Knowledge curation: turning knowledge loss into rapid learning and growth
Knowledge doesn’t manage itself. No matter how far AI and intelligent computing evolve, knowledge, whether human or digital, will always need human curation.
In fact, given the accelerated growth of both explicit and hidden knowledge, especially in large datasets, knowledge curation is more critical than ever.
You’ve seen no shortage of tools and techniques for building knowledge bases and repositories. Yet the question remains, “How do I design, build, and maintain a body of knowledge that’s easily accessible by myself and others?”
Building and curating e-bodies of knowledge consists of four main pillars:
- the source of the knowledge (typically subject matter experts);
- the knowledge itself (and why it's important);
- the people receiving the knowledge;
- the platform and process for putting it all together.
Key elements of a typical knowledge curation project include:
- determining what knowledge is worth capturing and in what form;
- reconciling different world views, mental models, and learning modalities, especially across different cultures and generations;
- determining which tools and approaches are appropriate for different types of knowledge;
- integrating the various tools and approaches into a single system;
- vetting knowledge and keeping it up-to-date;
- making knowledge flow and grow, from a single individual to an entire community of experts and practitioners.
In organizations where our team members have implemented these changes, the results have been dramatic. Many have even been in slow-moving industries such as oil and gas, food and agriculture, and government. One commercial client experienced faster and more frequent introductions of new and/or improved products in a highly competitive market.
On the flip side, there are serious penalties if you don’t take action. We’ve seen too many knowledge curation projects launch with great fanfare, only to quickly revert back to chaos. “We don’t have time for this,” is a coommon push-back. But the pain that results from doing nothing keeps ratcheting up as the zettabytes keep piling on.
Just as knowledge doesn't manage itself, change won’t happen on its own. It takes dedicated, persistent, effort, balanced with strong leadership.
But as knowledge gradually bedcomes more easily accessible, it can be adapted and used by more people, resulting in faster and better decisions, improved ability to respond to “pop-up” problems and opportunities, and less time wasted repeating mistakes and "re-inventing the wheel."
Best of all, your intellectual capital, which represents eighty percent of the total value of most organizations, will continue to grow.
Additional background and a brief history of curation