Karl-Erik Sveiby view of Knowledge Management

Sveiby defines knowledge management as the art of creating value by leveraging intangible assets (Bennet 1). Sveiby refers particularly to collective knowledge within a company or organization. He is referring to the ability to organize these varying knowledge based individuals into something useful to produce outputs for the company. Sveiby also distances true knowledge management from quality assurance initiatives like Six Sigma or TQM. He argues that while quality assurance initiative focuses on the application unto a certain area, knowledge management is more of an overall perspective of entire firm. This point is a very appropriate definition for knowledge management. So it is more of overall strategic process to formulate methodologies depending on the available knowledge based from human resources in relation to what customer needs. According to Sveiby, while the American way focuses on harnessing the knowledge and storing them so that it can be used by other people, his knowledge management focuses on people, or what he termed as people oriented approach. Sveiby does not believe on the effectiveness of the KM that he refers to as the American way. From what can be deciphered from Sveiby’s argument, the American approach of KM is something that is very much dependent on the IT for storing and retrieving previously collected knowledge. From Sveiby’s perspective, these stored knowledge collections are useless without people who are able to understand it. To him these stored knowledge are just mere information, it requires intelligence to make it into knowledge, where it becomes an application. Thus he focuses more on the knowledge embodied by each person or individual within a group. If we look at the logic regarding the storage of knowledge to what he calls as the American way, there is now way to store complex information without the need for another person to spend time to learn it when he wants to use it. These storing of previous processes and information are only applicable to simple and dynamic task. So in a company where development processes are complex, without the person who stored this knowledge is like going back to square one. You have to train somebody to learn how to make use of this stored information.

Knowledge Management Passion

Sveiby compared his passion for Knowledge Management to research, where seeking new things interest you the most (Bennet, 1).  He discussed his experience regarding how they were able to produce new creative outputs through what they call back then as competence-based strategy. Some people may have been fueled by the same passion when dealing with knowledge management, to seek new ways to make a resource of knowledge create outputs that satisfy customers. Although there is another aspect that might not been fully described by Sveiby, again like researchers, there is fun in being able to understand new variations of knowledge resource around you. Again this can be likened to research where you try to understand things from something that is new to you, which is implied by Sveiby’s discussion. Passion for Knowledge Management is I think one very important factor that a leader must possess in order to be successful. Without these passion, creativity falls because of lack drive, and the organization of knowledge will not be optimized. Like Sveiby, passion has guided him throughout his work, to deal with people around him, and to develop educational and development tools like simulations.

Sources of Creative Ideas

Another important topic discussed here in this record of interview is the idea of where creativity comes from. Creativity is a very important characteristic that a person must possess whatever field he is dealing and this includes knowledge management. Sveiby describe his source of idea as a realm, outside the realm (Bennet, 1). Sveiby actually refers what he does outside of knowledge management for example his involvement with Reiki provides him with some creative ideas. He also pointed out somewhere in the interview that we can also gather new ideas from the collection of information that we gather from other people. That is why according to him, he shares his ideas openly to people for free, because other people might find more creative ideas from this ideas. Also as a form of returning this information because ideas belongs to humanity not to a single person.

Although to me creativity is inherent to one the person, creativity varies from one person to another. The information you get from outside are just inputs, these are processed by your creativity to produce a useful knowledge. So the outside realm is not really a source of creative ideas, creativity comes from those unique synapses of your brain, that bring out as many random ideas as possible, and being able to hone into one that is applicable for the given inputs that you get from external sources.


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