Resources Articles

Using Knowledge Management Software to Foster Innovation

Kristen Craft | April 3, 2019

This guest post comes to us from business and technology writer, Stephanie Nadine. Her articles are informed by seeing how different businesses are run, as well as seeing the diverse leadership styles used by managers and CEOs. She enjoys writing about how technology can influence company culture and employee motivation.

In a fast-moving company, managers and leaders don’t have time to micromanage everyone else’s work. Nor should they; the people on the front lines may have better ideas about how to do things than their managers. To be truly effective, those at the top must encourage everyone on the team to develop and share new best practices that’ll push company growth.

One way of encouraging the development and dissemination of new ideas is with knowledge management, or the practice of making sure people are documenting and sharing what they know. Proper knowledge management comes with many benefits such as less repetition, easier access to important info, and consistency around operational tasks. Less commonly discussed, but also valuable is the fact that knowledge management software can help team members put forward new ideas.

Why Knowledge Management Fosters Innovation

In an ideal world, everyone on your team contributes to innovation. After all, everyone has a different view on the business, and therefore, different perspectives on how to operate better. But at many companies, employees don’t feel empowered to contribute. Forbes notes that the best ideas can often get stuck in the climb from the bottom to the top of the management hierarchy.

Companies may overlook that they already have great ideas bouncing around, specifically because certain people get overlooked. Innovation and out of the box thinking can come from anywhere. For example, shortcuts made by employees around the company’s bureaucracy is an example of an innovation being implemented to save time and maximize productivity – albeit done discreetly. Given the freedom and platforms to speak out, innovation can come from the unlikeliest of places. Rather than push back against this, leaders should encourage this type of innovation and guide employees to use it in other parts of the company.

Furthermore, certain business trends make it even more important that people have an outlet for new ideas. As more and more companies go remote, it’s vital that people can innovate together outside of a traditional office structure. A company wiki offers a specific channel in which to ask questions or offer solutions. With a systematic approach to asynchronous communication, remote teams won’t lose out on good ideas.

How to Get Everyone Involved

First, it is worth noting that employee motivation is essential to the practice of good knowledge management. Over time, people will gain a feeling of intrinsic motivation. They’ll start to realize that they were able to work more efficiently because they could find the info they needed in the team’s knowledge management system.

Some teams also incentivize the use of knowledge management software, since they know it’s an investment in the team’s future success. Knowledge Management expert, Stan Garfield, describes in his post, “10 Types of Knowledge Management Strategies” how rewards can help achieve desired behaviors. Motivated employees should know what is expected from them and be recognized for their achievements. The right motivation, aligned with the company’s culture and values, can unlock innovation by providing an environment where employees are encouraged to share their ideas.

Implementing Knowledge Management Software

There are many different types of knowledge management software. This post will help you pick one that’s right for your team. Choosing the right one is critical to its success and to your company’s ability to innovate. Not every solution is a perfect fit. A team’s needs can depend on the work they do, the type of product or service they provide, and the number of people on the team. There is no doubt, however, that all companies can benefit from the innovations and improvements to company culture that knowledge management brings.