Geert Willems

Geert Willems

maandag 2 januari 2012

het nieuwe werken / new way of working and knowledge management

What is the connection between the “new way of working / het nieuwe werken” and knowledge management?
That is a question I’m getting asked more and more these days.
For once, it is possible to give a clear answer. That is not always the case in the world of knowledge management, but this time it is possible.
As knowledge management can support all functions within an organization, the new way of working does the same – but in less extend.
The new way of working though can also support knowledge management.
Knowledge management is built on three pillars: people, processes and technology – supporting knowledge.
The new way of working is also built on three pillars: working place, culture and technology.
So in both, the new way of working and knowledge management, technology is one of the pillars. The guideline to use technology in both is the same: first asses the needs that can be answered by technology, only than select your technological solution. Still too often a technology is chosen and then forced into an organization, resulting in project failure, or an introduction that will not be adopted by the organization.
On the website a vast overview of the three pillars in knowledge management is given.  The physical organization of the working place is one of the items defined as supporting knowledge management. One of the first steps I always do, before starting a knowledge management initiative, is to check the boundary conditions of knowledge management. One of these boundary conditions is the organization of the working place.
And the third pillar of the new way of working / het nieuwe werken is the culture, which eventually is mapped on the people pillar within knowledge management.
One can say that the technology pillar in both the new way of working / het nieuwe werken is handled in the same philosophy. But in knowledge management we go one step further – handling the knowledge of the people as an explicit goal. One  can say that knowledge management fits in the philosophy of the technological approach of the new way of working / het nieuwe werken.
For the pillars culture/people one can say that the knowledge management approach is more specific and already includes the cultural approach. In fact the pillar working place is present in the people approach within knowledge management.
The pillar processes is as such not explicit in the new way of working / het nieuwe werken.
In fact, when I heard of the new way of working / het nieuwe werken, I was very surprised by this definition, since within knowledge management this new way of working is already very old. It was already present since the beginning of knowledge management.
But, I’m happy with all the attention the new way of working is receiving, since this approach fits 100% in what we, as knowledge manager already tackle. Making this part of knowledge management more explicit, makes it more acceptable and easier for us to change a few things in the company for the good, and to facilitates a more easy knowledge management implementation – and for at least a part, a common base to start conversation with companies for who knowledge management is still a strange, unknown area…
I could summarize this roughly: the new way of working / het nieuwe werken was already present for decades in the knowledge management approach.

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