Theknowledgecore's Blog

Complexity and Knowledge Management Navigators…

Why don’t we ‘innovate’? Good question

This came from the IC Knowledge Forum and I thought the question and response was worth sharing.  I’ve had a few of these types of questions come through, where the locus of the problem seems to be centred on the ‘how’ do we do this and ‘why’ aren’t we doing it. [I’ll build the discussion on this further over the next couple of blog entries]

Replies to This Discussion

Mike Healy Permalink Reply by Mike Healy 1 hour ago
HI David,

I am just up the road from you in Aberdeen.

Knowledge management is of great interest to me. Your papers seem to suggest knowledge is elusive and canot iteslf be captured, but we can see antecedents to the creating of knowledge and the real measure of our knowledge is in the innovations ( new stuff) we produce…..I hope I have that right.

I think most people like me who are interested in how we collect and apply knowledge to the benefit of the business are still looking for the “how to “. Do you have something specific on that? I am wondering is this the same question as “how do we make employees more innovative?” since the measure of knowledge management is the new stuff we produce??


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David Griffiths Permalink Reply by David Griffiths 1 second ago
Hi Mike,

Aberdeen…just proves that this is a small world! Good question by the way…

This is something I tackled in an early paper. I demonstrated through a large meta-analysis that too much of the KM modelling literature speaks to aspects of KM ‘know what’ but little addresses KM ‘know how’ – SECI is a really good example of this. In response I developed the K-Core, a strategic management PIAT (Participatory Integrated Assessment Tool) that examines the interconnected human and technology processes that combine to form KM. Through it I can not only bring visibility to the knowledge footprint of an organisation, but I can also find the blockages within the process flows that inhibit aspects of KM, such as innovation. In doing so I can transform the ‘what’ into a solution through ‘how’. This is achieved by using a 500 point evidence based maturity tool that models and cross-references KM process to signpost drivers for organisational market value – based on a generic IC value taxonomy (I’m outlining these drivers in my next blog).

To explain a little further…

I have two new case studies coming out in the next month or so that detail the K-Core enquiry process and some of the inner workings of the tool. To give you a flavour I looked at innovation linked to an organisational strategy requirement for improved service to clients within a pharmaceutical MNC. The sector is highly competitive and the need for innovation within their service offerings was core to their value proposition. The problem was that strategically the message was being heard, but innovative practice was dormant within the organisation. It’s difficult distil the causal roots of the issue in short response, but part of the reason was this: The organisation operated as a Machine Bureaucracy and key aspects of knowledge acquisition, storage and sharing were missing from Standard Operating Procedures. Therefore staff, who were used to direction, were not capturing and expanding upon valuable knowledge solely because they weren’t told to. Furthermore it wasn’t reflected in their job description, rewards structure or appraisal process. So, cutting a long story short, looking at human process under the lens of the organisational typology, there was no motivation to innovate. Couple this with a communication issue linked with the strategic plan, with key aspects of strategy failing to make it into departmental business goals, and you start to get an idea of why innovation was stagnating.

The tool I’ve created provides a maturity model that shows the strengths and weaknesses of organisational technology/human processes. It is driven by the need to address the ‘know how’ issue that seems to breed dissatisfaction within our field. The organisation concerned received Key Recommendations for improvement along with an implementation framework and a report on their knowledge footprint. Giving them ‘know-what’ and the ‘know-how’ to put it right.

More case studies of this process being used in Europe and Asia will be coming out as the year progresses. So in a long winded way I guess that I’m trying to say that, yes, I have found a way to address the issue of ‘why don’t we innovate’. I’m actually presenting a workshop on this at KM Asia later this year and also at KM forums in Australia – presentations etc. will be available in November.

[Just another day and another point of view… It’s free, so take it for what it’s worth]

So, what do you think?

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This entry was posted on May 20, 2010 by in Organisational Development.
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