Knowledge.Mapping.Tips.jpgA knowledge map is an organizational technique for identifying and managing what knowledge resides where in your organization. 

The American Productivity & Quality Center (APQC), a leading authority in benchmarking, best practices, process and performance improvement, and knowledge management, defines knowledge maps as:

"Powerful tools to inventory an organization’s critical knowledge and pinpoint areas that may be at risk. In many cases, the simple act of creating a knowledge map reveals weak links and bottlenecks in the flow of knowledge. By articulating exactly how knowledge moves through the organization, teams can identify improvement opportunities and make targeted adjustments to ensure that the right knowledge reaches the right people at the right point in the process."

Knowledge mapping is a tactical practice for organizing the knowledge within your enterprise and creating a conceptual framework that follows knowledge throughout your organization and serves as a guide for understanding the multi-layered processes, teams and resources existing in within your organization’s knowledge translation processes.

An integrated knowledge mapping strategy will provide your organization with the conceptual framework it needs to plot the course knowledge travels within your organization.

Make no mistake. Knowledge mapping is not easy – but it is critical to understanding the translational pathways knowledge travels throughout your operation.

  • Knowledge mapping identifies existing and potential gaps. It defines the steps your organization is taking in its knowledge management practice – and the mistakes being made that may hamper your organization’s ability to fully utilize personnel and technological resources.
  • By knowledge mapping, an organization can understand the mechanic s of knowledge creation and maintenance, bringing clarity to the knowledge enterprise that is so very vital to effective organizational management of technology R&D, clinical practice services and future organizational decisions of influence to crucial assets in health management data best practices.
  • Knowledge mapping examines the steps currently employed in the creation, utilization and containment of knowledge resources and assets as they pertain to the function, coordination and understanding of digital assets pertinent to everything from policymaking to protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and maintaining regulatory compliance at all levels.
  • Knowledge mapping explores the relationship of knowledge within your organization, scrutinizing your organization’s knowledge assets at a contextual level, which allows for a tactical dive analysis into the tacit and explicit knowledge that powers enterprise productivity.
  • Knowledge mapping also key in identifying and engaging key stakeholders in influencing required changes to the way knowledge is translated throughout your organization.

Knowledge.Mapping.2017.jpgGetting Started

There are four key steps that aid greatly in the initiation of a knowledge mapping process.  

Getting Sponsorship: Knowledge Mapping takes a significant time commitment and effort from your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). If you do not get the right sponsorship and time commitment from your SMEs you are bound to be unsuccessful. Talk to your sponsors first before you jump into knowledge mapping by providing them an estimate and discussing how long the entire exercise will take before asking for your SMEs time. Your SMEs will be instrumental in getting your corrective knowledge management steps identified and addressed.

Complete Picture: When selecting SMEs, make sure you identify multiple SMEs to give a complete perspective of the current situation.  In many cases, one or two SMEs may not give the entire picture of the gaps.  Select SMEs across business units, sites, countries to give a broad picture of the current process.

Remember to Fix the Real Issues: Don’t forget to fix the issues – realizing knowledge mapping is just a step in the process — after mapping, the identification of issues and the subsequent fixing of those issues is paramount. If you are just documenting your knowledge management issues without any plan to fix the issues as they are identified and prioritized, there is little benefit from performing the knowledge mapping exercise.

Close the Loop: Follow up with all key stakeholders and engaged participants to confirm which issues identified are high priority or critical to fix and how those issues will be best addressed.

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