Knowledge Networks - why should companies promote this?
Knowledge Networks - why should companies promote this?
Knowledge is the basis of many things - whether we prepare a delicious lunch or solve a crossword puzzle. For both, and for so much more, we must have prior knowledge. We spend our entire life learning and evolving through knowledge.
Companies are also constantly learning and developing. What does creating networks between employees have to do with this, and why are companies well advised to encourage it? That's what this article is about.
The employee as a knowledge island
Each of us is a walking island of knowledge. We have learned something specific, are interested in certain topics and have had our own experiences. This means that our personal island of knowledge is unique and will not appear again in this constellation.
Although other people may have had similar experiences, so that our knowledge overlaps in places, otherwise each island stands on its own.
How about uniting these islands into one continent and thus opening a broad pool of knowledge? Situations could then be viewed from different perspectives.
Let's apply this to a daily situation:
Developer Paul is working on a new application and is faced with the problem of connecting a payment system. Since he has not been confronted with this before, his experience does not offer a solution for this, he must try out options and learn from them.
Let's assume we can combine another island of knowledge with his: Developer Irina has similar experiences as Paul but did connect the payment system in another application. Paul doesn't know about this. If the two networked, they could work out a solution to Paul's problem together. And faster and more resource-efficient.
This simple example illustrates two important insights:
As we have already described to you in our previous article, knowledge in a company is always tied to employees.
Companies should promote networking among employees in order to network their knowledge, after all there is knowledge that cannot be documented in a wiki.
Networked knowledge leads to knowledge networks, which can exist on a team level but also on a company level. First, let's have a look at the team level.
Knowledge networks at team level
Within a team, the knowledge islands overlap in the core technologies and the core competencies of the team. Agile methods can also help to promote exchange and network knowledge:
- Daily Scrum
All of these events bring the team to one (virtual) table and bring the islands of knowledge together. The team knows each other and knows which island might have an answer and a solution to the problem.
But what about at the company level?
Promote knowledge networks in the company - but how?
Scale the manageable, successful model for a single team and extend it to the entire company? Can you imagine a town hall meeting where every single employee of the company speaks? Depending on the size of the company, the description "chaos" would not even come close to being accurate.
While agile methods are beneficial at the team level, they do not work at the enterprise level. In the company, the knowledge usually overlaps in the core business, but in the teams, it is characterized by a wide variety of knowledge areas such as payment systems, CI/CD environments, data warehouses, directory services and many, many others.
And although the knowledge islands can differ greatly, an exchange is valuable in order to learn from one another and to optimize processes. A company that does not actively encourage networking is wasting resources and opportunities. It may deprive itself of opportunities to learn and grow.
But how can a company promote employee networking?
For this, two basic requirements must be met, which lie in the corporate culture and in a technical solution.
Corporate culture - sharing knowledge as a strategy for success
Not every corporate culture promotes the exchange of knowledge between employees. Unfortunately, there is often a culture of knowledge silos where knowledge is hoarded and viewed as a competitive advantage. This way of thinking is out of date and prevents progress!
Instead, every company should strive for a culture that values employees who share knowledge. Implement an active information policy, create communities of practice and ensures public recognition of successful projects that have successfully reached their goal due to the exchange of knowledge!
Team members should see that hoarding knowledge will not lead to their personal success but sharing knowledge will.
Technical solution - 8Buddy as a networking platform
If the company culture sets the right guidelines, it can be put into practice. How should information exchange take place?
The larger the company, the more difficult it is to network between employees, because there is often a lack of an overview of where which competencies lie.
With our solution, we ensure transparency! 8Buddy enables company-wide networking. You can see what skills are present in the teams and who has which competencies.
In this way, many individual islands of knowledge become a networked continent of knowledge that can grow together steadily, which brings with it a multitude of advantages.
What are the advantages of knowledge networks?
A company benefits from a networked knowledge structure in many ways:
- Onboardings are easier and more comprehensive
- The company learns faster from mistakes
- Resources can be used and deployed optimally
- Relying on internal rather than external knowledge and thus saving money
- Increase in transparency
- Enables faster learning and development of the company
- The company can react more flexibly to new external requirements
As you can see, knowledge networks are vital for a company's sustainable growth in the long or short term!
Companies that don't invest in their employees' knowledge networks are wasting valuable resources. While members of the same team network well with each other using agile methods, companies first must create the right basic conditions. Corporate culture and the technical solution need to be right.
Would you also like to enable networking in your company and learn more about 8Buddy? If you have any questions, we are happy to help you!
- knowledge network
- knowledge island
- knowledge sharing