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Consortium for Service Innovation

Technique 3.1: Search Early Search Often

We seek to understand before we seek to solve.

Searching the knowledge base must become an integral part of all knowledge worker processes—search early, search often. The best practice for information capture is to search the knowledge base in real-time. The words and phrases we use to search are potential content to improve an existing article or to create a new article, if one doesn't already exist. Once we have captured a description of the issue and some information about the environment, we have enough context about the issue to search. By listening and searching early based on the requestor's description of the issue, we ensure we understand the issue as the requestor sees it and we minimize the risk of investing time in problem analysis and research on an issue that has already been solved.

Searching often is important because as we are working on the issue and learning more about the situation, we need to search using the new information to see what we collectively know about this or similar issues.

Searching is not a one-time event but rather something that is done throughout the request-resolution process. The advantages of searching often include the following.

  • As new information is collected, a search should be done to see if a knowledge article about this issue or a similar issue exists. 
  • The articles found in a search, even if they don't directly address the issue at hand, can provide helpful perspectives from similar issues. This can provide ideas on how others have solved similar issues and help us identify clarifying questions.
  • It is particularly important to search the knowledge base one more time, before we save a new article, to be sure one doesn't already exist. 
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