Knowledge management is one of the most essential components of an organization’s success. That’s because without knowledge management, organizations will experience a difficult, if not impossible, time problem-solving, progressing, and optimizing because they will not be able to accurately capture and share the knowledge that each member of the team possesses.
Knowledge management is defined as the process of creating, capturing, storing, sharing, using, and managing important information in an organization. When knowledge management isn’t done correctly, organizations become inefficient and unable to raise the level of expertise of their employees and the company as a whole.
With practical knowledge management tools in place, organizations can successfully spread information to improve the efficiency of their practices into the future. In addition, knowledge management practices increase the value and effectiveness of an organization by allowing important information to be available to the right people at the right time.
There are two types of knowledge that play a vital role in the success of an organization:
- Implicit knowledge: The combination of ideas, skills, experiences, and abilities that have been learned over time (also referred to as tacit knowledge).
- Explicit knowledge: Documented information, such as research reports, documents, handbooks, and datasheets, which are easily stored, categorized, and shared.
Think of these two categories of knowledge in terms of baking. The internet, the recipe you’re following, and the notes you’ve taken are examples of explicit knowledge. Your implicit or tacit knowledge includes your experience as a baker and the associated baking techniques or skills you’ve learned in the past through trial and error. This implicit knowledge is the education you’ve acquired from “learning by doing”.
Both implicit and explicit knowledge play a vital role in the successful knowledge management of an organization. However, without the proper tools to capture, store, and share this knowledge, it can easily be lost and forgotten. When knowledge and information are lost, organizations suffer.
Knowledge management at organizations can be split into three main areas:
- Accumulating knowledge or capturing knowledge.
- Storing knowledge.
- Sharing knowledge or knowledge transfer.
By accumulating and storing an organization’s knowledge, company leaders can understand and utilize the information that has made their organization successful in the past. Furthermore, when organizations share this information across teams and departments, employees can continuously iterate on old processes to improve their performance or create better and newer strategies.
Why is knowledge management important for organizations?
If you consider an organization to be a living, breathing organism, it’s easy to understand why knowledge management is essential to a company’s health, efficiency, and lifespan. Because proper knowledge management enhances decision-making abilities, employees can make quicker and more informed decisions that will benefit the entire company.
When knowledge management techniques are successfully implemented, decisions are based on stored knowledge that is easily accessible to the entire workforce. These decisions are what drive an organization forward by increasing innovation, improving customer service, decreasing employee turnover, and so much more.
As the marketplace becomes increasingly competitive, storing, categorizing, and managing knowledge becomes even more vital. Organizations can stay ahead of the curve and their competitors by investing in proper knowledge management tools. In addition, the quicker you can respond to issues and problem-solve, the faster innovation can occur within an organization.
There are many benefits of knowledge management, including:
- Better communication
- Improved organization
- Improved products and services
- Faster problem-solving
- Increased collective intellectual capital
- Improved profitability
- Better decision-making
- Sharing expertise more easily
- Supported employee development and growth
- Increased innovation
- Improved business processes
Knowledge management can help you share information across your organization
Knowledge management isn’t just a shared library of documents. It’s a way to actively share information and processes with your team, colleagues, organization, and audiences. When knowledge is easily accessible across an organization’s board, they can expect to experience the benefits listed above and more. In order to implement a practical knowledge management system at your organization, you’ll need to cultivate an environment that makes it possible and easy. You can start with these five strategies to help you share knowledge in the workplace:
1. Reward and recognize knowledge sharing.
Let’s face it – positive reinforcement works in all aspects of life. One of the best ways to encourage proper knowledge management techniques within your organization is to recognize when it is being accomplished and reward the employees who are succeeding. This will motivate other employees who may have been slower to jump on the bandwagon.
Consider offering small bonuses or gifts at the end of the year, quarter, or other established time period for employees who actively aid in your organization’s knowledge management efforts. Attaching an incentive to a task can improve company morale and innovation.
2. Lead by example.
If the higher-ups at a company don’t practice using knowledge management tools or sharing systems, it will be almost impossible for the rest of the organization to follow suit. It’s vital that you lead by example to show that it’s equally important for your staff to do, too.
Knowledge-sharing activities should start with senior members of your organization’s staff. The more they’re involved with the process, the easier it will be for their knowledge to be documented and passed down to juniors and newcomers.
3. Supply and use knowledge sharing tools.
Knowledge management tools are essential to the success of your data and information storing and sharing. When done correctly, knowledge sharing should be seamless, whether your employees are in-office or remote.
MindManager® is a software tool that enables you and your team to create, share, and gain knowledge. It includes a wide array of customizable brainstorming, productivity, project planning, and process, task and workflow templates to help you organize and keep track of valuable company data and key knowledge items. Additionally, the software can help facilitate communication with team members and project stakeholders to improve knowledge management.
4. Manage communications between employees.
Effective communication amongst employees and departments is vital for an organization to succeed. You will likely see your company struggle if there are barriers to sharing information between employees. Clear and effective communication is also the key to a successful knowledge management program. When communication is encouraged, knowledge sharing is effective.
5. Cultivate a knowledge sharing environment.
The goal with knowledge sharing and management is that it’s so “normal” and ingrained at an organization that it’s second nature for everyone in the company. Consider including different activities in your staff’s tasks that increase collaboration and sharing key learnings amongst and across various teams. In addition, when your employees are well acquainted with each other’s roles and responsibilities, knowledge sharing comes more naturally.
How to use MindManager for collaborative knowledge management
MindManager simplifies information and knowledge management within an organization. Mind mapping and data visualization software makes it easy for shared knowledge and valuable information to stay organized and ensure that everything is up-to-date and available at a central location at any time. This accessibility improves understanding and communication within an organization significantly.
MindManager supplies users with dozens of well-organized visual representations of information and how it is all connected. With a mind map or other type of chart, users can navigate shared information quickly and efficiently, even in different business systems and processes, using MindManager’s fast, easy, and flexible structuring capabilities.
Other ways users can use MindManager for collaborative knowledge management include:
- Incorporating images, hyperlinks, detailed text notes, and web content so that information is never lost and can be recorded to show their relationship to one another.
- Enabling lively thought and the effective structuring of information to stay organized and on track as a group.
- Facilitating better understanding and transparent communication for the long term.
- Supporting communication using visual representations, such as charts and diagrams.
MindManager as a knowledge management workspace
MindManager can help your team manage organizational knowledge by using any of the pre-built visual diagrams to map out workflow processes, internal methodologies and techniques, essential references and resources, and even future plans. Visual diagrams help teams capture and manage internal knowledge, so that productivity and information are not lost.
MindManager features a wide range of customizable visual diagram templates that teams use to help streamline their internal processes and improve knowledge management.
Not to mention, MindManager’s co-editing feature simplifies team collaboration, enabling team members to contribute to workflow process maps and similar internal knowledge captures in real time, regardless of their physical location.
MindManager also enables teams to aggregate all their important information into one centralized document or location by allowing them to link their visual diagrams to websites, documents, and more. MindManager can also integrate and sync data from Outlook and SharePoint, and users can co-edit using SharePoint, OneDrive, and Microsoft teams.
Try MindManager today to see how you can better streamline the process of capturing knowledge, information, and key data in your organization.
Learn more about knowledge management with our free e-book or free webinar!