Transforming the way we manage knowledge through technology

What is knowledge management?

I was recently discussing the concept of knowledge management with one of our mentors. It’s an up-and-coming piece of the digital transformation era and something that’s been left on the backburner for years. But, digital transformation is not just another new term in the dictionary of businesses. On the contrary, it’s been an emerging concept, but it is now suddenly clear that many businesses need to integrate new functions and utterly change the way they work, engage customers, even communicate with employees. 

The post-COVID-19 era finds small and huge companies, but even individuals trying to adjust in continuous evolution, so as to be ready for the future of the workforce. On-demand services, virtual events, and conferences (Andrew Filev, 2020) are at the center of this era, reminding us that digital transformation is a whole new mindset, rather than just a solution to traditional business problems. 

How are we sharing knowledge right now?

Now, the production of knowledge has been accelerated. The solution to its transmission and organization should be accelerated, too. A knowledge transmission process refers to the practical problem of transferring knowledge from one part of a business to another, while knowledge management is the next step of practically managing and organizing the knowledge and important information within a business or an organization.

Faye Orfanou (one of our mentors at 100mentors) was among the first knowledge management experts to recognize the 100mentors platform as one amongst few that do this systematically and consistently. Practically speaking, 100mentors uses a communication channel with the knowledge that it can be easily accessible and usable from everyone in the organization. This is because of the ease of adopting byte-sized video as a mechanism for knowledge storage.

How managing and transmitting knowledge overlap

Thus, both knowledge transmission and management share the same objectives and follow a strict specific process:

  1. Every department of an organization should identify the knowledge holders, meaning they need to find the ones that can create the knowledge, and hence help the receivers. This highlights the corporate learning challenge, which every organization seeks to fulfill. 
  2. The transmission of knowledge can be tricky to facilitate. This means that a sharing mechanism should moderate it, so as the learning process to be fast and effective.
    More importantly, the video format of 20-second questions and 100-second answers can be the necessary engaging “game” for employees to feel safe enough to express themselves, while at the same time ensuring the flow of knowledge.
  3. A plan for knowledge transmission can be executed while the knowledge organization in byte-sized pieces of content keeps flowing in an ongoing repository of knowledge built inside the platform.

So, how is knowledge management fundamentally connected to the digital transformation process?

  1. As mentioned earlier, digital transformation is not just about externally facing digital challenges – but the ones inside the company too. Trying to make all the internal processes more effective, the byte-sized format can spark curiosity among employees and keep the discussion alive, especially when the knowledge transmitted needs to be short and to the point (100seconds is the perfect amount of time for that!).
  2. Through the 100mentors platform, all the elements of a successful knowledge management process are satisfied, including storing, processing, and accessibility of information, particularly because of labeling and automatic classification of knowledge in our virtual library.
  3. Beyond that, the retrieval of knowledge is an easy task, since the byte-sized content that the company’s employees are building remain there to be referred back to when they need be or be revised or even be-reconsidered and re-answered, giving learners the sense of an evolution of knowledge that can happen within an organization.
  4. Finally, effective and good answers have a prerequisite: a wonderment question. Effective knowledge management requires responsive people, but a response comes as a result of a question. This is why the 100mentors Q&A format in an asynchronous environment can engage people in a company to be responsive to real questions. This will improve operational efficiency, while not forcing people into endless meetings and written notes.

How 100mentors supports companies’ corporate knowledge management

Circling back to the core element of the knowledge management challenge in a digitally transformed world, we should essentially think of the so-called “new knowledge” and “fluid elements” (Faye Orfanou, Exploiting your Corporate Knowledge) of corporate knowledge, which may be:

  1. Explicit knowledge. These are the pieces of knowledge that are written or documented.
  2. Tacit knowledge. This lies in the insights, in authentic moments, views, and experiences of people working in an organization. Tacit knowledge can be defined as skills, ideas, and experiences that people have but are not codified and may not necessarily be easily expressed (Chugh, 2015) in a documented way.  The 100mentors platform is built for such moments of authenticity that can spark a whole discussion.

Knowledge management in the digital era should no longer require recall of live conversations or finding the words in between the lines of a document or email. Rather, knowledge management in a digitally transformed world will rely on authentic and truly engaging moments, where co-employees and partners interact with each other in a more meaningful and memorable way, building their organizational thinking map of knowledge in a user-friendly virtual web of ideas.

Yannis Kourtis is the Mentor Experience Associate at 100mentors. He holds an MA in International Relations and Strategic Studies and has worked as a youth trainer, helping young people to develop life skills beyond the classroom. Yannis is passionate about empowering professionals and academics to leave their legacy by connecting with students worldwide.

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