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The Future of the Future:
Unclogging the knowledge pipeline

This article appears in the issue November/December 2010, [Vol 19, Issue 10]
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Find your best facilitators and charge them with taking their skills to a higher level by making knowledge flow alignment a critical part of what they do. Their mission, should they decide to accept it, is to pull the subject matter experts out of their silos and help create and grow a more unified brain trust. The biggest challenge is maintaining semantic richness while avoiding the temptation of trying to find the least common denominator and falling into the trap of reductionism.

Remedy #2—Replace reporting with insight. If people need to submit their weekly report inputs two weeks in advance to go through the review process, you’ve got a problem. Instead, use those expensive enterprise software platforms you’ve invested in to make it as easy as possible for decision-makers to navigate across and drill down right into the information sources themselves. Let your people spend their time keeping their information up to date, rather than generating mind-numbing status reports.

Remedy #3—Encourage better understanding of the many different types of perspectives, communication styles, cognitive abilities, work habits and the like. You can’t drop a detail-oriented Martian into a room with an impatient Venusian and expect a smooth transfer of knowledge to occur. Be sure to take that into account, especially when making task assignments.

Misalignment directly translates into increased risk exposure. Not paying close attention to alignment in your KM efforts means unnecessarily exposing your enterprise to adverse cost, schedule and performance impacts.

The old mindset of critical path alignment focuses only on time. By shifting your viewpoint to critical alignment of knowledge flows, you can better manage not only time, but cost and performance as well.  

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