Knowledge Management: Does the Right Hand Know that the Left Hand Is Mining?

Weinstein, Charles A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 11
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
INTRODUCTION As a set of management practices, "Knowledge Management" (KM) has disappointed many of its early advocates. The core notion behind KM can be summed up in the oft- quoted adage, "If we only knew what we know." KM describes a set of tools, practices, and approaches for using data, information, and expertise-knowledge-resident in an organization to improve the performance of that organization. The idea was incubated, hatched, and grew among some the largest and most successful companies in the world. Some of these companies created "Chief Knowledge Officers." Many more collectively invested billions in a huge range of KM efforts, all designed to use their organizations' information and expertise to innovate, improve margins, sell, or accomplish any of a myriad of sound business goals. Some KM efforts were successful, and many were not.* Today, it is indisputably the case that KM as a named set of practices has fallen out of favor. Why, then, should KM be discussed at a conference on "Things that Actually Work" for plant operators? Because, in many instances, KM has actually worked. The practices that represent KM done right offer significant opportunities for plant operators to achieve real gains, especially in times of resource constraints and in the face of ever-increasing technical and commercial goals. The KM fad is all but over. The KM benefits continue to accrue to those who have applied the lessons learned from that fad, and implemented sound * Fair disclosure: I am not unbiased with respect to the potential impact of KM. Teltech has been a pioneer and leader in KM, both as a practitioner and as a leading consultant to other organizations.
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