What is a Knowledge Inventory?

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If you’ve ever cooked anything, or attempted to like i have. The first thing you need to do is take a look at the recipe ( the knowledge audit ) . Once you’ve done that you need to make a list of the various ingredient ( the knowledge inventory ) . Unless you do this you might end up with something completely different from what you started out trying to accomplish.

So what is a knowledge inventory? well, as the name suggests its a kind of stock taking to identify and locate knowledge assets around the organization. This includes the explicit and the very difficult to locate tacit knowledge sources.

The best way to make a comprehensive list of knowledge sources is to segregate it by explicit and tacit knowledge.

Some of the questions you might want to ask when identifying explicit knowledge sources are :

  • What explicit knowledge already exists? – categories of documents, databases, intranet libraries, links etc.
  • Where this knowledge is located? – locations in the organizations and the various systems that house the information.
  • Access and Organization – How is the knowledge structured and how easy of difficult is it for people to locate this information, and do they have access to it as well.
  • Purpose and relevance – why does the information exist? how relevant is it to the users?
  • Usage – who uses them? how often ?

Identifying tacit knowledge sources is an entirely different proposition. Unlike explicit knowledge, tacit knowledge is much more difficult to quantify. Though there are a few questions you could ask to create a rough map of where it exists.

  • Who we have – The numbers and categories of people working in the organization.
  • Where they are – Identifying where people are located is extremely important when building a tacit knowledge map
  • What they do and what they know – job profiles, expertise areas and so on.

The above questions should give you an excellent place to start collating the list of knowledge sources you have in your organization. Once this is done you can move on to the next step of identifying the gaps after comparing this information to the information you’ve garnered from the knowledge audit.

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