Monday, April 17, 2006

Knowledge in Organizations

After a couple of wonderful weeks back home, I was talking to my good friend Orlando about this book and what I am planning (Create this powerful knowledge product), and struck me like a thunder when I said something about knowledge and organizations... I kept asking him and several other people(days later) this question:

Where does knowledge reside in an organization?

The obvious answer I've got was "In people's minds", so I had to change the question to something more specific.."Where does knowledge reside (in a consolidated form) in an organization?". What amazed me is that nothing comes to mind like "your knowledge system", or DMS, or Intranet, no. The answer was in people's head. Note: Recent research shows an average of 80% institutional knowledge to reside on employees head. Bill Gates is targeting this as a big next step.(Zdnet , May 16th 2006)

To me the answer is simple but striking. Knowledge (As I put forward in this book) is in ... The policies and procedures(P&P) manual or book!. I should say, it should be there. This comes back a couple of weeks ago when I was holding a couple of books about how to write good P&P's. Intuitively I knew there was something important to me to look at it, but did not know why. Now I understand and plan to make use of it more extensively.

In a good , serious, ISO XXXXX type of Corporation/organization , decisions , processes agreed, etc, are or should be included in their Policies and Procedures manual (But I will rather call it a system), because thick books or manuals to tell the truth are useless (have not read the first in many years), and there is nothing more boring than reading P&P's because it is an art to do it well after reading recently about it, and you need a proper structure to maintain it alive, as any other information piece. This is something we see many organizations ignoring or partially doing (Those with critical areas as information security). But still, it is no easy feat to read P&P material.
Now, what the problem is/has been, is how to effectively write, publish, promote and track those rules and processes.
My conclusion has been that it should not be a book or document, but rather an active system that promotes itself, and monitors other systems(Data and processes systems) to verify how successful those decisions are. Then it enables you to get timely feedback, so you can take action and adjust faster to a given condition.