“When markets shift, technologies proliferate, competitors multiply, and products become obsolete almost overnight. Successful companies are those that consistently create new knowledge, disseminate it widely throughout the organization, and quickly embody it in new technologies and products. These activities define the “knowledge-creating” company, whose sole business is continuous innovation.”
-"The Knowledge Creating Company" Nonaka, Ikujiro; Takeuchi, Hirotaka, Oxford University Press
On its own knowledge has limited value. Employees have currently access to the largest ever amount of information: Wikis, team sites, chats, intranets, best practices, big data, analysis tools. With such vast knowledge overload, innovative thoughts can easily drown under chatter noise.
Let me explain through an example. During the research phase of a new medicament, a molecular physicist has been charged with creating a precise molecule. He has the set of skills and knowledge to do this. He also is in possession of a valuable asset, his experiences and know-how. Based on this, he might start to wonder if a change in the composition could positively affect the lab results in patients. He is not a biologist and therefore he is missing a few pieces of the puzzle. Without interaction with other employees, his initial thought would simply fade away.
Now, sharing tacit knowledge to innovate is nothing new. No employee is an island and knowledge management has been developing this concept further through the definition of communities of practice, groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting regularly. From unstructured informal chats and team meetings to the intranet and enterprise social collaboration, knowledge management has been focusing on creating these communities by allowing access to one form or another of sharing forums.
In our example, our molecular physicist would start by sharing his thoughts with his research team through their team project planning tool. Alternatively, he could decide to go to the corporate intranet and try finding documentation on the subject.
However, his team colleagues might lack the knowledge to support him further and the probability of finding any supporting documentation in a corporate wiki is slim as he is developing a brand-new line of thought.
He might consider posting a question on the social chatter tool and hope for the best. He will probably get answers from many people. Many will be wrong and might discourage him. Some might be right but our physicist would have a difficult time separating right from wrong among all the chatter.
Providing a sharing place, even if it is easy to use and allows for social interaction is of no use if the people sharing thoughts and innovation are not the right ones. Or, if the place is so crowded and loud that identifying the right partner becomes impossible.
What if he could find the perfect biologist and lab analysis designer to bring his germinal innovative thought to the next level?
What if the three of them access to a corporate memory that holds any thoughts and know-how to support their innovative process?
What if this was done automatically, without any need for intervention, moderation, profiling or user management?
What if it was scalable to the whole organization and could be implement seamlessly into their existing work environment?
Can you imagine the potential for innovation?
Stop imagining and contact us to experience how artificial intelligence can help your organization transform into a knowledge creating company.