The innovation agenda

Economic realities mean organisations must change and innovate. Knowledge and information professionals should align themselves with organisational innovation.

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I believe that the positioning of knowledge and information management (KIM) within organisations needs to change fundamentally.  Information professionals now need to be more closely allied to their organisation's innovation agenda - the changes that the organisation needs to make to assure its survival or growth.  (And if your organisation does not have an innovation agenda, start looking for another job quickly - you deserve better and your skills are needed elsewhere!)

Focus on 'hard' KIM

The economic world has changed forever and organisations need to find new ways of coping.  An unexpected side effect of this recession has been to force organisations to have a fundamental rethink about their purpose.  In the public sector, the severe cutbacks in expenditure are forcing a profound reconsideration of the purpose and reach of many organisations in that part of the economy.

KIM can help organisations formulate effective responses to the new realities.  This is 'hard' KIM and its time has come. 

Pitch KIM appropriately

The first tactic for getting onto the innovation agenda is to start to demonstrate concrete linkages between real performance and effective KIM.  This might involve a rethink of how KIM is pitched to senior decision makers, perhaps focusing less on 'soft' outcomes and more on the 'harder' side of KIM.

Look at your organisation.  Count how many accountants are employed and then count how many KIM staff are employed.  I am acutely aware that financial information is important but, I also realise that there is an enormous blindside attached to focusing only on the numbers.  If information really is so important, then why are so few people nurturing and exploiting it?

Look carefully at where the focus is in your organisation.  If it is all in the numbers, then start to look for the blindsides this creates.  For example, market intelligence, the 'long view', competitor activity (and this applies equally to the public sector - other bodies are chasing the same funding as you are!), internal capability (important when you consider that you need to be ready to mobilise when activity in the market picks up and you may not have enough people to capitalise on growth.  

At a very basic level, pointing out the strangeness of having your biggest corporate asset (information, and yes, people are part of those information assets) managed by a handful of KIM staff is likely to raise some senior interest.  You can also point out that accountancy is probably the most automated part of the modern office and yet, despite all that investment, there still seem to be legions of accountants in most organisations. 

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