Designing Organizational Memory Page
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email@example.comCogNexus Institutehttp://cognexus.org interchangeable. Moreover, organizations acquired assets through capital,depreciated them, and finally sold or junked them.The dominant asset of the knowledge organization, however, is knowledge.Intellectual assets belong inherently to people, and are the organization’s assetsonly through their application, capture, and reuse. If the people are unhappy,unmotivated, or unskilled in the art of collaboration, their precious intellectualassets are, from the organization’s perspective, wasted. When these people leave,a valuable asset leaves with them.Knowledge is the key asset of the knowledge organization. Organizationalmemory extends and amplifies this asset by capturing, organizing, disseminating,and reusing the knowledge created by its employees.
There are good reasons to pursue creating organizational memory
. If a person hada memory like the average organization, we would think he was very stupid, or suffering from a neurological disorder. Organizations routinely “forget” whatthey have done in the past and why they have done it. These organizations havean impaired capacity to learn, due to an inability to represent critical aspects of what they know.But organizational memory is not just a facility for accumulating and preserving but also for sharing knowledge. As knowledge is made explicit and managed itaugments the organizational intellect, becoming a basis for communication andlearning. It can be shared among individuals working alone, by teams needing a project memory, and by the organization as a whole for
coordination and communication. “Given the nature of organizations and thecompetitive environment within which they exist, organizational learning and theaccumulation of knowledge will be source of immediate health as well as long-term survival.” (McMaster, 1995, p. 113)
is simply organizational memory for a project team; it has a morelimited scope than organizational memory, but it is easier to implement and its benefits are easier to measure. This paper explores the design of project memoryas an evolutionary stepping stone to organizational memory
. The keycontribution of this paper is the power of using a
in meetings as a
The term “organizational memory” is sometimes used to refer to whatever exists todayin the way of social conventions, individuals’ memories, etc. In this paper the termrefers to a new capacity for organizations, an augmented memory that is based oninformation technology.
Overall, I will use the broader term “organizational memory” for the general discussionin Part One, and the narrower term “project memory” in the Part Two.