OD and KM - Perfect Together

A little alphabet soup again, eh?

This time the topic is knowledge management. At Jack Vinson's blog, he has an entry about how KM and OD (organization development) can and should work together.

I agree. But in actual practice, I think the reality is often quite different, where the OD folks and the KM folks are in different rooms . . . actually different realms.

Last year (in February of 2004), I had the opportunity to hear a talk by Stephan Kudyba, founder of Null Sigma Inc and professor at NJIT (and author of Data Mining and Business Intelligence: A Guide to Productivity, Information Technology, Corporate Productivity and the New Economy).

Kudyba takes a strategic view of both KM and OD and says that both should be involved in the pursuit of productivity gains and innovation. Here are a couple of excerpts from his thinking.

On KM, Kudyba is clear on the strategic nature of the endeavor:

"A knowledge-management initiative is a strategic plan that seeks to develop and utilize the existing assets of knowledge and experience of individuals within an organization in order to enhance a business process. It attempts to make employee knowledge and experience more accessible and available to those that require it in a timely manner."

With regard to OD, Kudyba sees a direct linkage:

"Organizations are increasingly realizing that one of the most important resources, perhaps the most important, is the people that make it tick. Each employee has a set of skills and talents that needs to be appropriately allocated within a firm's operations. Additionally, with proper training, guidance and collaboration, employee skills can be enhanced to better suit the continuously evolving corporate structure."

The challenge for OD practitioners is to find ways to partner with the IT specialists who so often sit in the KM driver's seat. Goodness knows, the OD folks are needed when it comes to KM projects.


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