Summary:As knowledge based work becomes more and more prevalent, the issue of how a company retains and disseminates knowledge becomes more and more critical. This post looks at knowledge management in a design business.
“I wish we knew what we know at HP.”
This quote is attributed to Lew Platt, former chairman of Hewlett Packard, and was the inspiration for a popular book on knowledge management published in 1998.
It has turned into a common lament throughout business, and even applies to individuals. How do we manage our own knowledge?
In the book Working Knowledge Davenport and Prusak outline a pragmatic approach to improving retention and circulation of knowledge within a business.
One such method is having shared knowledge repositories within a business. This might seem fancy – but it can be as simple as a shelf of books, or a wiki.
However, there are other more interesting ways to share knowledge. Take the following example from IDEO, the design and innovation consultancy. They have a tech box which is a library of interesting bits and pieces contributed by IDEO staff. The items within the tech box could be interesting for all sorts of reasons – the material, manufacturing technique, or even just the feel of the object.
This is a great way of sharing tacit knowledge within the organisation.
Another example is having mini Pecha Kucha events between staff where they share new ideas in informal presentations lasting just a few seconds per slide.
But whatever knowledge you have to share, designating a place to share knowledge is a strong first step in promoting the sharing of knowledge between individuals, which in many organisations today is the main way in which innovation happens.
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