Knowledge lost

Knowledge lost.

The loss of knowledge and ways to mitigate this disruption is a key
KM topic and practice. Here are some thoughts after reading “Lost knowledge” a new book by David DeLong, 2004.


Clearly we are at the start of the baby-boomer exit from the active
workforce – a subtle demographics driver, whose impact and extent have
not been fully explored. What does it mean when special skills,
essential experience and boat loads of tacit knowledge disappear? – we
have a foretaste from mergers, acquisitions and downsizing – major
disruptions to knowledge flows and destruction of relationships along
which knowledge happens – slow recovery while trust is rebuilt, meaning
is shared and understanding is regenerated.


DeLong considers 4 paths:

* Beef up your knowledge transfer practices and increase awareness (CoPs, stories, mentoring, training, interviews)

* Review your HR resources, processes and rules
(expertise audits, career development & succession planning,
building a retention culture, phase retirements, examine recruitment

* Revisit your explicit technologies to capture, store and share knowledge. (Expertise locator systems, knowledge harvesting & capture, mapping human knowledge)

* Implement a knowledge recovery program (utilize retirees, outsource lost competencies, regenerate lost key knowledge)

Harvesting knowledge
just prior to leaving or an impending retirement is a risky and not
very fruitful avenue in my experience. I advise clients to cement
relationships, build continuing connections and support identity links
where ever possible – that way the paths for knowledge flow are

My view is relationship retention, networking and identity enhancement are the keys to weathering the gathering storm [Knowledge-at-work]

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