believe in perfect systems (solving all KM problems). Experienced employees see important knowledge leave the organization.

The survey results don’t give a complete picture. Only ‘conscious incompetent’ organizations/individuals use this scan.

Ton told us they are tweaking the benchmark tool based on:
- requests to tailor the questions (to their specific needs)
- efforts/interventions more central
- more pattern recognition on results (e.g. ‘islands’ of knowledge)
- the aspect of work environment on KM
- perception of ‘the other’ in knowledge sharing/exchange
- information handling in daily work

Ton asks us what would you like to get from this tool?

I’m interested in multi-site knowledge management (relating to the above-mentioned ‘islands’). In this connected world, working virtualy with colleagues and externals around the world is becoming ever more easy. But how are companies coping with this trend and organizing themselves to facilitate it?

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