A generic knowledge management implementation framework might consist of the elements represented in Figure 5.1.
Figure 5.1: A Knowledge Management Implementation Framework.
In this implementation framework, the users have certain intentions or needs for deciding to use the knowledge management system. Solutions are then provided for meeting these needs or requirements. Important factors that contribute to the solutions include: the organizational culture and how the knowledge management system affects it; the alignment of the knowledge management system with the strategic, human capital, and business goals of the organization; senior management commitment and involvement in the knowledge management system and related knowledge management efforts; user feedback on functionality, usability, and evaluation of the knowledge management system; content providers' input for codifying material as part of the knowledge management system; the knowledge taxonomy for organizing content in the knowledge management system; and technologies applied in the development and use of the knowledge management system. There is a double-loop learning process involving these factors between the intentions and solutions because each factor iteratively influences a refinement of either the intentions or the solutions. For example, an initial knowledge taxonomy is built to tag and group the content in the knowledge management system, as well as to be used as an ontology for classifying the expertise in the expert locator system. This knowledge taxonomy may be increased as new concepts are introduced and discussed in the online community part of the system or via new articles in the knowledge library that describe these emerging concepts. Thus, the knowledge taxonomy is enhanced by the two-way interactions between the users (intentions) and possible solutions.
The knowledge management processes should dovetail nicely with an organization's human capital strategy. Knowledge identification and capture processes will help identify critical "at risk" knowledge areas in the organization where "knowledge gaps" may result from soon-to-be-retired experts, and will then capture their expertise in codified and personalized ways. For example, NASA's Lessons Learned Information System (http://llis.nasa.gov) captures over 1,300 lessons learned across the various NASA Centers. This knowledge repository includes both successful and bittersweet lessons, and has a user-profiling capability whereby appropriate lessons that match a user's profile will be sent to the user as a new lesson appears. A web-based, online searchable video of "knowledge nuggets" from individuals in the organization can also be created. Work at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center involves developing a knowledge preservation project, similar to the one at Sandia National Labs, to capture project management and systems engineering expertise from Goddard experts. Besides these codified approaches, a personalization approach could also be used to have knowledge sharing forums whereby experienced project managers discuss their stories and situations with less experienced project managers (see the Knowledge Sharing Initiative at NASA—http://appl.nasa.gov). Mentoring programs, creative learning/leadership groups (as are being done at NASA Goddard and the Environmental Protection Agency—a holistic approach to engage people in "different kinds of discussions"), knowledge fairs, and the like will also help promote a greater sense of community and belonging in the organization, and help to nurture and share knowledge.
Knowledge sharing and application processes will allow the socialization and internalization effects to take place, as Professor Nonaka from University of California-Berkeley advocates. As socialization occurs, knowledge is transferred and applied to fit that individual's new perception. As the knowledge is internalized by the individual and combined with other knowledge and worldviews that the individual possesses, the hope is that new knowledge will be created (i.e., the knowledge creation step). This could lead to increased innovations, new products or services, improved customer satisfaction, and other benefits. Thus, knowledge management appears to be an excellent mechanism for building the institutional memory of the organization and helping the organization be transformed into a "learning or knowledge organization." This is where the impact of knowledge management will be felt when developing an organization's human capital strategy.