Reference: Knowledge Management Elements

Blog Wisdom

Knowledge Management Specialties

By Stan Garfield (Twitter: @stangarfield) – Revised September 1, 2010

The field of knowledge management includes a wide variety of components and disciplines.  Here is a list of 25 specialties practiced by those in the field, followed by Tara Pangakis list of 50 KM components across people, processes, and technologies.

  1. Sharing, culture, organizational design, and change management
  2. Innovation, invention, creativity, and idea generation
  3. Reuse, proven practices, and lessons learned
  4. Collaboration and communities
  5. Learning, development, and training
  6. Goals, measurements, incentives, and rewards
  7. Social networks, organizational networks, value networks, and network analysis
  8. Expertise location and personal profiles
  9. Communications
  10. User support and Knowledge-Centered Support (KCS)
  11. Content management and document management
  12. Search, taxonomy, ontology, and tagging
  13. Analytics, visualization, metrics, and reporting
  14. Project management, process management, workflow, and planning
  15. KM methods (peer assists, after action reviews, knowledge audits, etc. – see KM Method Cards)
  16. Appreciative inquiry and positive deviance
  17. Storytelling, narrative, anecdotes, and sensemaking
  18. Information architecture
  19. Usability, user interface, and user experience
  20. Portals, intranets, and websites
  21. Databases, repositories, business intelligence, and data warehouses
  22. Competitive intelligence, customer intelligence, market intelligence, and research
  23. Web 2.0 and social media tools
  24. Semantic web, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing
  25. Wisdom of crowds, crowdsourcing, collective intelligence, and prediction markets

50 Knowledge Management Components [below the line]

From Weekly Knowledge Management Blog by Stan Garfield

(Also see KM Specialties)

Tara Pangakis posted this comment in response to Resource Survey: “One question I’m asking quite a bit lately of the set of people I collaborate with is ‘how do you define knowledge resource?’ Establishing that basic vocabulary can be enlightening in interpreting the rest of the great questions you cite!”

The Resource Survey should start with a complete list of knowledge resources currently available in an organization. But the first question in the survey is: “Are there other valuable knowledge resources you use frequently? If so, what are they?” This allows users to answer Tara’s question by specifying actual resources, rather than trying to define them in the abstract.

Here is a list of knowledge resources which can be used to choose the ones most relevant to an organization for a survey. Not all of these are always relevant, and there may be others offered in response to the first question, but this list of the Top 50 KM Components provides one set of definitions. Examples of each component are available in my KM World slides.

People components

  1. culture and values: the way things are done in an organization, and what things are considered to be important and taboo
  2. knowledge managers: people who spend all or a significant portion of their time leading KM initiatives, sharing knowledge, and supporting others in sharing their knowledge
  3. user surveys and employee satisfaction surveys: periodic surveys to determine user preferences, needs, and challenges and to determine how employees view a KM program and its components
  4. social networks: collections of people who are acquainted or connected as friends, business contacts, or colleagues and communicate, collaborate, or help one another as needed
  5. communities: groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and deepen their understanding and knowledge of this area by interacting on an ongoing basis
  6. training: classroom courses, self-paced courses, and recorded webinars which allow users to learn what is expected of them; the people, processes, and tools which are available to them; and how to use all of these in order to share, innovate, reuse, collaborate, and learn
  7. documentation: user guides, manuals, and help files which allow users to read about what is expected of them; the people, processes, and tools which are available to them; and how to use all of these in order to share, innovate, reuse, collaborate, and learn
  8. communications: vehicles for informing current and potential users about progress in the KM initiative through web sites, team spaces, portals, wikis, threaded discussions, conference calls, blogs, newsletters, distribution lists, and links
  9. user assistance and knowledge help desk: people who provide support by phone or email to users, including tool consulting, finding reusable content, connecting to knowledge sources, process support, training, communication, and other assistance
  10. goals and measurements: employee goals included in performance plans, and measurements to track performance against those goals and other operational indicators
  11. incentives and rewards: programs designed to encourage compliance with goals, improve performance against metrics, and increase participation in KM initiatives – includes tangible rewards, recognition, and competitive rankings

Process components

  1. methodologies: policies, rules, techniques, and procedures which prescribe how work it is to be performed and provide proven ways to do it successfully
  2. creation: inventing new concepts, approaches, methods, techniques, products, services, and ideas which can be used for the benefit of people and organizations
  3. capture: collecting documents, presentations, spreadsheets, records, processes, software source, images, audio, video, and other files which can be used for innovation, reuse, and learning
  4. reuse: putting to practical use the captured knowledge, community suggestions, and collaborative assistance provided through knowledge sharing
  5. lessons learned: explaining what an individual or team has learned as a result of their experience, using documents, presentations, discussions, and recordings – including what they tried, what worked, what didn’t work, what to do, what to avoid, problems faced, how problems were solved, what they would do differently, and key insights and nuggets
  6. proven practices: selecting, documenting, and replicating processes which have proven to improve business results so that others in similar environments or with similar needs can benefit from the proven successes
  7. collaboration: interacting with peers and colleagues to exchange ideas, share experiences, work together on projects, and solve problems
  8. content management: creating, managing, distributing, publishing, and retrieving structured information – the complete lifecycle of content as it moves through an organization
  9. classification: creating and maintaining a taxonomy that can be used to organize information so that it can be readily found through navigation, search, and links between related content
  10. metrics and reporting: capturing operational indicators and producing reports to communicate performance against goals, areas for improvement, and progress toward the desired state
  11. management of change: developing a planned approach to change in an organization to address anticipated obstacles and to ensure successful adoption
  12. workflow: embedding knowledge creation, capture, and reuse in business processes so that these steps happen routinely as part of normal work
  13. valuation: quantifying the value of reuse and innovation so that it can be fully appreciated by the organization, including customer pricing, cost benefit analysis, and project justification
  14. social network analysis: mapping and measuring of relationships and flows between people, groups, organizations, animals, computers or other information/knowledge processing entities; the nodes in the network are the people and groups while the links show relationships or flows between the nodes – provides both a visual and a mathematical analysis of human relationships
  15. appreciative inquiry (and positive deviance): asking questions that strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential – mobilization of inquiry through the crafting of the “unconditional positive question”
  16. storytelling: using narrative to ignite action, implement new ideas, communicate who you are, build your brand, instill organizational values, foster collaboration to get things done, share knowledge, neutralize gossip and rumor, and lead people into the future

Technology components

  1. user interface: the point of entry to a knowledge base that provides navigation, search, communication, help, news, site index, site map, and links to all tools
  2. intranet: a private computer network that uses Internet protocols, network connectivity, and possibly the public telecommunication system to securely share part of an organization’s information or operations with its employees
  3. team spaces: collaborative workspaces designed to allow teams to share documents, libraries, schedules, and files; conduct meetings, calls, surveys, and polls; and store meeting minutes, discussions, reports, and plans
  4. virtual meeting rooms: online, real-time tools designed to allow teams to share presentations, applications, and white boards during meetings
  5. portals: web sites that provide personalized capabilities to users through the use of customization, building blocks, and integration of multiple sources
  6. repositories: structured lists and databases which allow documents and other files to be stored, searched for, and retrieved
  7. bulletin boards and threaded discussions: forums for carrying on discussions among subscribers on a specific subject, including online and email posts and replies, searchable archives, and discussions grouped by threads to show the complete history on each topic
  8. expertise locators and ask the expert: systems for finding experts on particular subjects, allowing individuals to enter details about what they know and can do, and others to search for all people having desired skills, experience, or knowledge; and systems for asking questions of experts and getting the answers
  9. metadata and tags: information about information – data fields added to documents, web sites, files, or lists which allow related items to be listed, searched for, navigated to, syndicated, and collected
  10. search engines: tools which allow searching for documents, files, list items, content, and answers to questions – allow specifying the scope or domain of the search, whether to search on text or metadata, and how results should be presented
  11. archiving: offline file storage for legal, audit, or historical purposes, using tapes, CDs, or other long-term media
  12. blogs (and microblogs): web sites where entries are made (such as in a journal or diary), displayed in a reverse chronological order; often provide commentary or news on a particular subject; some function as personal online diaries or logbooks; combine text, images, and links to other blogs and web sites; typically provide archives in calendar form, local search, syndication feeds, reader comment posting, trackback links from other blogs, blogroll links to other recommended blogs, and categories of entries tagged for retrieval by topic
  13. wikis: web sites which allow users to easily add, remove, edit, and change most available content – effective for collaborative writing and self-service web site creation and maintenance
  14. podcasts (and videos): recorded broadcasts which can be listened to online, or downloaded manually or automatically through syndication and then listened to on portable MP3 players at the listener’s convenience
  15. syndication and aggregation: using feeds available from a web site to provide an updated list of its content in the form of a subscription, an embedded portion of a web site, or a collection of disparate content on a particular topic – typically uses RSS or Atom syndication and .rss, .xml, or .rdf files for the feeds
  16. social software: a range of tools which facilitate social networking, typically personal web pages including bios, photos, interests, audio and video, links to friends, messages from friends, and personal networks; often referred to as Web 2.0 to include a broad range of tools such as blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds
  17. external access: capability for users outside of a company’s firewall to have access to selected web sites and team spaces to allow collaboration with retirees, partners, and customers who would otherwise be blocked from the company’s internal network – requires technical, security, and legal elements
  18. workflow applications: software which connects and sequences different applications, components, and people, all of which must be involved in the processing of data to complete an instance of a process
  19. process automation applications: tools which automate previously manual processes, such as the production of proposals, creation of presentations, or the design of products
  20. e-learning: tools which enable the delivery and tracking of online training courses
  21. subscription management: tools which allow content providers to reach subscribers on an opt-in basis, and subscribers to sign up to receive periodicals and other communications based on their interests
  22. incentive points tracking: systems for awarding and tracking points for desired knowledge management behaviors, both automatically as triggered by events and manually through forms entry
  23. survey and metrics reporting automation: systems for conducting, collecting, and publishing survey data; and systems for collecting, distributing, and publishing data on key performance metrics