We all have some knowledge: the ability to take action on information. It is interesting to consider a few questions about the knowledge that we have in our heads:
How did we get the knowledge we have?
When do we stop learning?
How confident are we in our knowledge - are we ever one hundred percent confident in what we "know"?
How do we gain confidence in what we know?
We gain knowledge through interaction and experience. Most of us would agree that we are never absolutely certain about our knowledge because in fact we never stop learning. We are constantly gaining new perspectives and enhancing what we know. And we gain confidence in what we know by trying it, the same way we gain it initially, through experience. We do not systematically get a subject matter expert to review our knowledge and tell us what is good and what isn't.
When considering the attributes of knowledge we could say knowledge is:
Gained through interaction and experience
Constantly changing (we never stop learning)
Never 100% complete or 100% accurate
Validated through use, experience and interaction (not by subject matter experts)
Is this what people in our organization expect when we say we are implementing a knowledge base or a knowledge management practice? Do they expect it to be created as a result of interaction and experience, constantly changing, never complete, not absolutely accurate, and validated through use? Usually not! Unfortunately, people's expectation of a knowledge base or a knowledge management system is perfect, pristine knowledge approved by experts. We have to change people's expectations if we really want to capitalize on the collective experience of the organization.