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Moving knowledge across borders

FDImagazineIn a few latest posts in our portal, an ongoing discussion takes place on the effects of an open networking – sharing environment on innovation. The process of sharing intellectual capital can benefit organisations in many ways but there are hurdles of trust and culture to overcome first. Sandra Higgison, on one of her articles on FDI magazine analyzed those potential issues that each company or organization will face during this quest. From public to private sectors, and small and medium-sized enterprises to multinationals, organisations are using knowledge management (KM) programmes to meet business goals. These programmes create environments that facilitate the exchange and reuse of knowledge, and connect people to people, and people to information.

In her article, she elaborates on the tangible impact, on areas as diverse as client satisfaction and loyalty, innovation, profitability, employee motivation, and risk management, that each organization has by pulling together and sharing the full weight of their knowledge and intellectual capital with employees (and often partners and clients).

In the beginning of KM, during the 1990s, most of the IT solutions were ignoring the crucial fact that KM is a people issue and that a system cannot merely suck knowledge out of employees, millions of pounds have been wasted on IT-based KM programmes. Higgison though argues that the key success factor for KM systems is to stay positive for IT solutions but have in back of your mind that there are three factors that have to be connected and work together people, knowledge sharing processes and IT infrastructure.

By referring to a real case study Higgison, describes how the scientific world through a series of communities that represent distributed virtual teams of people working on similar problems, on an online application provided solutions to real problems. There are 19 key communities that host 98 special interest groups in areas such as geophysics, well engineering and IT. They are global, involving 5000 or so specialists in more than 85 countries, who are largely self governing and have network tools to interact effectively. Members participate in archived discussion forums and have access to their community’s knowledge repositories.

In her article she is describing how better efficiency can be achieved in such KM tools , how cultural issues can be tackled and eventually that Knowledge management as its self is a timely investment.

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