Signs that a KM program, project or initiative is supply driven:
- The link between KM and organizational goals is unstated, unclear or taken for granted.
- The KM initiative starts with a solution or tool, e.g. intranet or community of practice.
- The question “what do we know?” drives the KM initiative.
- The KM initiative revolves around describing knowledge supply and uses KM tools such as knowledge inventory, knowledge mapping, tracing knowledge flows, data banking or data warehousing, storytelling, blogs and/or social network analysis; asking knowledge users what they need or asking feedback from internal/external customers is absent
- The KM initiative is basically top-down or external consultant driven or technology oriented, with little participation or input from its users and beneficiaries
- The KM framework is the knowledge cycle, or some kind of KM maturity model or a model disconnected from organizational value creation or performance.
- The purpose adopted is “to share knowledge” or “to codify knowledge” but the questions “what for?” and “why?” are left unanswered.
- The KM metrics, if any, are not related or remotely related to organizational goals.
If your KM initiative is supply-driven, then its contribution to organizational goals is unclear and it is likely to be not cost-effective or worse, it is wasting resources.
Signs that a KM program, project or initiative is demand-driven:
- The alignment between KM goals and organizational goals is clearly stated; how KM will contribute to organizational value creation is explicit.
- The KM initiative starts with a problem or need; it addresses an organization’s “highest pain.”
- The question “what do we need to know” drives the KM initiative.
- KM starts with knowledge needs/gaps analysis, survey of knowledge needs of users/stakeholders or feedback of internal and/or external customers.
- The KM intervention is designed around the value proposition of the organization; it seeks to contribute to the enhancement of the organization’s core business process or “highest gain”
- The purpose adopted is to improve performance, to produce some desired results or to enhance value creation.
- The KM metrics, if any, are directly linked to organizational goals.
Read about an example of lean and mean KM in: “High-Octane KM” is Demand-Driven KM. Read also about the difference between “knowledge-push” and “knowledge-pull” approaches.