Over the next five years and beyond, organizations worldwide will create amazing new economic value by converting data and information into knowledge and wisdom, sharing that knowledge and wisdom internally to increase its value, and then selling selected areas of it in non-competing industries to a global client base.
Just as broadband wireless, smart phones, and tablets are transforming old industries while creating new ones in a short amount of time, organizations will increasingly want their knowledge and wisdom formalized, captured, and leveraged to produce assets of a higher value. Cloud services, advanced data analytics, professional social networks, mobility, and a host of other technologies are spawning a fast growing new industry that helps organizations do just that.
Just as manufacturing companies, such as IBM, saw their profits shift from hardware in the 70s and 80s to software and services in the 90s and the present, in this second decade of the 21st century, businesses of all sizes and from all industry segments will use new technologies to leverage the talents, knowledge, and wisdom of employees in new and exciting ways to create high margin products and services. Also, in countries with large numbers of retiring Baby Boomers, such as the United States, the need to capture knowledge and wisdom from employees before they retire will be increasingly important.
Three components are necessary to begin the process of leveraging and profiting from an organization's collective knowledge and wisdom.
1) Everyone in the organization must see the tremendous opportunity and added value in going beyond the current activity of converting data into information, to higher levels of value by sharing, capturing, and delivering knowledge and wisdom that both employees and clients can quickly act upon. In addition, auditing and valuating intellectual assets such as these must be seen as a strategic direction.
2) Everyone in the organization must see that its technology infrastructure and cultural focus on sharing knowledge are the keys to unlock the vast wealth this new knowledge-sharing imperative has to offer, both for the organization and its clients. Knowledge is created and increases in value when it is shared within the organization. But to do this, organizations must jump into the Communication Age internally before they can truly enter the Knowledge Era. Informing someone is very different than communicating with them. A knowledge-sharing technology strategy that focuses on fostering two-way communication and dialog, collaboration, and a sharing culture will enable organizations to achieve this goal.
3) Everyone in the organization must see the importance of his or her own participation as essential to building a strong foundation for the enhancement, sharing, and delivery of knowledge. You get the behaviors you reward; therefore, there must be a rewards system for sharing knowledge. Keep in mind that there are many ways to reward people and not all have to involve money.
Today, technology is no longer a barrier to creating a knowledge-sharing enterprise. The key is to see the tremendous opportunity that exists right now, and then take action.
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