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Consortium for Service Innovation

Appendix H: The "Why" Behind Each Practice

Created in the spring of 2023 by a group of Consortium Members who were looking for a way to describe what was important behind each Practice.

  • Use these in a communication plan to get buy-in and understanding.
  • Refer to these as a sanity-check while designing a KCS program for your environment.
  • Each Practice links to its section in the Practices Guide for more detail.

The Solve Loop


Capture and share knowledge in the moment, and in the context of the question-asker, because otherwise the solution is hard to find (or recreate) later.

  • Capture Knowledge in the Moment because that's when the context is clearest, and when we are able to access tacit knowledge.
  • Capture the Requestor's Context because that's what improves recognizability and findability.
  • Searching is Creating: that's where gaps are immediately identified.


Structure knowledge in a consistent way to ensure readability and usability.

  • Use A Simple Template because it supports both usability and readability. Knowing where to look for, and where to put, specific pieces of information improves efficiency.
  • We use Complete Thoughts Not Complete Sentences because simple is better. A list of single, complete thoughts improves article "capture-ability" and readability, especially for those users whose native language is not the language in which the article is written (it also supports machine translation).


Reuse knowledge to avoid rework and identify pervasive issues that are candidates for corrective action.

  • Search Early, Search Often because we want to stop solving the same problems over and over: search first so that we aren't doing work that has already been done. Let's make use of the latest knowledge that's been captured.
  • Seek to Understand What We Collectively Know because no one knows everything! Now we have a way to access the collective wisdom.
  • We Link (or Attach) because we want to glean insights about the questions we're being asked. We want to know what knowledge we're using so we can understand the big picture of what is happening (and make improvements)!


Improve knowledge while interacting with it to keep what’s getting used up to date.

  • Reuse is Review means we're only paying attention to knowledge that is getting used, while we have the context to improve it.
  • Flag It or Fix It because we own the knowledge collectively!  Apply the campsite rule: leave knowledge in at least as good a state as you found it.
  • License to Modify: this is how we enable people to fix the knowledge they're interacting with. We own (and maintain) the knowledge collectively!

The Evolve Loop

Content Health

Content Health gives us a way to communicate what we want the evolution of our knowledge to look like.

  • We use a KCS Article Structure because we are capturing for (re)usability and readability. The article structure provides consistency for both readers and writers, and supports reporting, data driven insights, and allows us to "chunk" content for use in other ways (including machine translation).
  • KCS Article States allow us to manage and identify the quality of the article we're looking at (from the perspectives of audience, compliance, and confidence) and give us a way to capture our experience regardless of its completeness.
  • Developing a Content Standard is important because it allows us to maintain consistency in process, voice, and structure (and keeps us out of legal trouble). It defines what "good" looks like for us and acts as a guide for training.
  • Creating Evolve Loop Articles is important because we want to look at trends and patterns to create/improve/promote often-visited or timely (or other high-value) articles.
  • Archiving Old Articles gives us a way to maintain relevance of the knowledge base.
  • The way we Deal With Legacy Data is important because we don't want to import unstructured content without context to our knowledge base: it's not searchable or usable.
  • The way we Prime the Knowledge Base With New Information is important because it models how we want to create content going forward: based on the context of use, and rapidly fixing when we receive feedback.
  • Global (multi-language) Support Considerations are important because it sure has a lot to do with context! Customer context + demand driven will identify need.
  • Knowledge Domain Analysis work is important because we want to be identifying and taking action on the things we're learning in the Solve Loop. This analysis captures the complexity inherent in our processes and tools that the Solve Loop has difficulty identifying.
  • Content Health Indicators are important because we want to know how often we did the right thing. These indicators help us identify how we can better follow the Content Standard and workflow.
  • Self-Service Success should be encouraged because we want our requestors to have access to answers in the easiest way (and to stop solving the same problems over and over)!
  • Self-Service Measures are important because we want to know how well requestors are able to access our known answers. An improvement in Self-Service Measures is one way we know we are attaining our intended outcomes.

Process Integration

Process Integration says we want to integrate knowledge management activities into our workflow and make that workflow easy, intuitive, and repeatable through the functionality and integration of our tools.

  • Structured Problem Solving is important because it reinforces the use and development of knowledge in the workflow: this is the way we do our work. It enables a level of consistency and effectiveness in the workflow and is reflected by quality and ease of reuse.
  • Seamless Technology Integration is important because our tools need to facilitate the way we want to work. We want to make the right thing to do the easiest thing to do. Integrating tools reinforces the integration of knowledge as the way we are solving problems.
  • Search Technology for KCS is important because it facilitates the ability to find and reuse knowledge based on the customer context.
  • Closed Loop Feedback for the Whole System is important because we want to know what we are learning from both the Solve Loop and the Evolve Loop.  It informs our capabilities to iteratively improve in reaction to what is happening (demand-driven!). This includes both how we can improve AND what we are doing well (visibility to impact is what keeps the loops going).
  • KCS Process Adherence Review is important because we want to know how often and how well we are contributing to the Solve Loop. How often did we do the right thing?

Performance Assessment

Performance Assessment allows us to promote learning and growth for individuals and teams and assess the success of the KCS program.

  • KCS Roles and the Licensing Model is important because it provides a framework for proficiency demonstration and responsibility distribution. KCS is not a free-for-all: the licensing model is a risk mitigation strategy to make sure that everyone in the system understands their ownership of the knowledge base.
  • Coaching for Success is important because we can't improve in a vacuum. It helps change stick; coaches are change agents. Coaching sessions are an opportunity to practice new skills IN THE CONTEXT of doing the actual job.
  • Assessing the Creation of Value is important because there is no one number that will let us know if we are being successful. We want to be able to identify individuals and teams who are doing the right things and contributing to our intended outcomes.

Leadership and Communication

Leadership and Communication promotes an understanding of why KCS is important and ensures those involved understand how their participation and contribution makes a difference in the context of the big picture.

  • Developing and Communicating a Vision is important because we're looking to establish a common ground/goal and create organizational alignment and sustainability. "We want everyone to be excited about the same thing, over the long-term, and which empowers us to work smarter."
  • Creating a Strategic Framework is important because we want to explicitly describe how KCS outcomes get you to organizational goals. How is KCS going to help? Write down (and talk about) the desired big picture.
  • Identifying KCS Benefits and ROI is important because we want to know that the system is working as intended: we want to prove that we are having the impact we thought we would!
  • Promoting Teamwork is important because knowledge-sharing is a mindset, and KCS is a team sport.
  • Tapping into Internal Motivators is important because judgment is required. KCS is inherently a change management initiative: sustained change has to come from within.
  • Recognition Programs are important because we want to celebrate what is working. Recognition programs SHOULD BE DESIGNED to support intrinsic motivations.
  • Communication is the Key because we're looking to establish a common ground/goal. Making and sustaining change is driven by communication.
  • Leadership Accountability to the Knowledge Worker is important because keeping our promises to the knowledge workers is how we build trust, and how we make sure the change sticks.
  • Leadership and Communication Indicators are important because they allow us to 1) receive feedback 2) demonstrate that our KCS activities are resulting in the outcomes we want

Special Thanks

This project was born out of a Consortium Member session called "KCS with No Staff, No Funding, No Time, and Bad Tools" and reflects the collected experience of the following people.  Thanks to each of them for their perspective and feedback!

  • Tamara Amlung, pro accessio
  • Arnfinn Austefjord, Consortium
  • Denise Baldwin, SDL
  • Jennifer Crippen, DB Kay & Associates
  • Arun Daniel, Dell
  • Judith de Jong, SDL
  • Karen Eisen, Alida
  • Sara Feldman, Consortium
  • Victor Feyen, Topdesk
  • David Hahn, Humana
  • Bret Halford, SAP
  • Jenna Hoffman, Intel
  • Gerald Joiner, Humana
  • Terry Kim, SDL
  • Kelly Murray, Consortium
  • Mitzi Newland, PAR
  • Jason O'Donnell, Autodesk
  • Nikki Peck, Humana
  • Matt Seaman, Consortium
  • Christian Tobbe, Humana
  • Carla Verwijs, Sequal
  • Jacob Watts, PAR
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