How to practice KM?

Where do you start in applying KM?

Some organizations start with small KM initiatives with likely positive impacts based on other organization’s experiences; thus the most popular KM initiatives are: exchange of best practices, set up of an intranet and organizing a CoP. Other organizations start systematically by conducting a KM audit or assessment as input to designing a KM system.

Is KM better implemented bottoms-up or top-down?

KM is basically an organizational perspective with organizational applications therefore it is better started top-down, that is, with resource as well as policy support from the top (=executive sponsorship). It can also be started from the upper-middle management provided there is support from the top. However, because KM basically involves people, it is difficult to sustain if KM does not successfully engage and recruit the interest and participation from the rank and file.

What are the difficulties or challenges of KM?

KM involves a new and different management perspective, and requires understanding of new concepts and terminologies. The more common managerial mindset is focused on ICT. ICT is a good starting point but the shift from ICT to KM among managers’ mindsets can be slow, or worse, some may wrongly think that KM is the same as ICT/information management.

What will ensure the success of KM in an organization?

Many factors can ensure success of KM in an organization. Firstly, technical appreciation, policy and budget support, and personal encouragement from top managers are important. Training of middle-level managers is needed for the planning and execution of KM initiatives to be successful. Early successes, no matter how small, that demonstrate that KM is beneficial and doable can reinforce the sustainability of a KM initiative. The presence and recruitment of internal “KM champions” from upper managerial levels can also help.