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Consortium for Service Innovation

5) Collective Ownership

Leveraging the Best We Know to Date

Collective ownership relates to all four of the KCS Principles and the observation that the best people to create and maintain the knowledge are those who use it every day. Some might say that collective ownership amounts to "no ownership." They would be correct in a traditional, linear, simplistic view.  However, the power of the double loop process is that it allows for situational conditions and is self-correcting.

  • In the moment of use, the Solve Loop: the knowledge worker who is using the knowledge is responsible for its quality and accuracy. It must be appropriate for the situation and it is the knowledge worker's responsibility in the Solve Loop to make that judgment.
  • In the bigger picture, the Evolve Loop: the collection of events that happens in the Solve Loop. The Evolve Loop focuses on the organization's value in having visibility to Solve Loop events, and seeks to assess and improve the health of the collective experience captured in the Solve Loop.

The Solve Loop is the task at hand.  The Evolve Loop is the collective experience of all those tasks. 

KCS is owned collectively by all who interact with the knowledge. 

Collective ownership is a key driver of the efficiency of the KCS processes and contributes to knowledge quality and freshness. If knowledge workers take responsibility for the quality and accuracy of the knowledge they interact with, the knowledge that is being used is constantly being updated.

The concept of collective ownership applies to all who use the knowledge.  In environments where the intended audience for knowledge includes people outside of the organization, like partners or customers, they too are part of the collective ownership model. Allowing them to improve or at least comment on knowledge, based on their experience with that knowledge, is important.

Knowledge-Centered Service is about value creation through knowledge. The requestor (or customer) only realizes value if they do something with the knowledge: they must take some action. The idea of co-creation of value comes from some academic work done by Robert Lusch and Stephen Vargo, documented in their book Service-Dominant Logic. Vargo and Lusch propose that value realization in a service business is quite different from value realization in a product business. In service, the customer plays a significant role in value realization. In KCS, the requestor plays a significant role in value realization from knowledge and therefore must be considered within the scope of collective ownership.


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