Capturing of knowledge turns that which is held tacitly in the heads of members of staff into explicit, recorded knowledge. It is important to note that not all knowledge needs to be (or indeed can be) captured in this way. That said, some knowledge – particularly that which has widespread application and/or long-term value, and/or is likely to be transient in its availability – should be captured if possible.
Knowledge can be captured in a range of different ways. Capture should:
- be as efficient as possible
- match techniques to situations
- maximise potential for re-use (easy to find, easy to access)
Captured knowledge needs to be refreshed: identifying ownership and associated responsibilities, as with information assets, is a key part of this.
Capturing knowledge increases its potential for re-use. It is a more efficient way to enable such re-use where the knowledge has wider application, and particularly in circumstances where it is at risk of being lost to the organisation, for example through the loss of experienced staff.
Implications for Knowledge Management Strategy
- Implications for Knowledge Management Strategy
- The organisation needs to understand which vital and potentially transient knowledge it needs for its business and ensure efforts are made to capture it
- A range of capture techniques should be evaluated and promulgated
- Captured knowledge needs to be owned and refreshed
- Tools for knowledge capture should be provided and promoted
Knowledge capture is not synonymous with knowledge management, and organisations should be wary of over-reliance on knowledge capture programmes. Only a small proportion of collective corporate and/or individual knowledge relative to the whole can ever be captured effectively. Good KM programmes must acknowledge and address knowledge sharing and organisational learning to be properly effective.