Data and insight are the lifeblood of market research, branded organisations, and logical decision-making. The knowledge gained by data and insight is used by everyone at all levels, whether consciously or unconsciously, but there is always more we can do to make sure that insights and our decisions can go further, be more impactful.
Knowledge management is the key to making this happen. It is the process of creating, sharing, using, and managing insights and data inside an organisation, allowing not just insight professionals to recognise and use insights in the most impactful and relevant way, but all professionals within an organisation.
Knowledge management attempts to create rich, deep, and open communication, something that is sorely needed in organisations if insights are to be generated and actioned in the most impactful way, so how can we create structure within an organisation to best facilitate the sharing of insights through knowledge management principles?
How can Knowledge Management and Organisational Structure Benefit Insights?
Structure can be a boon or a hindrance depending on how tightly it restricts flexibility and adaptability. Which sparks a couple of questions:
- Do organisations need structure to use insight effectively?
- What structure would best serve the use and impact of insights?
To answer the first question, yes, organisations will automatically put structures in place to help facilitate the sharing of insight to key stakeholders, but they might not recognise it as a structure at this moment in time. Insights are valuable decision-making assets, but if they aren’t being used to bring the most impact in most organisations then something in the insight activation process needs to change; how they generate and share insights need to change.
Creating a dedicated structure can provide a myriad of benefits, with the main one being a way to guide stakeholders through insight activation, empowering them to make the best decisions possible and activate insight through knowledge management principles. In this way, the main objective is all about engaging stakeholders, managing research schedules, managing research data and insights and news.
Knowledge management influenced structures also allows a way for data and insights to be shared easier through tangible channels; rather than tearing down departmental silos straight away, creating structured channels of open and rich communication through knowledge management principles really aids the organisational restructure towards a complete corporate culture of insight.
Key Principles, Structures, and Strategies
Now that we’ve explored the benefits of structure on insight, how do organisations put this into place?
Recognising the value and impact of knowledge and that it should be managed as a capital asset is the first principle of knowledge management — and is the basis of most action that works to implement knowledge management strategies and tactics thereafter. Strategies such as creating and accessing a knowledge sharing platform is a crucial first step, as it allows for the centralisation of data and insights accessible to all within the organisation for quick, reliably-informed decision making, the breaking down departmental silos, and allowing knowledge to flow freely throughout the organisation.
Knowledge mapping (a map of knowledge repositories within a company accessible by all) is a great way of helping those using your knowledge sharing platform to find the right insight quickly, rather than just leaving them to sift through the database of data and research context all by themselves. Consolidating and frequently updating this map will allow for continuous insight retrieval by all who access it at a moment’s notice.
Collaborative softwares can also be introduced alongside the centralised insight database, to help capitalise on the insights held and acted upon. These collaborative softwares can be accessed by teams from across the organisation to be used privately in-team, or can also encourage cross-departmental collaboration so communication and knowledge about insight activation processes can also be shared as well as the insights themselves.
Knowledge brokers, or insight advocates as they might otherwise be termed, can help anyone navigate the centralised database to find the insights they need if the map isn’t enough. These knowledge brokers can also provide a level of advocacy in each department to promote the use of insights while your culture of insight and knowledge is still in its infancy.
One strategy that you might not think of as having any roots in knowledge management is storytelling. Storytelling (as a means of transferring tacit knowledge) is regarded by some as a knowledge management strategy and has been widely discussed in the insights industry as a way of engaging stakeholders in the insight generated. There are a myriad of benefits to storytelling as a knowledge management strategy, but the main one being that the insights are memorable and thus are easily remembered when relatable situations occur.
There are obviously many knowledge management strategies that can help form the structure for organisational use of insight, but these are the main ones that can form the foundations of a collaborative culture of knowledge and insight.
Knowledge Management Tools
There are many knowledge management systems that can help build up a centralised depository of data based on the structures mentioned above. These systems store and retrieve knowledge to improve understanding, collaboration and process alignment both within individual teams and throughout a large organisation.
The Expert Knowledge and Database Management systems are the two that are the most applicable to managing the creation and distribution of insights, these key knowledge management tools keep everyone up to date and on the same page — but also to easily share insights and research news so they can be acted on asap:
Bloomfire is a tool that focuses on engaging professionals in the knowledge stored on the platform; inspiring collaboration and allowing organisations to effectively use their collective intelligence for the best decision-making possible through centralised insight storage and process alignment.
Intelligence Bank allows organisations to fully manage their insights through their fully-accessible management platform. They specialise in asset management, but their knowledge management system allows anyone with access to create, manage, and distribute documents and customer insights through secure data rooms.
Guru utilises AI technology to make capture, transform, and deliver data to those who need it when they need it. The capabilities of Guru mean that it can consolidate data and insights in a single source of truth in an interactive and trackable workflow to help insight professionals and others find the right insight at the right time to create a culture of knowledge.
There are lots of knowledge management tools ready and waiting to be tried and tested in an organisation for insight management, but make sure to personalise your iterative knowledge management strategy, and pick the right tool to help provide beneficial structure to insights.
This article was originally published on the FlexMR Insight Blog and can be accessed here.