Why the push for KM in Aerospace and, to a lesser degree, in business in general?
Let's look just one problem in Aerospace: As of Jan, 2007 50% of aerospace engineers are eligible to retire...  Point made. (There were more excellent points made, I chose this one.)

A common framework used by academics and KM practitioners breaks into four stages:

Knowledge creation
Knowledge Storage and retrieval
Knowledge transfer
Knowledge application

This presentation looks at KM in light of systems theory - a System is an entity which maintains its existence through mutual interaction of its parts. Citation: Ludwig von Bertalanffy

Research presentation focused on case study of Pratt-Whitney Rocketdyne and how they successfully addresses the area of Knowledge Application - founded on Systems Thinking.  KM Initiative founded on systems thinking. $2.5M invested in KM initiative, $25M savings realized.

Problem at PWR: Lots of good knowledge at PWR but how to move it from head to head.

The systems theory thinking about KM allowed PWR to move away from viewing KM as separate stages or processes to viewing the organization as and integrated set of people, technology, and processes that interact and influence each other as a system.
Step 1. Determine state of knowledge processes (look at desired and undesired states along with associated behavior)
(Note to self: Ask Kiho for slides, good overview of a structured KM program)
Step 2. Identify and classify existing KM systems (Open and closed) to create a KM portfolio
Implemented brown-bag lunch seminars with storytelling; share fairs (19 teams) for knowledge sharing within the organization.

Step 3. Identify behaviors associates with states.
Existing A. knowledge not found > B. Redundant knowledge created > C. Knowledge unstored > D. Knowledge stored in silos
Step 4. Identify over-arching themes (Snapshot solutions existed, often unknown, Absence of generative learning.)
Step 5. Implement systemic KM environment
(People finder, knowledge yellow pages, shared storage. Implemented semantic search across knowledge stores.)

[I need to look into a USB cable for my brain so that I can blog as I think; faster than typing. Someday...]

Research Implications

Systemic behaviors & states are important to KM
Value-added & Systemic KM environments are.... (Slide change)

KM systems propositions:
1. KM systems evolve and mature in stages typical of other Information systems
2. Design of KM systems as dynamic systems will lead to advanced stages {of knowledge development]

Graphic: Stages of Systems Thinking KMS Implementation

Overall, Systems Thinking brings a new way to look at Knowledge Management.

Excellent discussion on the challenges of knowledge sharing in a culture that was previously averse to this behavior.

Good comment on the need to look not only at hard costs savings (quantitative) from a KM initiative but also to the qualitative results of this knowledge environment. As good point for me, personally, as I think more about PKM.

Surprisingly, few formal incentives to use the system other than to simply make it FUN. People are willing to share knowledge if they can be recognized for their work.

I think much of this could be applied, easier and with less cost, to the area of personal knowledge management. More on that thinking as it evolves.

Discussion/Comments (2):

Systems Theory and Knowledge Management Systems

Unless I am mistaken, Biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy, the father of General Systems Theory is the author of the quotation.

By coincidence, I am currently doing a lot of background reading on Systems thinking for my academic research on Geopolitical traditions.

Posted at 07/17/2007 15:16:43 by Pascal Venier

re: Systems Theory and Knowledge Management Systems

Pascal, I believe you are correct. I saw the name Bertalanffy on a slide, however the slides are moving so fast it's hard to capture...

Posted at 07/17/2007 16:20:32 by Eric Mack

Discussion for this entry is now closed.