What is knowledge and can it be stored?
Can knowledge be stored?’ It is not easy certainly but let’s assume that someone spends a good amount of time and effort and captures what he or she knows on a particular subject/topic into a document or any other available media.
The person might have obtained this knowledge by reading, learning from personal experience or the experience of others who interact with him, etc.
Why does someone want to store knowledge?
With time limitations and the effort required in sharing something you know with another person or a group of people, it is easier to send them what you know in the form of a document or file that you have built up over a period of time.
This also saves you from repeating what you said to multiple people who may not interact with you at the same time.
Where does one keep this stored knowledge?
Knowledge obtained by the individual –> converted into a shareable format –> stored in a central repository for public access –> knowledge seekers go to this database, search and find what they are looking for –> Use the knowledge from the database and submit back the new knowledge that they have/generate to the database and the cycle continues.
Organizations, of course, are working on making this cycle happen and it would not be an understatement to say that most KMs in various organizations work towards manually running this cycle. The ideal situation is for this cycle to run on its own.
What’s wrong with stored knowledge?
Well if knowledge ages and shows all signs of it – applicability reduces; situations change; new and more improved approaches and technologies emerge, etc then storing knowledge in a database may not be all that useful.
What if we were able to constantly update the knowledge in the database with recent experiences, developments, etc?
In this case, any piece of knowledge Management in the database will be more beneficial to the seeker than it was if not regularly updated.
The problem organizations face when they store knowledge in a database is that they assume that a further build on it gets uploaded in the database too.