Knowledge Management – as an increasingly important success factor

When I introduced my former company’s CTO as being in charge of Knowledge Management to my shareholders and advisory board, I instantly knew, that this was something new and suspect to them. The term as such had been around in literature already 10 years by then, but as a role in an organization totally unrecognized yet. Although we had been building our company quite dynamically on the basis of human capital mostly developed out of our own middle.

A benchmark in my visions for an excellent knowledge management organization had always been the Austrian company AVL (List). For an internationalizing special solution provider I still consider efficient knowledge management a key towards global customer and therefore also key employees’ satisfaction. Nothing makes one’s staff prouder of the company than its cumulated experience being helpful to his local customers, faster than competitors can even read and interpret the RFQ’s list of duty! – but still companies will try to protect their secrets by not sharing with their members in the satellite organization units – taking the biggest risk of losing their talents there, still knowledgeable enough to empower local competitors.

However, these were just yesterday’s aspects to the subject matter. But tomorrow’s criteria are moving from sharing upstream to capturing and developing new knowledge – more and more under employment of Artificial Intelligence. So an even broader involvement from all members of or collaborators to an organization is required, contributing and structuring inputs and making use of it in applications. But who has the competence at management board level to make sure all employees get properly empowered? Is it a CIO or CTO or CSO’s responsibility? What role does HR play, actually in charge of the company’s Human Capital’s quality and job satisfaction index? Is the CEO committed to it? Does he have the boards’ backup?

Will we be able to recruit capabilities required for an effective knowledge management? Actually I think, where ever this will be easiest, knowledge worker organizations will settle their centers of gravity, just like many software houses settled in one way or the other in India a couple of decades ago. This is a global contest of education systems, where traditions will play less and less role. Head start by locally cumulated knowledge will fade and digitalization make published research results properly knowledge managed omnipresent around the world. The race for market positions will be won by learning pace of the market participants.    And the ones able to co-learn with and from others will be the fastest – providing they use organized knowledge management processes and documentations.

Continuous Innovation is the most vital increment of Eco-Social Market Economy and starts from knowledge accrual by technologies’ compilation and understanding of surrounding conditions. Is that taught anywhere in our schools or universities? Isn’t cyberification often perverted to a data overkill, burying real core information? And the less educated data users and generators will be around, the worse the search for usable information will get. And this is a global contest!

Europe has become very bureaucratic and dogmatic in many education sectors, totally incoherent to the ubiquity of minds and talents of all kinds, evolutionizing beyond any current state of knowledge, enticed by an ambience for sporty contest of the brightest heads. And if your company would like to employ them, how will you manage their productivity of creativity to contribute towards society?

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