WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
Knowledge management is a broad discipline that has many applications. Businesses have to practice some form of knowledge management in order to be efficient, though some are haphazard about it and thus experience inefficiencies and losses due to poor knowledge management. In short, it is a collection of practices – strategic and operational – that enables organizations to collect, organize, store and recall information and reflect on past and present practices and experiences in the business to plan their future actions. The last part is key for successful knowledge management because its purpose is to effect well-informed decision-making to lead to successful actions. In short knowledge management is identifying, gathering, reflecting on and telling stories. History, archaeology, publishing, libraries and the field of Information Systems are all forms of knowledge management
Personal knowledge management, as discussed in a previous post, can be a personal practice that helps you develop better planning and decision-making processes. It has four essential elements: data that is organized and information that is compiled; human reflection or artificial intelligence analytics for building knowledge; secure storage and the capacity to recall data, information and knowledge. Data is a collection of facts in their raw form – unorganized, unrefined and uncontextualized. Information is data that has been organized, refined and contextualized. Knowledge develops from the processing of information through sentient thought or artificial intelligence, to draw conclusions and forecasts to guide our decision-making. Think about military-based action movies where they’ve spoken about gathering intelligence, and then plans of action are made and executed based on that intelligence. That’s an example of data (collection), information and knowledge. Afterwards when reports are written and filed, the work reviewed and further and wider knowledge is built based on an aggregation of information, actions, knowledge and records – that is knowledge management.
WAYS TO DO PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT
There are several tools and techniques one can utilize to do personal knowledge management. Journaling, keeping notebooks, creating digital notes and files, and personal online channels are a few of the options. A system called the bullet journal method was created by Ryder Carroll.
He designed it over time as a tool to help him be more productive because he had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). He found that when he was a child and university student, there were not enough resources available to help people with ADD to organize their thoughts and actions and block out distractions. It has become a widely popular phenomenon used by millions of people around the world. With the bullet journal technique, you focus your thoughts and actions on one quiet, uninterrupted analog space – your journal – to work on focusing on those things that are the most important to you. Carroll says the idea of the bullet journal “is to track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” A brief overview of how the method works: create index system at the start of your notebook so that you can write down the page and topic references; set out a section called “future log” and number the pages – write the page numbers and section name into the index; set up a monthly log, followed by daily logs and number the pages and note those pages in the index section. Write in the journal every day to track your activities and make future plans. Read through past entries and notes to reflect on what you planned on doing, what you accomplished, and what future plans still need to be actioned. You can watch a detailed tutorial below, that Carrol gives, to get step by step instructions.
Subject or priority specific notebooks or digital files are a tried and tested method for keeping a record of things of interest or importance. The benefit is that you can keep all information regarding a particular area of interest in one place and have extensive details on it. For example, if you are interested in management information systems (MIS) all the articles that you read and download and notes you make can be saved in a single MIS folder. When you need to access information on this subject, you know where to find your resources and you can easily search them. If you are keeping digital files on a personal device or the cloud, you can save different formats such as text, images, video, and audio resources in one location. You can tag websites and pages of interest by bookmarking them so that you can access the information as you need it. For your digital filing system make sure you use a good naming convention so that they are easy to remember and search. If you like to do things old-school, having various notebooks for subject-specific notes is very useful. Numerous studies have shown that the act of handwriting improves our ability to recall information we’ve recorded. Label your notebooks according to the subject you are writing about, e.g. Sustainable Urban Development notebook, and then every time you read on the subject and attend events and seminars or travel to different urban locales you can make notes in that specific book. Over time, as you collect notes, pictures, names of resources, etc. you will build expert-level information in addition to building your own levels of experience and knowledge.
One can use short-term or temporary tools such as white boards, bulletin boards, concept boards and vision boards for more highly specific activities. All of these boards can be rendered digitally or produced as analogue, tactile resources that you physically add notes, pictures and samples to. Such boards help you (and your team if it is a shared resource) to see the future goal, track the current situation and the past activities you have delivered.
There are great social media tools that can act as repositories for knowledge assets. Consider YouTube, you can build up an amazing portfolio of work if you do videos on your area of interest. Someone who loves cooking and eating different kinds of food can create a channel where they post videos about their own recipes, amazing meals they’ve had at friends, family, and restaurants. If they travel they can create food vlogs of the new dishes they’ve had and the ingredients they’ve discovered. Their channel will contain a wealth of information for themselves and their viewers as well as track the progression of their expertise in food and travel.
WHY IS KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SIGNIFICANT?
Personal knowledge management helps one to be intentional, informed, and equipped to make well-informed decisions. By building a solid foundation of assets and resources related to your personal, academic, and professional interests you are equipping yourself to become an expert in those areas. By organizing and cataloging a record of your activities and achievements in these fields along with having a library (digital and/or physical) of related resources, you will have a bank of knowledge and evidence of your expertise. This of course takes time to build up, knowledge management is not static. Like learning it is ongoing and ever-changing, you accumulate knowledge artifacts and systems on the foundations of what you did before. We leave you with three core benefits of practicing personal knowledge management: it helps you to get into and build the habit of regular reflection; you will be able to clearly identify the things that interest you and the things you are passionate about, eventually being intentional about what you prioritize for learning, action and growth will lead to expert levels of knowledge and skills.