As always happens, there comes a time when something needs to change, in life as in work or in society. Many transformations are due to, driven or simply provoked by a change in the knowledge of the individual or, more likely, of the social group to which he belongs and to the ways in which this knowledge is created, managed, valued and transmitted. The discipline that goes by the name of knowledgemanagement it does exactly that: knowledge management.
Before going on, however, I think it is useful to recall the definition of knowledge. In this regard, I use the Treccani vocabulary and, extracting the part of my interest, I can say that by knowledge we mean:
- the act of getting to know a person, of learning about a thing;
- knowing, as the presence in the intellect of a notion, as already acquired knowledge. In particular, the theory of knowledge, also known as epistemology, a branch of philosophy that investigates the values and limits of the faculty of knowing.
Having clarified the meaning of knowledge, let's try to take a step forward towards a very important but not well known discipline, "knowledge management" or, in Italian, the management or governance of knowledge.
As it is easy to understand, I do not intend to speak of knowledge in its generality nor of the learning of the single individual but of how knowledge affects an organization and how an organization can make the best use of it.
To help me in this path of knowledge... of knowledge, I will use and refer from time to time to an interesting study: "Knowledge Management: comparing theory and practice", by M. Bonifacio, P. Bouquet and PF Camussone, a study that you can download from the internet by following the link at the end of the article.
Knowledge has always been important, above all as a means to achieve one's goals, often and willingly to help in making decisions. This is why the first libraries were born in antiquity, as places where knowledge was enclosed, the knowledge of centuries or millennia of human experiences. The librarian was the one who helped "navigate" this knowledge, as he was able to quickly locate what was needed.
The growth in complexity of human society means that there is an increasing need to manage the knowledge that is created. Over time, technology has begun to be used to enhance and extend human cognitive abilities and manage knowledge.
L'Information Technology, in particular, has been providing for decades some tools that can increase the capabilities of creating, mapping, coding and transferring knowledge.
Let's try to figure out how
The first step is to create knowledge, and by that I mean knowledge that is useful to others, perhaps those who work in the same organization or company. Knowledge in library books is useless if no one can read the contents or if the library is closed to the public.
"Collaborative tools" can be used to maximize knowledge creation. Among collaborative tools it is appropriate to mention a few because they are better known, such as forums, blogs, social networks, shared work spaces and so on. The main function of this kind of tools is to host content (texts, documents, photos, cards, videos...) and facilitate interactions between participants in the same group by allowing them to provide opinions, evaluations, insert annotations, to increase knowledge on a particular topic.
As you can imagine, knowledge alone is useless if you can't find it quickly or find it when you need it. For this purpose, files and classification methods were created in the past, which are also necessary today, despite the help of technology. Indeed, IT provides systems of information retrieval and text mining.
With information retrieval means the activity that allows you to find information recorded or stored on IT devices such as document databases. To be clear, when querying a database through a Query activities are carried out information retrieval.
The main task of a system text mining or data mining instead it is to identify hidden meanings within seemingly unrelated data. To do this, more or less specialized artificial intelligence systems are used.
If you belong to the same organization, it is necessary that the knowledge produced, for example reports relating to participation in a work group or a research paper, is disseminated or made available at least within the group to which you belong. Document management and publishing systems can be used to disseminate knowledge. The former allow you to organize digital documents in archives, allowing their dissemination, while the latter are systems that are used to publish information or articles on portals or websites.
To organize knowledge it is necessary to codify it and to do this we use ontologies and representation languages. An ontology describes how different schemas are combined to create a data structure that contains all the important entities in a given domain. Representation languages are used to represent large amounts of data in an organized way.
IT also provides other support, such as expanding memory capacity, through Repository and systems knowledge base.
Each organization is different, like people, and probably has different purposes and working methods calibrated for the purpose to be achieved and for its personnel, for this reason it is not possible to say a priori what is needed to improve knowledge of an organization.
Only deep knowledge of the organization itself and its internal processes, objectives, personnel at all levels, can allow us to understand which methods and tools are useful for increasing knowledge or an aspect of it.
Ultimately, despite technological developments, the most important tool of an organization is always man. This is why it is necessary to ensure that personnel always feel involved in the processes relating to knowledge of the organization and participate in them.
To learn more:
- knowledge in vocabulary - Treccani
- Collaboration and knowledge: challenging objectives for HR departments - Human and non-human resources (runu.it)