Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Live KM blogging: A 2 by 2 matrix

I love the two by two matrix. Had I more time, I'd actually draw this one here; but I don't have the capacity, so... You'll have to just imagine this one.

One axis is knowledge transfer; at the low end is explicit knowledge; at the high end is tacit.

The other axis is human interaction which runs from low to high.

Urgh; this isn't going to make sense.

How's this: there's a number of approaches for manging knowledge, and they each have a range of the human touch and a range of what sort of knowledge can be transferred.

Self Service is primarily technology focused. I'd put CG Central here: deals with explicit knowledge and is low in terms of human interaction. The APQC puts portals, repositories, CRM systems, email, discussion boards, expertise locator systems, taxonomy & classification systems, and search engines.

A little higher on the human interaction axis, and a little further up the explicit/tacit scale, is process-based knowledge management: knowledge management which is built-in to business processes. Examples of these types of approaches include after action reviews, lessons learned, and project milestone reviews. You'll note these are "systematic tools which gather process specific knowledge and reapply that knowledge to relevant situations.

Continuing up the human interaction axis toward higher touch, and moving more toward transferring tacit knowledge is what the good folks at APQC call network-based knowledge management. The primary approach which falls under this approach is communities of practice. It also includes team meetings and virtual collaboration. This is groups that share and learn. These groups are held together by common interests. These sorts of groups solve business problems.

The highest human touch also allows for transfer of the highest level of tacit knowledge. APQC calls this facilitated best practice transfer.

I'm not so sure what this last one looks like.

The focus for today and tomorrow is communities of practice.

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