Knowledge Mapping

This module focuses on the basics of Knowledge Mapping, its importance, principles, and methodologies.

Key Questions

  • What is K-map?
  • What does the K-map show, and what do we map?
  • Why is K-mapping so important?
  • What are some of the key principles, methodologies, and questions for K-mapping?
  • How do we create K-map?

Background

Each of the past centuries has been dominated by single technology. The eighteenth century was the time of the great mechanical systems accompanying the Industrial Revolution. The nineteenth century was the age of steam engine. After these, the key technology has been information gathering, processing and distribution. Among other developments, the installation of world wide telephone networks, the invention of radio and television, the birth and unprecedented growth of the computer industry and the launching of communication satellites are significant. Now people started to think that only information is not enough, what matters is Knowledge. So there has been seen shift from Information to Knowledge.

A bit of information without context and interpretation is data such as numbers, symbols.

Information is a set of data with context and interpretation. Information is the basis for knowledge.

Knowledge is a set of data and information, to which is added expert opinion and experience, to result in a valuable asset which can be used or applied to aid decision making. Knowledge may be explicit and/or tacit, individual and/or collective.

The term -Knowledge Mapping- seems to be relatively new, but it is not. We have been practising this in our everyday life, just what we are not doing is - we are not documenting it, and we are not doing it in a systematic way. Knowledge Mapping is all about keeping a record of information and knowledge you need such as where you can get it from, who holds it, whose expertise is it, and so on. Say, you need to find something at your home or in your room, you can find it in no time because you have almost all the information/knowledge about -what is where- and -who knows what- at your home. It is a sort of map set in your mind about your home. But, to set such a map about your organisation and organisational knowledge in your mind is almost impossible. This is where K-map becomes handy and shows details of every bit of knowledge that exists within the organisation including location, quality, and accessibility; and knowledge required to run the organisation smoothly - hence making you able to find out your required knowledge easily and efficiently.

Below are some of the definitions:

It's an ongoing quest within an organization (including its supply and customer chain) to help discover the location, ownership, value and use of knowledge artifacts, to learn the roles and expertise of people, to identify constraints to the flow of knowledge, and to highlight opportunities to leverage existing knowledge.

Knowledge mapping is an important practice consisting of survey, audit, and synthesis. It aims to track the acquisition and loss of information and knowledge. It explores personal and group competencies and proficiencies. It illustrates or "maps" how knowledge flows throughout an organization. Knowledge mapping helps an organization to appreciate how the loss of staff influences intellectual capital, to assist with the selection of teams, and to match technology to knowledge needs and processes.
- Denham Grey

Knowledge mapping is about making knowledge that is available within an organisation transparent, and is about providing the insights into its quality.
- Willem-Olaf Huijsen, Samuel J. Driessen, Jan W. M. Jacobs

Knowledge mapping is a process by which organisations can identify and categorise knowledge assets within their organisation - people, processes, content, and technology. It allows an organisation to fully leverage the existing expertise resident in the organisation, as well as identify barriers and constraints to fulfilling strategic goals and objectives. It is constructing a roadmap to locate the information needed to make the best use of resourses, independent of source or form.
-W. Vestal, APQC, 2002
(American Productivity & Quality Center)

Knowledge Map describes what knowledge is used in a process, and how it flows around the process. It is the basis for determining knowledge commonality, or areas where similar knowledge is used across multiple process. Fundamentally, a process knowledge map cntains information about the organisation?s knowledge. It describes who has what knowledge (tacit), where the knowledge resides (infrastructure), and how the knowledge is transferred or disseminated (social).
-IBM Global Services

How are the Knowledge Maps created?

Knowledge maps are created by transferring tacit and explicit knowledge into graphical formats that are easy to understand and interpret by the end users, who may be managers, experts, system developers, or anybody.

Basic steps in creating K-maps:

Basic steps - creating K-maps for specific task

  • The outcomes of the entire process, and their contributions to the key organisational activities
  • Logical sequences of all the activities needed to achieve the goal
  • Knowledge required for each activity {gives the knowledge gap}
  • Human resource required to undertake each activity {shows if recruitment is needed}

What do we map?

The followings are the objects we map:

  • Explicit knowledge
    • subject
    • purpose
    • location
    • format
    • ownersh ip
    • users
    • access right

  • Tacit knowledge
    • expertise
    • skill
    • experience
    • location
    • acc essibility
    • contact address
    • relationships/networks

  • Tacit organisational process knowledge
    • the people with the internal processing knowledge

  • Explicit organisational process knowledge
    • codified organisational process knowledge

What do the knowledge maps show?

Knowledge map shows the sources, flows, constraints, and sinks of knowledge within an organisation. It is a navigational aid to both explicit information and tacit knowledge, showing the importance and the relationships between knowledge stores and the dynamics. The following list will be more illustrative in this regard:

  • Available knowledge resources
  • Knowledge clusters and communities
  • Who uses what knowledge resources
  • The paths of knowledge exchange
  • The knowledge lifecycle
  • What we know we don?t know (knowledge gap)

Activity: 1

>> Can you create your personal knowledge map which shows the types and location of knowledge resources you use, the channels you use to access knowledge?

Where does knowledge reside?

Knowledge can be found in

  • Correspondents, internal documents
  • Library
  • Archives (past project documents, proposals)
  • Meetings
  • Best practices
  • Experience
  • Corporate memory

Activity: 2

>> What are the other places where you can find knowledge?

What are the other things to be mapped?

Benefits of K-mapping

In many organisations there is a lack of transparency of organisation wide knowledge. Valuable knowledge is often not used because people do not know it exists, even if they know the knowledge exists, they may not know where. These issues lead to the knowledge mapping. Followings are some of the key reasons for doing the knowledge mapping:

  • to find key sources of knowledge creation
  • to encourage reuse and prevent reinvention
  • to find critical information quickly
  • to highlight islands of expertise
  • to provide an inventory and evaluation of intellectual and intangible assets
  • to improve decision making and problem solving by providing applicable information
  • to provide insights into corporate knowledge

The map also serves as the continuously evolving organisational memory, capturing and integrating the key knowledge of an organisation. It enables employees learning through intuitive navigation and interrogation of the information in the map, and through the creation of new knowledge through the discovery of new relationships. Simply speaking, K-map gives employees not only -know what-, but also -know how-.

Key principles of Knowledge Mapping

  • Because of their power, scope, and impact, the creation of organisational-level knowledge map requires senior management support as well as careful planning
  • Share your knowledge about identifying, finding, and tracking knowledge in all forms
  • Recognise and locate knowledge in a wide variety of forms: tacit, explicit, formal, informal, codified, personalised, internal, external, and permanent
  • Knowledge is found in processes, relationships, policies, people, documents, conversations, links and context, and even with partners
  • It should be up-to-date and accurate

K-mapping - key questions

Knowledge map provides an assessment of existing and required knowledge and information in the following categories:

  • What knowledge is needed for work?
  • Who needs what?
  • Who has it?
  • Where does it reside?
  • Is the knowledge tacit or explicit?
  • What issues does it address?
  • How to make sure that the K-mapping will be used in an organisation?

Note:

  • K-maps should be easily accessible to all in the organisation
  • It should be easy to understand, update and evolve
  • It should be updated regularly
  • It should be an ongoing process since knowledge landscapes are continuously shifting and evolving

Offline Readings:

  • K-mapping tools
  • K-mapping tool selection
  • Creating knowledge maps by exploiting dependent relationships
  • Creating knowledge structure map?
  • White pages
  • KM jargon and glossary

Online Resource:

  • http://www.knowledgemap.co.uk
  • http://www.smithweaversmith.com /knowledg2.htm
  • http://www.voght.com/cgi-bin/pywiki?KnowledgeMapping
  • ht tp://www.knowledgeboard.com/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=105804&d=744&h=746&f=745
  • http://www.o rgnet.com/IHRIM.html

K-mapping Tools:

  • MindMapping (http://www.mindjet.com/) Click here to install (need to ask the vendor for trial serial number)
  • Inspiration (http://www.engagingminds.com/inspiration/descript.html) Click here to install
  • IHMC (http://cmap.ihmc.us/) Click here to install (need to have .NET Framework and JavaRunTime installed in your computer)
  • knetmap (http://www.knetmap.com/)
  • The Salamander Organization (http://www.tsorg.com/salamander/SalamanderAbout.htm)
  • Intellix (http://www.intellix.com/)
  • List of the tools can be found at http://www.voght.com/cgi-bin/pywiki?KmMapTools or here off-line

(Learn more about KM tool selection at http://www.voght.com/cgi-bin/pywiki?KmToolSelection or here off-line)

________________________________________

Categorised K-mapping

Social Network Mapping:

This shows networks of knowledge and patterns of interaction among members, groups, organisations, and other social entities who knows who, who goes to whom for help and advice, where the information enters and leaves the groups or organisation, which forums and communities of practice are operational and generating new knowledge.

Competency Mapping:

With this kind of mapping, one can create a competency profile with skill, positions, and even career path of an individual. And, this can also be converted into the ?organisational yellow pages? which enables employees to find needed expertise in people within the organisation.

Process-based Knowledge Mapping:

This shows knowledge and sources of knowledge for internal as well as external organisational processes and procedures. This includes tacit knowledge (knowledge in people such as know-how, and experience) and explicit knowledge (codified knowledge such as that in document).

Conceptual Knowledge Mapping:

Also sometimes called -taxonomy-, it is a method of hierarchically organising and classifying content. This involves in labelling pieces of knowledge and relationships between them. A concept can be defined as any unit of thought, any idea that forms in our mind [Gertner, 1978]. Often, nouns are used to refer to concepts [Roche, 2002]. Relations form a special class of concepts [Sowa, 1984]: they describe connections between other concepts. One of the most important relations between concepts is the hierarchical relation (subsumption), in which one concept (superconcept) is more general than another concept (subconcept) like Natural Resource Management and Watershed Management. This mapping should be able to relate similar kind of projects and workshops conducting/conducted by two different departments, making them more integrated.

Knowledge is power, broadly accessible, understandable, and shared knowledge is even more powerful!

Deependra b. Tandukar: http://dt.coremag.net

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