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intellectual capital is a key point to adding value both economically and to a company as well. The criteria now is whether companies and institutions are able to find the organisational and human innovation which will allow the knowledge virus to spread into all company procedures. Can one expect to see a second generation of knowledge management, and what form will it take?
Taking the French utility EDF (Electricity of France) as an example, let us describe the transformation taking place in the knowledge management approach.
In the year 1990’s the first KM projects came into existence in many industrial organizations. It was the first age of knowledge management in many firms around the world. Since company first began experimenting with KM in the 1990s. Using the experiences of Electricité de France as an example. Jean-François Ballay describes that how knowledge management has evolved and reveals the companies ‘percolation’ strategy has helped to knowledge sharing throughout the organisation as a whole. The main features were, firms have always worked to capture and share their knowledge through various structures, processes, products and documentation, existing business procedures didn’t focus on knowledge. But they rely on more tangible notions to do with products and services. Knowledge was active as a process but on a more intangible.
companies and institutions need to empower and leverage their knowledge by every means possible to create value and increase profits in the organization. It remains a difficult task, however, as knowledge is not dealt with explicitly by company accounts, financial reports, nor by management boards. The question now is whether firms and institutions are going to be able to foster a greater understanding of the role of knowledge and spread that understanding across all aspects of organisational procedure ? Taking the French utility Electricité de France (EDF) as a case study, we can see how this transformation is taking place.
The knowledge-management culture in EDF is leveraged fairly.
1st its KM community a network of about 700 knowledge managers sharing lessons learnt from KM projects that have taken place all over the firm.
2nd , through KM seminars, expertise in knowledge management is distributed to the firm’s managers, helping them to embed a knowledge culture in every business process. This is a significant eg. of what a ‘percolation strategy’.
Compared to late 1990s, computer technologies are standard formed a very different to the one we see now, the web portals and other communication networks didn’t exist at that time. Everyday activities were printed and transferred to only limited number of people, and as soon as they became out date they were stored in archives or centralised documentation systems that were often difficult to access. This is the context in which the first knowledge-management projects took place. At EDF for eg, those in charge of the Electrical Equipment department noticed a number of problems liable to affect production and innovation processes. These problems were linked to intangible resources information, knowledge and competence.