Human Connection: A Powerful Source of Knowledge



“Connection, not collection: That’s the essence of knowledge management.”

–Tom Stewart, The Wealth of Knowledge

Relationship management is an important part of a knowledge management strategy. People are incredible sources of knowledge and information. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) in their research on innovation argue that the knowledge creation process begins with the individual. With this in mind increasing the number of connections people have to the expertise of others enhances an organization’s ability to innovate.

Too often when organizations seek to solve problems or be more innovative, they fail to take account of the expertise residing within the organization. Many firms seek to instead tap the talents of a small vetted group of “experts”; or they turn to proprietary databases and journals for insight. The danger in this is that these resources are often mistaken as the sole sources of knowledge, thus  leaving an immense source of organizational knowledge untapped.

A sound knowledge management strategy should seek to:
  • Identify the sources of tacit knowledge residing inside the organization
  • Document and categorize the  individual skill and knowledge areas of staff
  • Connect people to the expertise of others by increasing the opportunities to collaborate and collectively problem solve
  • Provide visibility to work being conducted thus enabling the flow of ideas across the organization