It has been said that in the world of business, knowledge is an interesting but useless commodity – until it is put to proper use. We have all seen examples of really smart people coming together with tons of knowledge and great ideas, who have failed as an enterprise.We know that >50% of all small businesses fail within 3 years, and we know that the boardrooms of the Fortune 1000 are splattered with disappointing business performance records – many of catastrophic proportion.
There are as many reasons for failure as there are number of failures… and it’s not always as simple as “no sales, no income”.
But we do know this – knowledge sitting in people’s heads is of marginal value to an enterprise – certainly intangible value – until that knowledge is put to work on a task that the enterprise deems important to its purpose.
The purpose of models like the knowledge supply chain is to help the enterprise understand how to convert knowledge possessed by the individuals who work for or with the enterprise – into value for the enterprise.
There are many individuals, teams, and groups that really do indeed understand how to turn knowledge into profit and top tier market performance.However, the Founders and Principals of our own group have over 200 years of collective experience working with companies that certainly had not yet mastered the science of “turning knowledge into success”.
The ONLY answer to this dilemma is to establish a method. Develop your own, borrow someone else’s, or hire someone to do it for you… but create a structured, well-defined, business process that everyone fully understands. This process should become institutionalized to the point of being 2nd nature to each and every person with ownership in success of the enterprise.
Everyone should fully understand and practice the disciplines associated with making the knowledge game a consistently sure win, and not an occasional highlight on the monthly report.
The bridge – from here to there
We have carefully chosen the metaphor of the bridge as the transition between knowledge and action. In our experience this metaphor works very well for the reason that a bridge…
- Connects a destination with a starting point – you know where you are, and you can see where you want to be… and the bridge is a direct way to get there.
- Eliminates the need to go the long way around – avoids extra time, extra resources, extra hassles… the bridge is a direct way to get there
- Provides the necessary structure to get there – whatever barriers or impediments were previously denying progress, are overcome by a well-constructed fixture leading to the desired destination… the bridge is a direct way to get there
- It takes action on the part of the traveler to get from here to there – even if you can see where you want to be, you must move from where you toward where you wish to be… the bridge is a direct way to get there
The metaphor connects the dots
So the bridge from knowledge to action provides the following
A clear process for those who possess useful and purposeful knowledge – to become enabled to convert that knowledge into executable intelligence… which is intended to create the desired value called for by the enterprise.
This process takes into account the current and historical barriers that have previously prohibited the enterprise from accomplishing the kinds of results it believes it is capable of attaining.
This process has sufficient policy, discipline, and best practices associated with it to overcome or deny the obstacles to successful outcomes of applying the knowledge in a meaningful way.
This process compels the people holding the knowledge to get on with it… to actively apply that knowledge in the most appropriate context and in a most timely fashion.
In future posts, we will offer a more definitive description of what a knowledge supply chain method looks like, and how it works.