Knowledge Management for Insights organizations

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Attending recent Research & Insights events in London, I have noticed that a lot of professionals highlight Knowledge Management as one of the biggest challenges in their everyday job. It becomes even more vocal for growing organizations and expanding Insights teams.

These stories immediately triggered my reflection on one of my early academic studies for which I had received several awards. So, I decided to come back to my publications, and realized that the research findings can be definitely reapplied for the Insights organizations.

From my experience, quite often while talking about Knowledge Management, Insights organizations discuss only a very narrow set of questions like: “Where to locate research results?”; “How to organize folders with research results?”; “Who should have an access to folders with research results?”.

Although it’s very important to answer these questions, they don’t cover all critical organizational processes related with Knowledge Management. The picture below outlines that Insights teams should also pay attention to processes related with knowledge generation and knowledge formalization.


Adapted from: Johnson & Scholes, 1993

Previous research (Morozova, 2007) shows that overall approach to Knowledge Management in an organization should be build on two key pillars: “Internal Knowledge” and “External Knowledge”. 

Adapted from: Morozova, 2007

Considering “Internal Knowledge”, I would like to highlight that it’s important to motivate Insights teams to collaborate and share knowledge from different parts of the business (e.g. Product Insights, Strategic Insights and Marketing Insights).

It’s also vital for the Insights organization to create and support a systematic approach for the corporate education, especially in terms of research methodologies, how to turn learnings into insights and how to communicate business recommendations.

Knowledge accumulation is the other very challenging and important part of Knowledge Management, and in one of the previous posts I have shared my experience on how it can be addressed in a more agile way: Transform your Consumer Empathy with the Use of Mobile.

Needless to say how critical for Insights teams to have strong IT infrastructure in place,  so that it’s fast and easy to store, share and retrieve knowledge.

To build a more holistic approach for the external knowledge, Insights organizations should consider themselves as a part of the external environment, as it’s outlined in the picture below.

Adapted from: Morozova, 2007

Strong and long-lasting collaborations with research suppliers can allow Insights teams to build more compelling internal knowledge, as the suppliers will have a better understanding of the business, key challenges and previous studies.

As we’ve discussed in one of the previous posts Hands-on knowledge resources, external sources and information play a very important role in Insights organization, but it’s still critical to be able to translate this information into internal knowledge.

To sum up, I recommend Insights organizations to always approach Knowledge Management from a very holistic perspective and incorporate all organizational process related with Knowledge Management into one system consistent of both internal and external knowledge. 

Sources: Johnson, G., Scholes, K. (1993). Exploring Corporate Strategy: text and cases. London: Prentice-Hall; Morozova, N. (2007). Knowledge Management as Company’s Competitive Advantage. Economics, Modernization and Government. Collected Students’ Articles, Moscow: HSE, pp. 136-140.

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