Learning & Knowledge Management

Learning & Knowledge Management

The LKM Team liaise with departments across aBi to source the latest knowledge and learning documents, and upload them to the internal LKM database. This database is structured in a way that facilitates the storage and archiving of such information, separating it from mainstream data. On a quarterly basis, the Team will use the database as a source of information to create and publish a single document called an ‘aBi LKM Brief’.

This document will be utilized by the following:

  1. Disseminated to all aBi Teams for reference to that Quarter’s LKM data and information as well as reporting.
  2. Published on the aBi website on a quarterly basis.
  3. Disseminated to all Implementing Partners.
  4. Disseminated to all Development Partners.
  5. Disseminated to all related Uganda Government Agricultural organisations.
  6. Referenced by aBi Development and aBi Finance in the design of funding windows and projects.
  7. Referenced and used by aBi in presentations, internally and externally.

The main objective being from the above processes is to actually learn from the knowledge collected by officially sharing it amongst aBi’s  own teams, and stakeholders, directly affecting the decisions made in how aBi goes about developing the Agricultural sector.

See the list of LKM Briefs by year and quarter on the right hand side –

What is Knowledge Management?

KM is about making the right knowledge available to the right people. It is about making sure that an organization can learn, and that it will be able to retrieve and use its knowledge assets in current applications as they are needed.

Knowledge Management Definition

Knowledge Management is the systematic management of an organization’s knowledge assets for the purpose of creating value and meeting tactical & strategic requirements; it consists of the initiatives, processes, strategies, and systems that sustain and enhance the storage, assessment, sharing, refinement, and creation of knowledge.

Why is knowledge Management Useful?

Knowledge management is responsible for understanding:

  • What your organization knows.
  • Where this knowledge is located, e.g. in the mind of a specific expert, a specific department, in old files, with a specific team, etc.
  • In what form this knowledge is stored e.g. the minds of experts, on paper, etc.
  • How to best transfer this knowledge to relevant people, so as to be able to take advantage of it or to ensure that it is not lost. E.g. setting up a mentoring relationship between experienced experts and new employees, implementing a document management system to provide access to key explicit knowledge.
  • The need to methodically assess the organization’s actual know-how vs the organization’s needs and to act accordingly, e.g. by hiring or firing, by promoting specific in-house knowledge creation, etc.

So, why is knowledge management useful? It is useful because it places a focus on knowledge as an actual asset, rather than as something intangible. In so doing, it enables the firm to better protect and exploit what it knows, and to improve and focus its knowledge development efforts to match its needs.

In other words:

  • It helps firms learn from past mistakes and successes.
  • It better exploits existing knowledge assets by re-deploying them in areas where the firm stands to gain something, e.g. using knowledge from one department to improve or create a product in another department, modifying knowledge from a past process to create a new solution, etc.
  • It promotes a long term focus on developing the right competencies and skills and removing obsolete knowledge.
  • It enhances the firm’s ability to innovate.
  • It enhances the firm’s ability to protect its key knowledge and competencies from being lost or copied.

Unfortunately, KM is an area in which companies are often reluctant to invest because it can be expensive to implement properly, and it is extremely difficult to determine a specific ROI. Moreover KM is a concept the definition of which is not universally accepted, and for example within IT one often sees a much shallower, information-oriented approach. Particularly in the early days, this has led to many “KM” failures and these have tarnished the reputation of the subject as a whole. Sadly, even today, probably about one in three blogs that I read on this subject have absolutely nothing to do with the KM that I was taught back in business school. I will discuss this latter issue in greater detail in the future.

Quarterly LKM Briefs

2020   Q1 Brief