Understanding Knowledge Management
While it is difficult to find just one definition of Knowledge Management (KM), there are a number of classic definitions that have been commonly used over the years. The first definition is that KM is a process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge (Davenport, 1994). The second definition is that KM is a discipline that promotes an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing an enterprise’s information assets which may include databases, documents, policies, procedures, and previously uncaptured expertise and experience in individual workers (Duhon, 1998). The third definition is that KM is an effort to increase useful knowledge within the organization through encouraging communication, offering opportunities to learn, and promoting the sharing of appropriate knowledge objects or artefacts (McInerney, 2002). KM is based on a range of disciplines such as organisational psychology, library and information science, economics and computer science (Deolia, 2017).
Knowledge Management in an organisation
The emergence of the knowledge economy and knowledge-based organisations established the right conditions for the emergence of knowledge management (Bolisani & Bratianu, 2018). Companies such as McKinsey & Company; General Motors Corporation; Hughes Aerospace and Electronics Company; Xerox Corporation; Hewlett-Packard Company; IBM; Hoffman-LaRoche Ltd; and Merck & Company were among the first firms to apply knowledge practices, and they had varied success (Prusak, 2001).
In the context of KM in AUDA-NEPAD, as it is the first ever African-driven development agency for the continent, the organisation is mandated to coordinate and execute priority regional and continental projects to promote regional integration towards the accelerated realisation of Agenda 2063. The Agency is also mandated to strengthen capacity of Member States and regional bodies; advance knowledge-based advisory support, undertake the full range of resource mobilisation, and serve as the continent’s technical interface with all Africa’s development stakeholders and development partners.
Based on these mandates, the KM strategy and activities organisation are set-up to allow the organisation to work towards the achievement of the mandates and the overall aspirations, goals and targets of Agenda 2063. The AUDA-NEPAD delivery model is structured as follows:
- Knowledge co-creation
- Structring and organising
- Storage and retrieval
- Knowledge transfer
- Knowledge application
The services provided to achieve this delivery model are the AUDA-NEPAD web platform, Communities of Practice and webinars on the web platform, roundtable sessions and brownbag sessions, and innovation and knowledge fairs, and the development of a broad range of knowledge products.
The AUDA-NEPAD web platform is a key KM tool for the organisation as is enables the Showcasing of Agenda 2063; Outreach of AUDA-NEPAD’s expertise and knowledge; Showcasing AUDA-NEPAD’s footprint and results; Production and dissemination of knowledge and innovations.