Knowledge Management Process
To grasp knowledge management, you should first understand how crucial it is for companies and organizations to efficiently and effectively manage information and data. Without doing so, necessary information for future projects, employee tasks, and other activities may be miscommunicated, misplaced, or lost altogether. This reality means that not only was the work that was done to acquire that information wasted, but now the people who need to access that information have to stop, postpone what they’re working on, and find a different way of the information they need.
But, rest assured. Almost every business struggles with documenting, filing, organizing, and/or sharing information because their methods are eclectic, uncoordinated, or hard to untangle. So, you aren’t alone. What organizations need is a more efficient knowledge management process. Knowledge management is the process of documenting, organizing, and sharing a company’s knowledge and data amongst its employees, partners, customers, and even stakeholders. There are many knowledge management process steps to take before you get it right, and though they may be tricky at first, it’s well worth the effort.
Types of Knowledge that Needs to Be Managed
If you struggle to maintain an efficient system for organizing, sharing, and accessing information, you need to implement a new, improved knowledge management process. Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done. There are many approaches used in knowledge management, and finding the right one for your company is essential. So, which one is right for you?
You are the only one capable of answering that question because all organizations are unique. Still, having a deep, detailed understanding of the types of knowledge management, what they’re used for, and their purposes will help get you started down the right path.
Explicit knowledge (document info)
Explicit knowledge is something that businesses can readily access without hassle. It’s articulated, stored, and codified to provide access to those who need it. There will be fewer miscommunications and misunderstandings since it’s so easy to share with others. Explicit knowledge is very open and efficient, making the communication process more convenient for everyone involved.
An example of explicit information is when you forget a birthday, and someone calls to remind you. They may say something along the lines of “It’s so-and-so’s birthday. They’re having a party, so bring a present or a card.” Here, they have provided information, context, and instructions for applying this information, leaving you no need to read between the lines.
Implicit information (applied info)
Implicit information stands in contrast to explicit information. Explicit information is knowledge stated outright that says what needs to be conveyed right from the beginning. Implicit information is knowledge shared amongst individuals without necessarily being stated outright. You may hear this referred to as an “unspoken truth” or “the elephant in the room” in everyday life. Implicit information requires those receiving it to read between the lines and understand the context for themselves. And, people use it frequently without realizing it.
A good example of implicit information is when you’re about to go outside with someone in the winter, and they tell you that you should probably grab a jacket. While they didn’t explicitly say it, you can use the context to figure out why you need a coat. It’s winter, there may be snow, and you’re going outside. Therefore, you need a jacket because it is cold outside.
Tacit knowledge (understood info)
Tacit knowledge is information expressed through a person’s skills, ideas, and methods. It’s commonly learned from first-hand experiences and a long process involving trial and error. The information gained from tacit knowledge is difficult to communicate, though doing so benefits the group. Tacit knowledge is essential for everyone, as it makes the information seem more relevant and easier to remember.
An excellent example of this is when you tell a toddler not to touch something because it’s hot. They may listen, but often they won’t. That’s because while they understand what you said, they’ve never tried it before. Chances are, they’ll touch the hot surface anyway and subsequently burn themselves. Having firsthand experience of the pain that comes from touching something hot, they are far less likely to repeat that course of action next time, because they’ve gained a tacit understanding of what you told them.