Knowledge Management

Colour coded shelves


“I wish we knew what we know at HP.”

This quote is attributed to Lew Platt, former chairman of Hewlett Packard, and was the inspiration for a popular book on knowledge management published in 1998.

It has turned into a common lament throughout business, and even applies to individuals. How do we manage our own knowledge?

Knowledge repositories

In the book Working Knowledge Davenport and Prusak outline a pragmatic approach to improving retention and circulation of knowledge within a business.

One such method is having shared knowledge repositories within a business. This might seem fancy - but it can be as simple as a shelf of books, or a wiki.

IDEO tech box

IDEO tech box

However, there are other more interesting ways to share knowledge. Take the following example from IDEO, the design and innovation consultancy. They have a tech box which is a library of interesting bits and pieces contributed by IDEO staff. The items within the tech box could be interesting for all sorts of reasons - the material, manufacturing technique, or even just the feel of the object.

This is a great way of sharing tacit knowledge within the organisation.


Another example is having mini Pecha Kucha events between staff where they share new ideas in informal presentations lasting just a few seconds per slide.


But whatever knowledge you have to share, designating a place to share knowledge is a strong first step in promoting the sharing of knowledge between individuals, which in many organisations today is the main way in which innovation happens