In the early 2000s, the business world was filled with excitement over the potential for a field known as “Knowledge Management.” Riding the tide of expectation, many software companies invested vast resources to develop sophisticated solutions. In the end, many of these initiatives didn’t pan out—the transmission of something as fluid and unstructured as knowledge proved more challenging than many thought. But today, with innovative new knowledge-sharing solutions like those proposed by Sociabble, that potential can finally be realized.
But first, what is Knowledge Management?
At its essence, Knowledge Management, or “KM” is the process by which one can create, share, and manage the collective knowledge of an organization. It began as a discipline in the early 1990s, and is often applied to the realms of business administration, information systems, and other general information sciences. According to most KM experts, there are two principal kinds of knowledge that can be categorized and accessed: Tacit Knowledge and Explicit Knowledge.
Explicit Knowledge is generally codified and somewhat easier to transmit. The information contained in manuals, procedures, and documents could be described as explicit. I.e. if you want to assemble an Ikea bed, you can read the manual and receive the instructions as Explicit Knowledge. If you need the summary of last year’s budget report via an Excel chart, that’s Explicit Knowledge.
Tacit Knowledge, however, is far more difficult to store and transmit to another person. How to speak a foreign language, how to play an instrument, how to lead an effective marketing campaign from start to finish—this kind of knowledge is generally gained from a long exposure and interaction with multiple sources. It’s difficult to transmit simply from a manual or a book.
Knowledge Management never reached its full potential.
Despite the initial enthusiasm and optimism about Knowledge Management, the science never fully developed to the point that many of its early thought leaders in the business world hoped. Formalizing and classifying knowledge, making it explicit and easy to digest, proved more of a challenge than most anticipated. Because most knowledge is actually stored in the heads of busy people, it isn’t easy to get them to formalize and organize their own information. And even in the rare instances where that knowledge was transmitted to a database, it was just as difficult to get people to come to the KM platform to actually read it. And with knowledge moving faster than ever thanks to the internet, much of what was recorded was destined to become obsolete rather quickly. It just didn’t work.
So what went wrong? And how can we do better?
At Sociabble, we believe one of the reasons these initial approaches to Knowledge Management didn’t yield the anticipated results was because the true nature of knowledge was not taken into account. The approach was too processed, too formalized. The fact is, knowledge is not something to capture, but rather share through experiences. It is not the knowledge itself, but rather the process of sharing that needs to be codified and refined. If quick and simple ways of sharing knowledge within an organization are perfected, or even outside the organization for that matter, in an accessible human way, then the sharing of knowledge becomes second-nature. No, you’re never going to put all of the vastness of our collective experiences into a database. But if a structure exists that allows employees to connect and share their experiences in a simple way, then knowledge transmission will occur.
Is there a way to make Knowledge Management work? We think so.
The key to making Knowledge Management actually function within and outside of an organization is a question of curation and creation. First, a fast and simple way is needed for individuals to curate relevant content, and for them to add on their personal knowledge to it. Second, an easy way is also needed for them to create “instantaneous,” authentic content for sharing, with a special emphasis on pictures, videos, short interviews, podcasts, etc. All of this can provide a snapshot of knowledge that is not obsolete. This process duplicates the natural method by which tacit knowledge is usually shared—though interpersonal interaction. This knowledge needs to be easy to access, curated by relevant topic, dynamic, and interactive. This, more so than any static database, is what will allow it to be shared in an online community.
Sociabble creates a system of Knowledge Management that’s actually effective.
Sociabble is best known as a platform for employee communication and employee advocacy. But with the technological capabilities it employs to accomplish this, it also serves as a powerful tool for Knowledge Management. Essentially, it has features that accomplish the points described above: it provides an easy, fast way for employees to create authentic content, curate it, and share it in multi-media forms with their peers. Specifically, Sociabble offers:
Themed channels and a simple but sophisticated search tool make categorizing content and knowledge easy and instantly retrievable.
Making new content is easy via text, photos, or videos, and is instantly accessible for the frontline workers who often possess some of the most crucial tacit knowledge.
It’s easy to determine who sees content and who does not, with targeting features that give admins total sharing power within an organization.
Content can be activated as shareable if it makes sense for Employee Advocacy or Social Selling purposes, showcasing the expertise of employees.
The level of understanding and propagation of content can be determined with a host of easy-to-build polls, quizzes, and other gamification features.
Our record of helping companies speaks for itself.
To date, Sociabble has been used as an employee communication tool in over 80 countries around the world, by industry leaders like Walt Disney, Coca-Cola, L’Oreal, BNP Paribas, Group Renault, and many others. We provide both the technology and the methodology to help businesses manage their communications and their content effectively and seamlessly.
To learn more about how Sociabble can help your company, just click here for a free demo.