10.3.2 What will be the profit of Knowledge Management?

All of us will remember situations where we spent time looking for a file or document which we had stored but could not remember where. Or we composed a document knowing that a similar had been written yet – but could not find it. Or a colleague did a job in a wrong way because the information did not reach him properly. Or a colleague left the company from one day to the other and nobody knows how to find specific information or to do the job properly (we speak of losing of “critical knowledge” then). You will perhaps also remember situations where you were angry because relevant information did not reach you.
All what has been mentioned above has to do with proper Knowledge Management. Knowledge Management will not completely exclude such situations but considerably help to avoid them and improve knowledge identification, flow and sharing in the company. This is not only relevant regarding efficiency but it is also highly relevant for satisfaction, motivation and commitment. Motivation and commitment are crucial for using the innovative potential of the staff.1

From the statements above we can conclude that it will be difficult to calculate in money the profit of KM. Therefore, the management has to be convinced about its usefulness and support it.

The following graphic summarizes some key ideas of profit from KM:

Figure 1: Potential profits from Knowledge Management

We had learnt before yet, that feeling informed and good flows of information are important factors for a motivated and satisfied staff – crucial for an innovative atmosphere. We have to know about specific skills and interests of staff members, also acquired in former jobs or outside company activities. These sources are important when looking for innovative solutions. Knowledge management has to do with building up self-esteem – you and your knowledge are appreciated. Self esteem is fundamental for creative and active participation in generating ideas and finding innovative solutions2. Appreciation to promote motivation depends on the company culture, on management styles3.

KM also means managing information coming from outside organisation. This can be information from abroad that brings the breakthrough for solving an innovation problem. Or we want to sell our idea and need to find network partners to market an idea. For gathering and sharing information abroad foreign language and intercultural competences are crucial.4 Here we see again the complexity of proper innovation management. Success depends on knowing, respecting and combining various, related factors.

1 see also module 4.6 Management of internal innovative proposal
2 see module 4.1 on creativity and the following chapters of creativity techniques
3 see module 10.2 on company culture
4 see module 12 on Foreign Language and Intercultural Competences for Innovation