Hey Managers and Entrepreneurs, Can You Influence the Knowledge Sharing Processes?

Knowledge Management as a process yields tremendous potential for innovation, growth and increased profits and other KPIs. However, it is far from being simple, and the mixture of skills and expertise that provides benefits to the experience can also cause barriers.
In an organisational ecosystem, where knowledge sharing and active participation are important and the diversity of contributors is often high, these barriers can be substantial.
 
The environment of an ecosystem raises business and people-related issues that can limit or prevent knowledge sharing among the different groups of participants. In order to bypass these issues, managers and entrepreneurs often ask themselves: 
 
  • How transparent should we be with confidential business information, and with whom can we share it without risk? How can we address privacy issues?
  • How should we work with participants worldwide, where cultural contrasts may influence our interactions? 
  • How can we get people to participate more

Manager thinking about improving knowledge sharing

 
The issues these questions highlight may create barriers to successful knowledge sharing processes if managers and entrepreneurs don't succeed to understand and overcome them.

So what advice can we give?

There are three essential recommendations for managers and entrepreneurs who are looking to overcome both general and unique barriers to effective knowledge sharing in an ecosystem.
 
When we speak of barriers to collaboration in an ecosystem, we commonly include barriers common to all participants in the ecosystem and barriers unique to specific groups of participants who have their specific roles in the organisation. The specific barriers are influenced by the unique circumstances of your ecosystem, however, we have identified barriers common to all groups: 
  • Balancing privacy - is creating silos the best way to handle this?
  • Business- and people-related issues that arise when simple collaboration process is elevated from a collaboration system to a knowledge sharing ecosystem, including a possible lack of transparency that can hinder success.
  • Growth

Balancing privacy

This requires identifying access to information early in the process, separating the ones that may be offered to the members of the ecosystem from the ones that should be kept confidential. Copyrights, patents, designs and potential inventions included.
 
Sensitive data available to C-level members also come to mind. However, many believe that silos are hindering knowledge sharing. The answer is yes and no. We've written an article about it and you can also read what Dave Snowden, a well-known name in the field of knowledge management says on the topic. At the end, you need to be able to move quickly and make informed business decisions with the help of the ecosystem.

Collaborate successfully with the core community

Collaborating with the core community

Every ecosystem is built around a core community. Appreciate the core community and its informal or formal rules that relate to equality, team structures, leadership, cultural differences, and new member integration. Be fair. Try and recognise the leader, or if there isn't one, assist in developing a leader in the community.
 
Make sure that you have suitable team structure to assist the knowledge sharing process within and with the help of the core community and assist with integrating new participants into the community. The members of this core community are your champions and they are the ones who drive the process.

Acknowledge the challenges of diversity

Acknowledge the challenges of diversity

Acknowledge the diversity in your organisation. The diversity is beneficial, but it can also introduce knowledge sharing challenges. When we say diversity, we mean different levels of knowledge, expertise, and skills.
 
The diversity may also rise from cultural barriers as the participants come from different parts of the world. Those barriers relate to objectives, responsibilities, roles and shared values.
 
It would be a mistake not to engage all participants in an ecosystem so make sure you have clearly defined roles, objectives, responsibilities, and values. Negotiate an appropriate understanding of joint roles and responsibilities in order to yield maximum benefits of your ecosystem.
 
We know that it’s not easy
 
Successful knowledge sharing process demands a carefully planned approach to all communities in an ecosystem based on informed business decisions and an understanding of the barriers. If entrepreneurs and managers can't identify or understand the collaboration barriers both common and unique to participants in this ecosystem they will have difficulties in overcoming them and harnessing the benefits of an ecosystem.
 
The only thing they need is software support, so we’ve created Tallium, and written many resources on our blog to help you do that. We also offer trainings and consultations as we have successfully built an ecosystem ourselves. Contact us for a demo.

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