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Knowledge base the future way

Small and large businesses alike are well aware that the knowledge race is on!

The emphasis on moving companies from resource-based to knowledge-based is often a conscious ambition for businesses as they strive to be innovative and competitive in markets which are increasingly challenged by global economic, productivity and technological changes.

Many countries aspire to be leading knowledge-based economies, recognised for their ‘smart’ workforce in developing industries such as software and multimedia, information communication, environmental services, biotech, agrifood and healthcare.

Even so, it is not only the new technological industries that are subject to the concept of ‘knowledge-based’ business.

Among a range of approaches to successful adaptation of companies to modern business is one that involves capturing, sharing and applying the savoir-faire of employees and turning tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge on an organisation-wide basis.

The position of Chief Know-ledge Officer (CKO) is becoming more common in human resource management of businesses in North America and Europe.

Are you aware of knowledge workers in your organisation – person/s who are paid primarily to think and to seek synergistic combination of the organisation’s data and product information with the creative and innovative capacities of employees?

Another view of the knowledge worker can be related to the famous Housman lines: The goal stands up, the keeper stands up to keep the goal.

The knowledge keeper may be understood as the person who stands up to the challenge of defending the company’s goals by astute use of the organisation’s human resources.

Knowledge Culture and Know-ledge Democracy are two of the terms that are currently in vogue in management circles.

To what extent is knowledge shared among the employees in your company?

Can employees be expected to work harder or is it a case of understanding the causes of change and inventing new, more productive and cooperative work methods?

Is it the knowledge keeper that will lead the way to a revitalisation of your organisation?

As manufactured products are moving from mass inventory to just-in-time and knowledge is being shaped more into products like expert systems and self-directed learning, businesses must invest in well designed electronic systems and knowledge-based human infrastructures.

Leveraging intellectual capital, community of practice and Bill Gates’ concept of a digital nervous system are ideas that a knowledge keeper can make a practical reality in your organisation.

Whatever the terms used, workers are demanding more meaningful connections both professionally and personally – at the same time, corporate values are being challenged and companies are increasingly expected to ‘walk the talk’.

Revitalising your company by charging a knowledge keeper to provide inspirational leadership will not only lead to increased productivity, but to workers having a greater appreciation of the contribution they make to the workplace.

Can you afford NOT to have a knowledge keeper?

l Dr Laurence Dickie lectures in human resource develop-ment in the School of Manage-ment, Curtin Business School.

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