3.3.4 How do I identify core Skills and implement Knowledge Management in my Company?

Core Skills

The following four questions will help you diagnose core skills in your company:

  1. Does your company possess technologies, know-how or processes that raise your competitiveness or the level of benefits to your customers to such a degree that is higher than that of your competitors?
  2. Are your core skills protected so that it is difficult or impossible for your competitors to imitate them?
  3. Do the core skills serve more than one business unit?
  4. Do they establish a point of entry to new business segments for your company?

The higher the percentage of positive answers, the higher is the probability that your business actually possesses core skills. Here are some tips to help identify your core skills:

  • Ignore your beliefs about what your business is or could be.
  • Explore and go beyond the borders of your business field.
  • Don´t be afraid of talking about things you do not understand.
  • Paradoxes are good, paradigms are bad.
  • Put yourself in the place of your customers.
  • Do not think in terms of claims, but in terms of desires.

Knowledge Management

Actively managing knowledge is one way to conduct knowledge management (push strategy), while pull strategies take place on a more ad-hoc basis. Knowledge management strategies for companies can include:

  • Rewards as a means of motivating for knowledge sharing.
  • Storytelling as a means of transferring tacit knowledge. This happens in your company all the time. A low organisational hierarchy and good working climate facilitate this form of knowledge transfer.
  • Cross-project learning deals with knowledge transfer from one project to another. In many companies this type of transfer take place in an informal way, but some companies establish formalized, standardized and conscious channels.
  • De-brief processes for analyzing what happened, why it happened, and how it can be done better, by the participants and those responsible for a project.
  • Knowledge mapping (a map of knowledge repositories within a company) is all about keeping a record of information and knowledge you need such as where you can get it from, who holds it, whose expertise is it, and so on.
  • Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and they learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.
  • Best practice transfer is often based on the results of benchmarking. The essence of best practice transfer is not to copy the best practice, but to adapt it for the circumstances of the business unit.
  • Competence management (systematic evaluation and planning of competences of individual organization members) aims to identify present and future competence needs, facilitate comprehensive communication between business units regarding training, subsequently turning competence goals into business results.
  • Proximity & architecture is an important point, which is often overseen by management. Proximity facilitates storytelling too.
  • Master-apprentice relationship is a traditional way of knowledge transfer. Well-trained apprentices should be kept in your company to preserve knowledge in your company.
  • By using collaborative technologies (groupware, etc) widely dispersed work teams can easily share information, whether they´re located across the country or around the world.
  • Knowledge repositories (databases) are computer systems that continuously capture and analyse the knowledge assets of an organization.
  • Measuring and reporting intellectual capital is a way of making knowledge explicit for companies.
  • Knowledge brokers are organizational members that take on responsibility for a specific "field" and act as first reference on whom to talk about a specific subject.
  • Social software such as wikis, social bookmarking or blogs can easily be established in a company and serves as "database" of knowledge