Written by Guest Blogger Isabel de Clercq

Storing know-how no longer suffices. These days, it has to be shared. That is a clear trend in the corporate world where everything, these days, revolves around speed, innovation and `being connected’. Sharing knowledge, however, remains a challenge. Why is that and what’s the solution?

Sharing Knowledge: Share And Conquer!

Knowledge was destined to flow freely. Without a lively exchange, knowledge petrifies and withers away slowly in email boxes and in static databases. Knowledge that is shared is the fuel for the following business drivers:

  • It increases the speed of response
  • It drives innovation
  • It increases brand awareness and strengthens the bond between company and customer
  • It hastens the solution of complex problems

The tricky shift from ‘save’ to ‘share’

Knowledge ought to flow freely in order to combat rigidity and fossilization. Sharing know-how, however, is tricky. Why is that? And, more importantly: what can we do about it?

Find some of the answers in my slide-share: 10 barriers to knowledge sharing.

Many obstacles to progress stem from the business culture. It is often deeply rooted in outdated industrial principles of predictability, a ‘command & control’ mechanism and a strong internal focus.
The trend of sharing knowledge goes diametrically against that:

Everyone has knowledge.

And everyone has the right to speak. In order to make the implicit know-how of an organization visible, a new kind of leadership is needed and sound labor relations.

‘Blur the boundaries!’

No organization is an island. It works closely with – and for – communities. The internal orientation of managers and employees should shift to a focus on the outside world. The boundary between the inside and outside is blurring.

We will have to learn to cope with unpredictability.

We can’t know, today, what expertise we will need to meet the needs of tomorrow’s customer.

"Social technologies enable us to break with the old culture of slow response and ‘command & control’" - Isabel De Clercq

Technology is changing culture. The powerful case story of Robert Bosch:

Despite the barriers of old-style business, the trend of knowledge sharing is unstoppable. Social technologies enable us to share knowledge and, by doing so, to move up a gear in innovation and business performance.

More than that: social technologies enable us to break with the old culture of slowness and `command & control’.

Robert Bosch, for example, active in 150 countries and headquartered in Stuttgart, has been playing the card of knowledge sharing and social collaboration to the full since 2012. Currently, 190,000 people all over the world are sharing their knowledge in 27,000 communities. In this way, Bosch has managed to become “a networked, agile and highly connected organization”, the world over.

Isabel’s opinion piece was originally posted on the blog platform of Wolters Kluwer.