Army adopts knowledge management principles

Top Army officials have ordered the adoption of 12 knowledge management principles intended to foster information sharing.

The goal of knowledge management is to ensure that information flows through an organization to the people who need it. According to the new directive, the Army’s chief information officer will issue a policy to direct knowledge management efforts, and Army commands and organizations will develop practices to fulfill the policy, a news release states.

The knowledge management principles “support an Army that automatically shares intellectual capital with no structural or technical barriers,” Army officials wrote in announcing the directive. The principles also “support an Army that values good ideas regardless of their source; and an Army that really collaborates and values collaboration as a means to mission success,” according to the Army.

The document, signed by the Army’s secretary and chief of staff Aug. 11, explains the rationale and implications of each principle.

For example, the seventh principle is to “embed knowledge assets (links, podcasts, videos, documents, simulations, wikis) in standard business processes and provide access to those who need to know.”

The rationale is that such digital media can “add context, understanding and situational awareness to operations and business activities.” That implies that it is “incumbent on leaders to creatively embed and use digital media…in training routines and operations to add to or leverage the existing knowledge assets of the Army.”

That principle also indicates the importance of converting intellectual capital, such as new ideas or best practices, into structural capital — anything that can be digitized and made accessible to others.

Other examples of the service’s principles include training and educating knowledge management leaders, managers and champions; rewarding knowledge sharing; establishing a doctrine of collaboration; and using standard business and legal rules and processes across the enterprise.

The CIO Council established a Federal Knowledge Management Working Group in 2000, but it was disbanded in 2007. Jeanne Holm of NASA and consultant Michael Kull are continuing federal knowledge management initiatives through a wiki. The group led by Holm and Kull recently issued the “Federal Knowledge Management Initiatives Roadmap,” which calls for governmentwide adoption of knowledge management principles.

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