What is knowledge and can it be stored?
Can knowledge be stored?’ It is not easy certainly but let’s assumes that someone spends a good amount of time and effort and captures what he or she knows on a particular subject / topics into a document or any other available media. The person might have obtained this knowledge by a combination of reading, learning from personal experience or experience of others who interact with him, etc.
Why does someone want to store knowledge?
With time limitations and effort required in sharing something you know to another person or a group of people, it is easier to send them what you know in the form of a document or file that you have built up over a period of time. This also saves you from repeating what you said to multiple people who may not interact with you at the same time.
Where does one keep this stored knowledge?
Knowledge obtained by individual –> converted into a shareable format –> store in central repository for public access –> knowledge seekers go to this database, search and find what they are looking for –> Use the knowledge from the database and submit back the new knowledge that they have / generate to the database and the cycle continues. Organizations of course are working on making this cycle happen and it would not be understatement to say that most KMs in various organizations work towards manually running this cycle. The ideal situation is for this cycle to run on its own.
What’s wrong with stored knowledge?
Well if knowledge ages and shows all signs of it – applicability reduces; situations change; new and more improved approaches and technologies emerge, etc then storing knowledge in a database may not be all that useful. What if we were able to constantly update the knowledge in database with recent experiences, developments etc? In this case, any piece of knowledge in the database will more useful to the seeker that it was if not regularly updated. The problem organizations face when they store knowledge in a database is that they assume that a further build on this knowledge gets uploaded in the database too.