The way to create value in the information age is to use information resources effectively rather than physical assets. Therefore, many methods and tools are being developed for knowledge management.
However, it is not possible to ensure the effective use of these methods and tools without understanding that knowledge is a life cycle just like products.
The life cycle of knowledge can be examined in four dimensions: the idea stage, the testing stage, the diffusion stage, and the standardization stage. Management of information at each stage requires different approaches.
Let's first use the development of knowledge on Total Quality Management as an example to explain the life cycle of knowledge.
The idea stage of total quality management concepts took place in the 1920s-30s when Deming and Juran realized that it was not possible to improve quality without the active participation of top management during their statistical control work.
However, this idea, which developed in the USA, did not enter the testing phase until Deming and Juran went to Japan in the 1940-50s.
Japan's achievements in total quality management enabled information to reach the diffusion stage and to be used all over the world in the 1970s-80s.
Since the 1990s, information has become a standard both by being among the compulsory courses in universities and by ISO 9000.
The position of knowledge in the idea stage is full of uncertainties. Much information at this stage does not reach the later stages. Organizations that create value from knowledge at this stage (such as producing a new program, finding a new molecule) must encourage creativity. Therefore, they need a human resources system that can accommodate people who are creative but display extreme behavior. Creating environments where people can comfortably experiment and come together in non-hierarchical environments gives positive results for this stage. Information systems should also prioritize managing people's communication well, not very detailed information banks. Rather than engaging with a large number of stakeholders at this stage, it is more beneficial to collaborate closely with a small number of stakeholders who are inclined to test existing knowledge, challenging and creative ideas. Because ideas are still raw and in need of testing. Moreover, it is not preferable for the information to pass into the hands of competitors at this stage.
The position of knowledge in the testing phase is that its usefulness needs wide-ranging proof. At this stage, information is shared with reliable, knowledgeable people and institutions. However, information that does not have patent protection needs to be carefully protected from competitors at this stage. At this stage, there is a need not only for those who produce new knowledge, but also for practitioners who have application experience and are respected by leading customers. For information sharing environments, it should be ensured that a limited number of knowledgeable people interested in the same subject can communicate with each other wherever they are in the company. At this stage, sharing knowledge at a general level is helpful to mobilize lead adopters.
When information reaches the dissemination stage, it is necessary not to hide it, but to share it as quickly as possible. Because, at this stage, it is not those who know more, but those who are faster and can create a brand. Companies that create value from knowledge at this stage predominantly need practitioners. At this stage, knowledge should be shared not only among experts, but also among all users.
It is already widely used when information comes to the stage of standardization. Therefore, it is possible to switch to contract-based work in human resources. Databases, benchmarking information, access to information accumulated in different sources come to the fore.
It is very difficult for companies to create value across the entire knowledge lifecycle. Because each stage requires different competencies and different systems. Therefore, companies of the information age also have to decide on which phase to focus on.
In the information age, it is necessary to be knowledgeable and focused to create value by managing information.