Knowledge increases in value through re-use

The value of knowledge can be multiplied by re-use. This requires thinking outside traditional silos and proactively looking for opportunities to re-use. Promoting a culture of knowledge sharing facilitates this approach.

Aspects of re-use include:

Internal re-use – making sure that full value is gained from using knowledge within the organisation in areas of both obvious and less immediately obvious applicability.

External re-use – sharing knowledge with others across organisational boundaries, particularly within the public sector or more generally with private businesses and citizens. Re-use involves considering what knowledge an organisation can make available to others but it also involves looking at what others have on offer, and how an organisation might itself re-use this external knowledge.

Whilst this principle strongly encourages re-use, it is important to appreciate that, as with information, re-use does require a careful risk-based judgment to be made with regard to exploiting vs protecting sensitive knowledge, as well as consideration of the costs and benefits involved, and any rights or other commercial considerations.

The ability to govern the dissemination, capture, storage and retrieval of information is key to the ability to share explicit knowledge across an organisation regardless of geographical or functional dispersion.


This Principle again builds on what has gone before. No significant re-use of knowledge will be achieved unless it is effectively sought, shared and, where necessary and possible, captured.

Knowledge re-use presents opportunities for cost and time savings and efficiencies. The practice of re-using knowledge helps embed a culture of learning within an organisation, promoting a continuous improvement approach and enhancing the quality of decision-making.

(‘Learning’ encompasses, but is not limited to, the following types of activity: courses, classroom training, reflective practice, after-action reviewing, job shadowing, peer-to-peer expertise transfer, one-to-one training, mentoring, community of practice participation.)

Good knowledge management requires time and resource, and is therefore not a zero-cost activity. Tangible return on investment comes from maximising the value of organisational knowledge through appropriate and innovative re-use.

Implications for Knowledge Management Strategy

  • Opportunities to proactively offer knowledge re-use are identified
  • An approach is established for discovering re-useable knowledge
  • An approach is established for promoting re-useable knowledge