1993 was an interesting year. Bill Clinton became president of the US. Jurassic Park made dinosaur obsessives of us all, and the term knowledge management went public at a conference in Boston. Cue a new world order!
But what did knowledge management mean back then? Why was it such as a big deal? More importantly, what has KM evolved into?
Put on your checked shirt and your Doctor Martens: we’re travelling back in time to the early 90s!
What are the Origins of Knowledge Management?
KM was conceived after the invention of the wheel, but before the arrival of the slick LMSs.
Like a lot of business concepts that originated in the 90s, KM stemmed from the widespread use of the Internet.
The management community recognised the sudden opportunity organisations had to share knowledge worldwide. This started a process which collated and dispensed knowledge across organisations. Naturally, this intranet system saved companies a lot of time and money.
The original aim was simply to share information about your company, so all your colleagues could view it. The advances in communications technology furthered the idea of a knowledge sharing culture. This is something we believe in at Growth Engineering. We’re such big fans of social learning!
After the near-mythical Boston conference of ’93, legend has it that in ’94, business guru Tom Davenport gave the first description of KM:
“Knowledge management is the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge”.
This still stands as the definitive one-line definition. For a more in-depth explanation, we’ll have to fast forward four years to 1998. The Gartner Group crafted a more detailed definition of Knowledge Management:
“Knowledge management is a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an enterprise’s information assets. These assets may include databases, documents, policies, procedures, and previously un-captured expertise and experience in individual workers”.
This has become the go-to explanation of what knowledge management is.
It condenses the learning journey by putting all the materials in one place.
What Content is Shared via Knowledge Management?
Building a knowledge management organisation is easy. KM oversees the distribution of a variety of content and assets including:
- Procedures (compliance)
- Expertise, advice and the sharing of workers general experience
How LMSs Make Knowledge Management Easier:
It started with internal intranet systems, but their KM capabilities were limited. These were followed by legacy LMSs which were a step in the right direction with more knowledge sharing functionality, but it wasn’t until the arrival of the NextGen LMS that knowledge management became an achievable goal for every company.
Growth Engineering’s Academy LMS is designed to engage your learners. With it, you can foster a knowledge-sharing culture. Here’s how:
Weaving a narrative into your learning is a fantastic way to distribute your company knowledge. Famed Psychologist Jerome Bruner’s research suggested that facts are 20 times more likely to be memorised if they’re part of a narrative.
Growth Engineering do this via awesome downloadable learning comics such as ‘Night of the Learning Dead’.
A successful knowledge management strategy requires a knowledge sharing culture. This means you need social functionality on your LMS. This might include:
- News Feeds
- Live Chats
- Custom Discussion Groups
- Social Media Integration
- and much more!
Knowledge management has come a long way since the heady days of the early 1990s Intranet systems. The goal is still the same: to capture, distribute and use knowledge.
Nowadays the process of doing so is much slicker. We have social learning and narrative to make it a smoother ride!