Knowledge Management (KnMa)
What is Knowledge Management?
Unfortunately, there's no universal definition of KnMa, just as there's no agreement as to what constitutes knowledge in the first place. For this reason, it's best to think of KnMa in the broadest context. Succinctly put, KnMa is the process through which organizations generate value from their intellectual and knowledge-based assets. Most often, generating value from such assets involves sharing them among employees, departments and even with other companies in an effort to devise best practices. It's important to note that the definition says nothing about technology; while KnMa is often facilitated by IT, technology by itself is not KnMa.
Think of a golf caddie as a simplified example of a knowledge worker. Good caddies do more than carry clubs and track down wayward balls. When asked, a good caddie will give advice to golfers, such as, "The wind makes the ninth hole play 15 yards longer." Accurate advice may lead to a bigger tip at the end of the day. On the flip side, the golfer — having derived a benefit from the caddie's advice — may be more likely to play that course again. If a good caddie is willing to share what he knows with other caddies, then they all may eventually earn bigger tips. How would KM work to make this happen? The caddie master may decide to reward caddies for sharing their tips by offering them credits for pro shop merchandise. Once the best advice is collected, the course manager would publish the information in notebooks (or make it available on PDAs), and distribute them to all the caddies. The end result of a well-designed KM program is that everyone wins. In this case, caddies get bigger tips and deals on merchandise, golfers play better because they benefit from the collective experience of caddies, and the course owners win because better scores lead to more repeat business.
(after: http://www.cio.com/research/knowledge/edit/kmabcs.html [03-03-2003] )