23. Feb. 2017

What if your company opened a Knowledge Supermarket?

by Kaizen Institute UK

We are living in the Age of Knowledge

We are living in the Age of Knowledge. We are increasingly producing more information and gaining access to more knowledge.

Simultaneously, more activities depend on information flow management. Only in 2015, we produced as much information as the one produced during all previous years.

It seems obvious that, for any company, knowledge is fundamental for greater efficiency and speed of tasks and processes and, consequently, for greater competitiveness. On the other hand, it is the only way to ensure that, when an employee has to be absent, their knowledge capital remains in the organisation. That is why it is so important for any organisation, regardless of the area, to properly store and manage knowledge. But, as this process is so important, is it being carried out in the best possible way in our own organisations?

Knowledge management is based on the premise that all the knowledge that exists in organisations, people's heads, processes and departments also belong to the organisation. This process benefits everyone, from employees to the company itself, who sees their business becoming less dependent.

How to create an easy-to-use knowledge base? The idea is that any information can be found and used quickly and simply. That is, the ideal is to create a "knowledge supermarket".

Sounds like a weird concept? Think of the layout of a supermarket. Here, visual management, standardisation, accessibility and systematisation are imperative. With knowledge it must be the same: when something is not easy or fast, people tend to give up, whether it is a package of cereals or information.

In a conventional supermarket the products are organised into sections. The same must happen with knowledge. Best-sellers - the most commonly used information - should be placed in a prime location. Likewise, correct labeling is essential. If it is important to know the characteristics of a particular appliance, it is equally important to know what information is referred to and in what situations it should be used.

Basically, any supermarket, be it conventional products or knowledge, should be thought of in terms of improving the customer experience. And in the case of an organisation, the final customers are not the buyers, but the collaborators, and it is to facilitate their work that everything should be thought of. As employees are also information suppliers, it is essential that they realise the importance of this supermarket and its operation.

In this way, with organised, structured and available knowledge, processes and problem solving become faster. The results are easy to predict: an increase in the organisation's continuous learning capacity, enhancing the levelling of knowledge and improving the efficiency of the organisation as a whole. In terms of culture, it is important to highlight the impact on the involvement of all employees in common practices and objectives.

Kaizen Institute is a multinational company that supports organisations in the design and implementation of processes that enable continuous improvement in a sustained manner.

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