In SOUL we are interested in everything that has to do with knowledge and its management, is a key facet in the processes of creation and transfer of it, so we are working so that SOUL is perceived as what it is: a tool within this field that helps organizations to become SMART organizations in which shared knowledge is part of its own essence, its culture. For all these reasons, the forthcoming arrival of ISO 30401 on knowledge management has us very active.
Our Subject Matter Expert is working in different groups at national and international level in this field and tells us that this standard can be a turning point, which makes us reconsider the way of thinking within this field.
All of us interested in knowledge management find that there are many contradictory ideas in this area and that not everyone calls things by the same name, which makes us fall into false myths that, with the passage of time, become axioms. The standard will come to put order in this respect, defining key elements and concepts to generate the necessary understanding of people who work or want to work in this field.
An example will be the definition of the concept itself. What is Knowledge Management? In the framework of the new ISO, it is defined as the human and organizational asset that allows good and effective decisions to be made within a context.
Until now, most of the efforts were concentrated on knowing what kinds of knowledge we had, explicit and tacit, and how to store and manage it, with a great deal of emphasis on the computer systems where it should be introduced. We were concerned about the expiration of the documents of explicit knowledge and the suitability of their supports, and how to make them available to the people who finally have to use them.
But this can now be seen more clearly in the perspective of ISO. The most important thing will not be these tools, but essentially the culture necessary for the identification of critical knowledge, its creation, transfer and effective storage, to be possible. The key messages that we have been able to identify in the already published draft we are working on are along these lines.
To begin with, the standard tells us that knowledge comes from people, is intangible and cannot be managed directly as a simple piece of data and that it is also that which adds value when the effectiveness of an object or process is increased. On the other hand, knowledge does not have a single recipient and is intimately related to the context.
In the new ISO, knowledge management is already taking a different form, focusing on the management of the work environment and the interrelationship of people to generate shared understanding. This is, of course, a major shift in perspective with implications for both organizational policy and tools.
This new standard will tell any organization what is important and where to start. Establishing that it is of vital importance to set goals within this field: What do you want knowledge for? This is going to be the key question at last.
It will also allow for a considerable improvement in the progress made in this field because it will make concepts and processes that were previously widely dispersed accessible to many in a univocal way.
From SOUL we are already on the way to improving knowledge management from premises such as cultural transformation, a firm commitment to collaborative and adaptive learning and a focus on useful knowledge. We know that there is no single way to do it, but we want to be an option that contributes and that adds up....and we are convinced that we are.