Collective Ownership in the Solve Loop
One of the Core Concepts of KCS is collective ownership. The concept, while sometimes tricky, is not unique to KCS. For example, Switzerland is recognized as one of the cleanest countries in the world; it is pristine. How do they do that? Turns out it is a result of collective ownership. In Switzerland if you see trash, you pick it up. It's that simple. The Swiss do not have a bigger budget for clean up crews or more street cleaners than other countries. What they have is a value they have all bought into about a litter-free environment.
This is the same principle we see in the KCS Practices. The collective ownership concept is an Evolve Loop thing; at the systemic level we all own the knowledge base. It is our collective experience. At the Solve Loop, or event level, it means I am responsible for the quality of the articles I interact with. The following Solve Loop techniques all represent the collective ownership value at the behavior level:
- Create an article if one doesn't exist, modify it if it does
- Update article states as appropriate
- Flag it or fix it
- Reuse is review
Judgment is Required
A common myth about a knowledge management practice is the idea that a good knowledge base will allow the organization to deliver issue resolution using lower skilled, lower cost resources. In KCS this is not the case. We can see from the Solve Loop practices of reuse, improve, and create that we need people who consistently exercise good judgment. If, in the process of solving an issue, we find a KCS article we feel resolves the issue, we should review the article to ensure that it is relevant and accurate. We must exercise judgment, and we are responsible for the advice we give. If we are uncertain about a situation, we need to get a second opinion, just as we would before KCS. The knowledge base does not reduce the need for good judgment. In fact, the need for good judgment increases.