Saturday, October 3, 2015

Knowledge Management: To kill re-invention, improve quality and promote innovation

How does Knowledge Management complement Quality - is the core question of discussion for the ASQ bloggers, this month. Arun Hariharan, founder of The CPi Coach is the guest author of this thought provoking blog post focused on knowledge management.

In the blog post, Arun makes an interesting comment on Knowledge Management (KM) that it only kills re-invention and not innovation.  He says, KM must be available in an organized fashion to facilitate further knowledge creation within the organization and re-use of existing knowledge promotes innovation.  Modern companies carry out several KM initiatives for generating innovative ideas from employees.    These KM programs help institutionalize best practices and standardize business processes.   Excellence models such as Baldrige and EFQM highly value KM.  The synergy between KM and Quality is also clearly brought out as part of the blog post.

KM transformation will help in the improvement of quality of processes with in the organization and the products and services it offers to customers.  Modern organizations have started to reimagine their workplaces to institutionalize 'social' knowledge management as customers expect high quality across all aspects of products and services.

I have attempted below to discuss some recent trends that is helping organizations to transform knowledge management.

Many of the top organizations have created an enterprise social platform to enable collaboration, foster innovation and ideation and, subsequently, integrating them to business goals and objectives. True collaboration can be achieved only by breaking hierarchies and silos within the organization. Thus, creation of a flat organization structure leveraging social is a best solution option.  This type of social system actively promotes collaboration to create, dissipate and enable consumption of knowledge amongst various stakeholders.

To motivate employees and ensure regular participation, the collaboration platform is integrated with a gamification set up.  The real value of collaboration is achieved only when employees are intrinsically motivated and they compete to collaborate.   A carefully crafted gamification system comprising of badges, points and leaderboards is implemented.

Continuing the social journey, organizations have attempted to reduce top-down communication and rather promote multi-directional conversations.  When 2 parties within the organization are interacting, many others are directly listening and indirectly consuming the knowledge dissipated from these conversations.  This is the true power of an enterprise social platform that enables creation of an open culture for KM and is important for the next generation employees comprising of Gen Y, millennial and baby boomers.  

Crowdsourcing, an approach to resolve complex problems, is another interesting flavor of KM adopted by  modern organizations.  By leveraging a million minds - internal and external to the enterprise, organizations extract the best knowledge in an efficient manner.  The extracted knowledge is highly valuable and produces high quality solutions for the large and complex problems.

We can observe that KM is in the correct transformation path to address the needs of tomorrow's modern organizations and, in turn, enable them to deliver high quality products and services.

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