Thursday, April 26, 2007

Applying new business ideas to KM

It had to happen. There had to be a business turning email into posted or snail mail, for those who are unable or unwilling to place a stamp on an envelope or write long hand. This week's edition of Springwise ( newsletter provides some creative and innovative new ideas for business.

So why not take some of those ideas and apply inside your organization? For example, Zipcars ( is a car sharing company in the UK which has gotten a good bit of press. They have creatively partnered with a company renting out driveways and other parking spaces ( to combine the ability to share a car and the ability to park it.
Brilliant, we might say. However, this is the simple concept of resource allocation and sharing, taken to the outside world. Can we not do that within our own organizations?

Managing knowledge includes the ability to locate experts and other resources in throughout the organization. We map networks of people, documents and other resources on a regular basis. Why not use our internal knowledge management capabilities to address business issues with the same sort of out of the box thinking as the entrepreneurs listed in Springwise.

The steps to applying new innovative ideas are not complex:
a) Review the business issue you are trying to solve or address
b) Break that issue into the basic components (i.e. procurement, distribution, budgeting, etc..)
c) For each component, consider other similar processes, procedures etc done in your organization (who else procures, distributes, budgets, partners, etc) even if the area of business is dissimilar to your own
d) talk to them about how you might either partner together, learn from them or share resources to get things done

Although this might sound like an easy, logical idea, one of my biotech clients realized they had missed opportunities because they simply did not have the time to think outside of the box or outside of their business unit. They found cost and time saving, as well as process improvement, once they looked up from their tasks and out into the organization for new ideas.

If nothing else, provides some thought provoking conversation!

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