Innovation Driven Knowledge Management

Innovation Driven Knowledge Management

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2512-9.ch015


To leverage knowledge management for business innovation, IT managers must first understand the basic principles, theories, and practices of knowledge management. Next, they must understand how knowledge management will contribute to innovation. This chapter addresses both topics to help make IT managers become IT innovators.
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Organizations should strive to use their learning experiences to build on or complement knowledge positions that provide a current or future competitive advantage. Systematically mapping, categorizing, and benchmarking organizational knowledge not only can help make knowledge more accessible throughout an organization, but by using a knowledge map to prioritize and focus its learning experiences, an organization can create greater leverage for its learning efforts. It can combine its learning experiences into a critical learning mass around particular strategic areas of knowledge (Zack, 1999).

While a knowledge advantage may be sustainable, building a defensible competitive knowledge position internally is a long-term effort, requiring foresight and planning as well as luck. Long lead-time explains the attraction of strategic alliances and other forms of external ventures as potentially quicker means for gaining access to knowledge. It also explains why the strategic threat from technological discontinuity tends to come from firms outside of or peripheral to an industry. New entrants often enjoy a knowledge base different than that of incumbents (see for example Christensen & Overdorf, 2000), one that can be applied to the products and services of the industry under attack. This has been especially evident in industries where analog products are giving way to digital equivalents (Zack, 1999).

Knowledge has a strategic role if unique firm knowledge can successfully be applied to value-creating tasks and if it can be used to capitalize on existing business opportunities. Since competitors, in developing their own survival strategies, are likely to benchmark themselves against the industry leader to level out performance, knowledge must be difficult to imitate (Krogh, et al., 2000). Distinctions can also be made between core, advanced, and innovative knowledge. These knowledge categories indicate different levels of knowledge sophistication.

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