We all know how much time, effort and money is expended by organisations in creating new knowledge and experiences. These
do not have to always be cutting edge information or knowledge but could be just something very routine e.g., process maps, flow charts, risk logs. Each such activity is often repeated a number of times in organisations as more and more of the workforce keeps grappling with same or similar problems. We end up re-inventing from scratch in a number of cases. This causes a genuine waste.
A lot of organisations kicked off a Knowledge Management initiative of some kind in the mid-90’s when it became fashionable to talk about. However, even after so many years, we see organisation after organisation creating this waste by not managing its knowledge very well.
Also, in the same period most medium to large organisations have implemented some sort of IT based knowledge management solution, but fall short of putting processes in place to capture and reuse all the knowledge being created. Of course, not everything created will be recyclable but a good proportion will be even if in many instances such knowledge is used to rule out certain hypotheses the organisation may be interested in.
Quite often such problems point to the lack of a robust Documents and Records Management procedure in the organisation. Such procedures do not need as much investment as they need discipline. But, the discipline is difficult to enforce in the absence of a procedure. All this becomes even more challenging with people moving roles and organisations.
None of this needs massive innovation or technology investment but just simple processes. These could even be done under the umbrella of implementing a Quality Management System (QMS) based on ISO9001 or something equivalent. It is perhaps keeping this in mind that the new ISO9001:2015 Standard puts a lot of emaphasis on Documented Information and specifically Knowledge Management in Clause 7.1.6.
In today’s time, when we are trying to be as efficient as possible, continuing to waste organisational knowledge is something we cannot afford.