The challenge for many organizations is how to move from managing people to managing knowledge.
Countries from the UK to India see services as a crucial part of their economy.
Managing services, especially services based on knowledge work, requires a different approach from managing organizations based on machine and physical labour.
In particular, when it comes to innovation, what an organization is capable of doing depends on what the individuals in it have learned over time, the know-how they have developed, and the extent to which they have the ability to understand what they are doing.
“Understanding”, the ability to be reflective, creating meaning and sense, is crucial for innovation, because that is what enables the framework for new insights, creativity and change.
Managing knowledge is different from managing information. Just writing down everything that needs to be done may capture information – but that is not enough.
Managing knowledge is more about creating the right conditions, an environment that encourages people to create, show, share and collaborate to provide better services to their customers.
In addition, any single organization may not have all the knowledge required to meet the needs of a customer.
Jessica Lipnak and Jeffrey Stamps used the term “teamnets” to describe clusters of organisations that work together to serve customers better.
Teamnets are formed of groups of individuals that come together, share knowledge and create new and better organizational capabilities.
This can be done even more effectively with virtual teams that are made up of people in different time zones, geographical locations, distances and cross over organizational boundaries.
The term “teamnet” was coined in 1993. Twenty four years later, we have the internet and an array of tools to help us collaborate and work together better.
Many organizations, however, still trap people in organizational silos with management controls based on hierarchy and authority with inflexible systems and hidebound communications.
That needs to change before they can become more innovative.