Getting Started

If knowledge management (KM) is new to you, the first set of tabs in this toolkit will help you understand what KM is and provide guidelines on how to make the case for including KM in your program or organization. 

Once you have a basic understanding of KM, you may then ask yourself: “Where do I start?” This section provides you with some basic information and tools to answer that question. Here are the steps to follow: 

First, you need to understand the knowledge gaps and the intended goal of the KM program. Any new initiative requires a culture shift, or in some cases, a complete change. KM is no different. Organizations and networks are challenged to create an environment where individual knowledge is valued, and  to articulate the value of sharing that knowledge with the entire organization. Implementing a KM system takes time and effort. 

Next, you can proceed by doing a knowledge audit, figuring out what kind of KM intervention(s) is needed, securing resources (financial, technical, and human), conducting pilot tests, measuring and evaluating the pilots, and sharing lessons learned along the way. In reviewing the results of the knowledge audit, it is important to reflect on your KM model and the pathways to your intended outcome(s).

Implementation involves more than simply handing off the project to information technology specialists or external software vendors who promise results. As mentioned on the About KM page, KM relies on people first, then process, and then technology. Implementing KM is a broad endeavor that cannot be accomplished with technology and equipment alone.

A KM effort also benefits from an in-house champion who is responsible for furthering the initiative and promoting its merits to management as well as to all staff. He or she works with the organization or network to provide resources, offer support, and encourage people to participate. See the making the case section for more on securing buy-in from management.