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Knowledge Mapping Approach & Methodology

In the current unstable and recessionary environment managers are continually searching for creative new approaches and tools to improve their organization’s productivity and profitability. One approach that has proved successful and favored by many leading companies is exploiting and leveraging previously unusable knowledge and actionable information often hidden in an array of systems, activities, documents and people through-out the organization. The approach is usually referred to as knowledge mapping.

Knowledge mapping typically involves identifying, building, and making visible a knowledge store that may exist either exclusively in some form or alternatively in people’s heads. A knowledge map can also be defined as a pointer to both tacit knowledge and explicit (codified) information that identifies the value and relationship among knowledge stores, people and social dynamics. Fundamentally in a business context, a knowledge map identifies an enterprise’s strategic and tactical knowledge asset base, creates and tags with meta data, and provides pointers to precise locations within internal and external  sources.

A properly constructed knowledge map is a key corporate underpinning and driver in establishing knowledge commonality across multiple core processes and business units, customers and partners. Knowledge maps present a précis of: who has what mission-critical competencies, expertise, and know-how;  where knowledge is located and managed and; how knowledge is employed for value, transferred and enriched.

Knowledge mapping typically provides answers to the following:

  • What knowledge and actionable information is necessary to support effective, efficient, and flexible transactional processing and key decision making?
  • What is the media and format of the required knowledge and actionable information and is it easily accessed and transferred?
  • What is the location of required knowledge and information?

Knowledge Mapping Essentials

Knowledge maps include codified knowledge and actionable information and tacit knowledge elicited from employees based upon their work activities, social experiences and insights. Knowledge maps are aligned with the organization’s business strategies and are created in customized formats that are easy to understand and interpret by all intended users. A key principle of KM is that all knowledge considered as a ‘value’ must align with, enrich and support process improvement.

A knowledge mapping exercise includes identification of an organization’s knowledge and actionable information artitecture and infrastructure with the below knowledge descriptors:

EXPLICIT TACIT
Subject Expertise
Purpose Skills
Location Experience
Format Location
Stewardship Accessibility
Users Contact Address
Access Rights Relationships

Star Knowledge Approach

Star Knowledge helps organizations  structure, set-up, and carry out successful knowledge mapping exercises guided by the Knowledge Compass Knowledge Mapping Framework and their time tested methodology and supported with a powerful semantic mapping tool.

Key knowledge mapping exercise tasks include:

  • Conduct SWOT Analysis: Identify and assess the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats associated of the organization’s current knowledge handling activities
  • Document SWOT outcome actions and plans to exploit and leverage strengths and opportunities and mitigate weaknesses and threats within knowledge-handling activities
  • Identify knowledge and actionable information required to support the organization’s mission-critical transactional activities and decision-making for targeted stakeholders
  • Conduct a Knowledge and Actionable Information Audit (within tacit and explicit environments)
  • Create Knowledge Map: Document and tag all mission-critical knowledge and actionable information uncovered by location, media type, and access techniques for both internal and external sources and align with production process environment
  • Identify ‘Gap’ between required enterprise knowledge and actionable information with the knowledge and actionable information discovered in Knowledge and Actionable Information Audit
  • Create ‘Gap’ actions and plans to provide knowledge and actionable information to all targeted stakeholders as required to support their transactional processing and decision making
  • Identify opportunities, constraints and actions and plans to successful knowledge creation use and reuse.

The Bottom Line

Key deliverables resulting from a successful knowledge mapping exercise are as follows:

  • Knowledge Map Model to guide and continually improve KM-centric initiatives within the organization
  • Comprehensive Knowledge Inventory and Pointer Structure to quickly access and retrieve knowledge at decision touch points
  • Starting point for design of enterprise and business unit Knowledge Taxonomies with well written and documented meta data
  • Knowledge Crossover Method to produce new knowledge from current knowledge assets
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