Perhaps this is why knowledge sharing is either difficult, or fails?

In about 1,5 hours, I will go present to a network I’m part of. It’s about knowledge sharing. Or rather, that’s one part of it.

I come from a technical background, with a special interest in solutions for knowledge sharing, collaboration and communication. The technical platforms which let people think, do and talk. In other words, the essentials of daily work – at least to me.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about why it is that sharing knowledge is often so hard. Why knowledge sharing is often hard, time consuming, costly and a lot of people participate, but don’t necessarily benefit much from it.

Besides the obvious challenges, when collaboration and knowledge sharing happens with no top leadership mandate, lacks strategy, peoples competencies are not there, or the corporate environment simply doesn’t support it, it would seem that sharing knowledge is often a one way street.

Most of us share our knowledge, in some form or way, every day we go to work, and that’s a good thing.

But…

  • Where do we share to?
  • With whom do we share?
  • How do we share?
  • How do we think about the word share, today?

Sharing used to be something we experienced together. I have a gut feeling though, that sharing has somehow transformed to “me giving something to the world”, without thinking about “how do I help the world use what I just shared ?”.

The questions are interesting to me, because it has led me to further questions:

  • What happens when that knowledge has been shared ?
  • Who consumes, uses and build upon that knowledge ?

Well, if the right systems and processes are in place, the obvious answer should be: Everyone relevant to that particular knowledge.

  • Even if other people can find it, do they?
  • If they find it, are they actually able to learn anything from it?

And bingo. There was my cue.

Perhaps knowledge sharing initiatives are hard to make a success, because when you share, but don’t receive and learn, half of the recipe for success is missing !?

A lot of forward thinking companies have knowledge management, knowledge sharing tools and strategies, and it’s all very fancy.

But where is the learning strategy?

Do you have one ? Do you know of any good ones ? Is yours simply an integrated part of your knowledge strategy?

I would love to hear from you whether you agree or disagree, or if you know of companies which implemented both sides of the coin.

The knowledge sharing, and the learning.

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