Originally posted 18-Oct-18

As you develop your knowledge management strategy, it’s important to get user input in order to determine which needs to address. Conduct surveys to identify challenges and needs, identify opportunities, and request suggestions.

Use an Opportunities Survey like the one below to determine business needs that can best be supported by knowledge management.

Determining what your users are struggling with, what they would like to see provided, and what they think should be done will help ensure your Top 3 Objectives are based on real imperatives.

Opportunities Survey

1. Check all of the following challenges that you experience:

2. List any other challenges you regularly experience with sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, learning, and searching for knowledge.

3. From the challenges you checked, and the ones you listed, please rank the three most important in decreasing order of importance:

4. What examples can you provide where sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, learning, and searching for knowledge are working well today?

5. What examples can you provide where sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, learning, and searching for knowledge worked well in the past?

6. What examples can you provide where sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, learning, and searching for knowledge at other organizations worked well in the past or are working well today?

7. What suggestions do you have for dealing with any of the challenges you identified?

8. What other needs do you have for sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, learning, and searching for knowledge?

9. What suggestions do you have for meeting the needs you identified?

10. Describe your ideal knowledge management environment and experience.

Challenges

After you conduct an Opportunities Survey, compile and review the results. Here some examples of challenges you may find.

Opportunities

Use the results of the Opportunities Survey, the goals of your organization, and your knowledge of what other firms are doing to help compile a list of opportunities. Here are some that you may identify.

Examples

From challenges and opportunities such as these, choose the ones that are most compelling to your organization and relate them to desired business results. Here are three sets of examples.

Non-Profit Organization

  1. Lower costs by preventing people from continually reinventing the wheel.
  2. Eliminate deficits caused by repeating the same mistakes.
  3. Increase contributions by innovating and creating new capabilities.

Manufacturing Company

  1. Increase orders through better collaboration between sales, services, and back-office functions.
  2. Increase revenue by stimulating a flow of ideas for new products and services.
  3. Increase profits by sharing and reusing lessons learned.

Consulting Firm

  1. Increase win rate by improving the proposal development process.
  2. Lower sales and delivery costs by reusing proven practices.
  3. Increase the quality of engagements by collaborating with customers and partners.

A KM program must respond to the fundamental needs of an organization. If it helps address those challenges and opportunities, it will succeed. If it is not tightly coupled to core business objectives, it will fail.

Lucidea Press has published my book, Proven Practices for Promoting a Knowledge Management Program, which includes advice, insights and real world examples of KM success drawn from my career as a KM practitioner.

See also:

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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