Knowledge maps serve to record and visualize existing knowledge resources in a structured way. Identifying and allocating knowledge ensures that a transparent and graphic directory of available experts, knowledge databases, structures and applications can be set up.
The goal of knowledge maps is to record close explicit (conscious) as well as implicit (intuitive, not conscious) knowledge. They assist in the orientation within the organization and make the knowledge required for a solution process usable. Knowledge maps themselves do not contain any knowledge but point the way to knowledge.
In general the following knowledge maps are available:
- Knowledge holder maps,
- Knowledge base maps,
- Knowledge structure maps,
- Knowledge application maps,
- Knowledge development maps.
Knowledge holder maps refer to persons and their respective subject matter areas within an organization. In addition, information such as location, qualification and core competencies can be provided.
Knowledge base maps expand the knowledge holder maps by referring to codified knowledge such as documents, databases etc.
Knowledge structure maps illustrate complex topics. They represent the relationships, connections and dependencies of content and issues.
Knowledge application maps describe the procedure within a process in terms of time and structure. In addition, they link the respective process phases with the associated knowledge holders.
Knowledge development maps in contrast describe the competencies required for the processes that are important for the optimization and execution of organizational processes. Accordingly they indicate the course of knowledge development.
1. Record the level of knowledge
In a first step, the real level of knowledge must be recorded. Knowledge holders, knowledge bases and knowledge-intensive processes must be recorded. This will identify existing knowledge gaps.
The knowledge bases can, for instance, be recorded with the following tools: questionnaires, departmental meetings or workshops held over several days. In addition to employee surveys, the actual knowledge bases such as documents, e-mails and call notes must be viewed carefully because they can also contain important information.
2. Model knowledge
The knowledge to be depicted must then be modeled; it must be brought into an accessible form to ensure systematic access. The bases must be catalogued and given meaningful names. This can, for example, be operationalized with the use of a table (see template).
The form of knowledge map that is most suitable for depicting the knowledge to be represented is then determined. A catalogue structure or a network structure, such as a mind map (see example) is suitable for this.
3. Realizing knowledge maps technically
The third step involves the technical realization of knowledge maps. The knowledge map is mostly integrated into existing business process systems by means of technical elements. Navigation elements, such as overviews or search engines within the knowledge map, are added in this step. Additional information, such as contact details or discussion fora, is also provided here.
4. Maintenance and updating
The final step is the ongoing updating, expanding and correction of the knowledge bases. It has been proven that clear personnel responsibilities need to be determined here. This will ensure that the information provided is reliable. The success of the knowledge map can be evaluated with the aid of quality-assurance criteria (functional, cognitive, technical and structural).
- Phase 1 – Core group capable of acting strategically:
- Competence: Reveal competencies; find core group
- Communication: Develop and ensure stable communication and knowledge flow
- Capability: Link central actors and competencies
- Phase 2 – Agenda Setting:
- Competence: Record the knowledge base; identify knowledge requirements
- Communication: Develop and provide information
- Phase 4 – Implementation:
- Competence: Correct use of technical knowledge; establish processes and solution proposals
- Communication: Instructions for implementing reforms
- Capability: Create clear responsibilities; this will enable knowledge transfer
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Mittelman, Angelika. Werkzeugkasten Wissensmanagement. Norderstedt 2011.
Kraemer, Susanne. „Wissenslandkarten im Wissensmanagement“. 2006. server02.is.uni-sb.de/seminare/wima/dl_relounch_06_04_12/Wissenslandkarten.pdf (Downloaded 11.03.2013).