Here is an article in KM World, The knowledge movement: trends and opportunities, that begins with tag line, “The true success of KM is when it disappears, meaning that KM processes are embedded in workflow.” That won my attention immediately as I have felt this for the last 20 years. Has it been that long since I first did what we “learned” was knowledge management? I will take it one step further. I have never seen a successful knowledge management effort that was not process aligned.
This article covers the KM movement in India but it is relevant for anywhere. It covers the initial meeting of the Pune K-Community and the author, Madanmohan Rao, covers 12 trends from the session. I will not go into all of them but mention a few that I especially liked and you can view the rest through the link above.
The first one was “Mature KM initiatives address not only internal collaboration but also external collaboration.” As I have written before this is why I like the term social business used by IBM rather than enterprise 2.0. You need to align both internal and external knowledge efforts rather they are through social media or other means. Many companies have recognized the value of involved customers and external business partners in their business decision, rather it be comprehensive crowd sourcing or simple incremental improvements to a specific product. Madanmohan lists Procter & Gamble and Nike as good examples.
Another trend is “Social media are playing an increasing role as knowledge narrative, and mobile cloud is a key trend in workflow infrastructure.” I feel social media has transformed KM in a very positive way. The first time I saw a blog I saw it as a new way to do KM. You collect knowledge in the process of doing work so the issue for KM shifts from collection to curation. Of course mobile is huge and will transform many things from how you purchase products to knowledge capture and sharing.
It was also noted that, “gamification is a growing practice in KM, such as coding contests and competitions for best personal KM (MySite) at Unisys, as well as a best paper contest to showcase thought leadership in a field.” Gaming incentives have been around for some time. They just have more tools and the social aspects have increased their visibility and impact.
Then there was my favorite, “the true success of KM is when it "disappears," meaning that KM processes are embedded in workflow.” The author mentioned that 90 percent of the knowledge contributions in Wipro happen as part of the normal workflow and are not created via additional activities. This is where social media is a great enabler. But it does not put KM professionals out of a job as they will be needed to design and upgrade such workflow tools which is was my introduction to knowledge management in the early 90s.
Take a look at the other trends. It is a useful article.