Knowledge Management
(Collison Parcell)

Knowledge Center

Summary, forum, best practices, expert tips and information sources.

Contributed by: Chris Collison

130 items • 401.591 visits


What is the Knowledge Management approach of Collison and Parcell? Description

The Knowledge Management method from Chris Collison and Geoff Parcell is a framework that can be used for learning, capturing, sharing and exploiting knowledge, experience and good practices.

Knowledge Management is an oxymoron – nobody can really manage an asset which resides in the heads of employees, and is shared primarily through conversation.

What you can do, though, is: to manage the environment in which knowledge can be created, discovered, captured, shared, distilled, validated, transferred, adopted, adapted and applied. To create business value.

For creating an environment within which knowledge rapidly flourishes we need:

  • The right conditions. A common reliable infrastructure and an organization that is willing to be entrepreneurial.
  • The right means. A common model, tools and processes for learning.
  • The right actions. Where people instinctively seek, share and use knowledge.
  • The right leadership. Where learning and sharing is expected and role-modeled.

The methodology provides a number of tools, interventions and facilitation techniques to help organizations to learn before, during and after activities.
The benefits from these learning interventions can be multiplied if they are shared more widely as good practices – either through people-networks (communities), or through the capture and codification into regularly updated “knowledge products”.

Origin of the Knowledge Management method by Collison and Parcell. History

Originally derived by the knowledge management team of BP in 1998 from good practices in the US Army and other learning organizations, the methodology was published in 2001 in the book “Learning to Fly, lessons from one of the world’s leading knowledge companies”, Collison & Parcell. Once published, the methodology produced a community of practice – now in excess of 700 people from a wide variety of public and private sector organizations. In 2005 a new version of “Learning to Fly” was published to demonstrate the transferability of the approach, carrying stories of application from ten other organizations. Applications range from the United Nations to De Beers, from the BBC to primary schools in New South Wales. Elements of this knowledge management approach can be found today in a large number of organizations and business schools. Including Henley and Cranfield Management Schools.

Collison Parcell Knowledge ManagementUsage of the Knowledge Management framework by Collison and Parcell. Applications

  • Preventing wheel reinvention, particularly in large, international organizations.
  • Accelerating the integration process following an acquisition or merger.
  • Identifying, capturing and sharing good practice in organizations.
  • Dealing with cultural barriers that hold back organizations – e.g. “Not invented here”
  • To build, nurture and support networks and communities of practice.
  • Creating a culture of continuous improvement and learning.
  • Involving leadership in the right behaviors to reinforce knowledge-sharing.

Steps in this Knowledge Management method. Process

See the diagram on the right.

  • People and teams agree on a set of goals. Then they use knowledge to deliver against their targets, ultimately creating value. Where do you begin to intervene with knowledge management?
  • Focus on the "Using Knowledge circle". What if you could inspire your organization to learn before, during and after any significant activity. Simple learning processes like assisting a colleague, retrospects (post project reviews) and after action reviews make their contribution here, and help to elicit new knowledge - knowledge which would have remained in the heads of the individuals concerned.
  • All this learning activity needs to be connected to some kind of "knowledge bank". If you want to learn before doing, you will want to make a withdrawal. And when you have learned lessons which you want to contribute, you'll need to make a deposit.
  • That's where the ability to capture and distil knowledge becomes important. But that's not the whole story. It is impossible to capture everything, so it's important to link the people and network who hold key knowledge and insights, and to encourage them to own and update any knowledge which is made explicit - captured as information.
  • The environment or culture within your organization surrounds the model, which is critical to get started and sustain knowledge-sharing. This will be reflected in the right leadership behaviors, and the way in which Knowledge Management becomes embedded into core processes so that ultimately it becomes an "unconscious competence".

Strengths of this Knowledge Management framework. Benefits

  • Delivering more, from less! Isn’t that what is being asked of all of us?
  • Improve identification and transfer of good practices.
  • Learning and improving leading to faster cycle times in product development and continuous improvement.
  • Preventing the repetition of mistakes, and wheel-reinvention.
  • To identify and overcome a not invented here culture.
  • To improve the level of sharing and take-up of new ways of working.
  • Credible approach. Proven in BP and a wide range of organizations, ranging from primary schools to corporate giants, from the UN to agile, networked non-government organizations.

Limitations of the Knowledge Management philosophy by Collison and Parcell. Disadvantages

  • Requires a willingness to deal with the underlying culture and process issues – it's not just a technology quick fix – it's a holistic approach.
  • Easier to demonstrate the immediate benefits in larger, distributed organizations. Although benefits are there for SMEs too.
  • Deceptively simple.
  • Knowledge management is often misunderstood by technology vendors peddling information management technology. There may be some management preconceptions to overcome.

Assumptions of Knowledge Management. Conditions

  • Organizations achieve benefits if they work more effectively and efficiently.
  • Companies that provide time-based services to clients may have to look more closely at where value is created to derive benefits from better management of knowledge.

Book: Collison & Parcell - Learning to Fly

See also: Chris Collison's website

Special Interest Group


Knowledge Management Special Interest Group.

Special Interest Group (292 members)


New Topic

Forum about Knowledge Management.

Components of Knowledge Sharing Systems
What are the essential components of knowledge sharing systems in an organization? (...)
🔥 NEW Factors Hindering Knowledge Sharing
What is the best theory of knowledge sharing to examine the factors that enable or hinder knowledge sharing among employ (...)
Success Could Be your Failure?
Make sure that your KM efforts are sustainable over the long run. Once you have proven successes, you will have plenty (...)
Time Spent on Finding and Applying Knowledge
A short article about a study of more than 200 knowledge workers by Al Jacobson and Laurence Prusak (HBR Nov 2006) indic (...)
How to Design a Knowledge Transfer Template?
What are the major issues that must be considered when designing a Knowledge Transfer Template?
I am trying to find (...)
Ways to Make Knowledge Capture Happen
It seems to me that the most effective way to get people to capture and transfer knowledge is to make it an objective on (...)
Knowledge Management Activity: The Share / Learn Board
This morning I facilitated a workshop around with the aim of getting people to connect and talk to fill knowledge gaps. (...)
Getting Traction in KM through Weekly Updates...
I made a very interesting observation over the past few weeks as I have been sending weekly updates to my stakeholders. (...)
The Role of Higher Education Institutions in New Knowledge Management Systems
Technologies in information and knowledge management have been dynamic in the contemporary business environment. Teachin (...)
Closed Knowledge Management Platforms: Against the Grain?
So, while enabling open sharing platforms in my organisation for lessons and other non-process information and knowledge (...)

Start a new topic about Knowledge Management


Best Practices

The top-rated topics about Knowledge Management. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

Knowledge on How to Use Knowledge
Knowledge is found everywhere in organizations. A successful organization has knowledge on how to use pertinent knowledg (...)

Knowledge Capturing Process and Methods
Who can share a more detailed documentation on the knowledge capture process and methods? (...)

The Value of Knowledge Sharing. The Proposition
Knowledge is best conserved through knowledge sharing. (...)

The Impact of Knowledge Management in Value Creation
At which precise stage is value created by means of knowledge management and how can this opportunity be leveraged in su (...)

Knowledge Management Social Capability
Culture and people factors can be merged into Knowledge Management Social Capability, and technology and leadership fact (...)
Methods for Explicit Knowledge Creation
What are the best methods or solutions to incorporate SECI knowledge into explicit (information) knowledge for daily use (...)

Technical Committees in Knowledge Management
A tool to improve KM is a "Technical Committee" with employees from different processes in the company. This committee h (...)
Global KM Acceptance
KM is now globally accepted. In India and other advanced countries for last 2-3 years, there has been a sea-change in te (...)

Social Networking for Knowledge Sharing
All of you know the value of Facebook and Twitter these days. Have you ever thought of such social network within the or (...)

Knowledge Management in Testing of Software
Kindly can I have your ideas on how knowledge management can be used in software testing? Many thanks. (...)
Conditions for Knowledge Management
Everyone speaks about knowledge management, what are the conditions that must be met? Why? Thank you. (...)

Are People ready to share?
Very appropriately mentioned about the technology vendors. In my last 10 years of working on KM, I agree that culture is (...)

The Value of Knowledge in a New Job
Knowledge is an interesting thing: in one respect, once we have it, we never lose it. In another respect, when a change (...)

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Knowledge Management. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

Barriers that Hinder Effective Knowledge Sharing

Effective Knowledge Sharing, Pitfalls to Avoid, Knowledge Management Implementation
According to Chris Collison, there are seven common barriers or syndromes that hinder effective knowledge sharing and se (...)

How to Identify and Map Knowledge

Knowledge Identification, Knowledge Capturing, Knowledge Storage
In his article “Knowledge Mapping: The Essentials for Success”, Wesley Vestal provides following six tips to identify an (...)

Positive Effects of Age Diversity on Company Productivity and (Tacit) Knowledge Sharing

Tacit Knowledge Transfer, Workforce Productivity, Incentive Management
Backes-Gellner and Veen (2013) outlined the main advantages of having a diverse workforce within a company. The followin (...)

Critical Activities to Build a Learning Organization

Implementing Organizational Learning, Best Practices
Learning organizations are distinguished because they are undertaking certain activities to foster the internal learning (...)

Capturing Learned Lessons

How to Capture Organizational Learning? Best Practices
Knowledge from bad and good experiences will lead you and your organization to better future performance. You can improv (...)

How Culture Levels Explain Failures in Organizational Learning and Innovation

Improving Organizational Learning, Organizational Innovation, Changing Organization Cultures
Schein (as cited by Bertagni et al., 2010) tries to elaborate on the question why organizational innovations often fail (...)

What are Smart Creatives? Traits

R&D, Product Development, Service Development, Strategy, Innovation, HR, Career Management
To accommodate the strategic demands of the internet age, clever, creative knowledge workers are needed in product/servi (...)

People Development Approach for Successful Knowledge Management

Knowledge Management, Career Management, Talent Management, Employee Induction, Human Resource Development
People play an important role in Knowledge Management (KM). We all know that. Indeed, the success of KM basically depend (...)

Organizational Problems with Knowledge Workers

Knowledge Intensive Organizations, Knowledge Management
Nowadays, many companies engage in a destructive circle of hiring expensive knowledge workers, then laying them off beca (...)

Knowledge Management Scope

Knowledge Management, Level of Know-how
Research by Deishin Lee (HBS) and Eric Van den Steen (MIT) shows that recording mediocre know-how can actually be counte (...)

Components of Learning Agility

Organizational Agility, Organizational Learning, Knowledge Management
One of the critical factors for achieving organizational agility is learning agility, which refers to the ability and ea (...)

Knowledge Management Focal Point

Knowledge Management Focus
Research by Deishin Lee (HBS) and Eric Van den Steen (MIT) shows that information about successes is typically more usef (...)
Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding Knowledge Management. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Management of Knowledge Workers

Innovation, IPP, Litigation
Hans K, Hvide and Eirik G. Kristiansen study how complementarities and intellectual property rights affect the managemen (...)

Innovation and Knowledge Management

The Importance of Innovation and Knowledge Management
Authors: Dr. Siddhan and Dr. Abdul Halam A presentation in which the importance of Knowledge Management and Innovation (...)

Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning

Models, Implementation, Overview, Examples
An extensive presentation explaining both the concept of Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning by H. Gundogan (...)

Knowledge Transfer and Knowledge Sharing

Knowledge Management, Knowledge Sharing, Knowledge Transfer
Preentation that is an introduction into the concept of Knowledge Transfer, including its fundamentals, strategies, guid (...)

How to Improve Knowledge Sharing in Knowledge-intensive Organizations

Knowledge Management, Knowledge Sharing Motivation, Knowledge Sharing Platform. Tacit Knowledge
This presentation elaborates on the concept of knowledge sharing, thereby focusin on a knowledge-intensive organization (...)

Knowledge Management Systems Architecture

Knowledge Management, Knowledge Creation, Knowledge Systems, Knowledge Architecture
This presentation is about knowledge development and management, including the following sections: 1. Overview 2. Know (...)

Overview of Existing Types of Knowledge

Knowledge Management, Knowledge Types, Tacit, Implicit, Explicit, Declarative, Procedural Knowledge
This presentation provides an overview of the different types of knowledge that exist. The presentation includes the fol (...)

Why Continuous Learning is Key to Your Life and Career

Your Personal Growth and Development, Career Management
2015: FACEBOOK OR 12MANAGE? At the end of the year, we at 12manage were discussing the massive amount of meaningless (...)

Introduction to Knowledge Management: Foundation Principles and Building Concepts

Knowledge Management, Knowledge Sharing, Learning Organization
1. What is Knowledge? 1. What is Knowledge Management? Definition 2. Knowledge Foundation Principles and Building Conc (...)

Introduction and Summary of SECI

Initial Understanding of SECI. Start of workshop/training
Knowledge Management Is utilizing tacit (the unseen huge part of the iceberg), as well as explicit (the tip of the iceb (...)

E-knowledge networks

Knowledge Management
The emergence of new technologies has increased the ability of organisations to share knowledge, not just internally, bu (...)

Professor Evans Explains Why Fast Change Requires New Ways of Learning and Thinking

Action Learning, Coping with Change, The Need of Change, The Need for New Ways of Learning
In this historic video Action Learning Professor Reg Evans shows that it is very important to understand that today's ra (...)

How to Integrate Internal Organizational Knowledge with External Online Communities

Knowledge Management, Knowledge Creation, Knowledge Sharing, Interaction, Knowledge in Organizations
Due to many online and web-based technological developments in today´s digital economy, sharing knowledge in online comm (...)

Knowledge Management, Organizational Learning and Intellectual Capital

Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management, Organizational Learning
Presentation about organizational knowledge, learning and intellectual capital. The presentation includes the following (...)

Knowledge Sharing and Organizational Learning through Communities of Practices

Knowledge Sharing, Organizational Learning, Communities of Practices, Special Interest Groups
Knowledge management in Communities of Practice (CoPs) This presentation is about organizational learning and knowledge (...)

Three Levels of Knowledge Management

Initial Understanding Knowledge Management, Organizational Learning
According to Jury (2007), knowledge management can be categorized into three different levels, and organized in a pyrami (...)

The Difference Between Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management

Initial Understanding of the Difference Between OL en KM
Dr. Edward Rogers puts forth that organizational learning and knowledge management are often considered to be synonyms a (...)

Knowledge Management Diagram

Knowledge Management
Download and edit this 12manage PowerPoint graphic for limited personal, educational and business use. Republishing in (...)

Knowledge Transfer in the E-world

Knowledge Management, Knowledge Transfer, Internet, Intranet, E-Business, CRM
This is a presentation about Knowledge Transfer (KT), specifically focused on KT in the e-world. The presentation consis (...)

Research Links

Automatically jump to further useful sources regarding Knowledge Management.

News Videos Presentations Books More






Compare with Knowledge Management: Organizational Learning  |  Organizational Memory  |  Bridging Epistemologies  |  SECI model  |  Action Learning  |  Intellectual Capital Rating  |  Levels of Culture  |  People CMM  |  MAGIC

Return to Management Hub: Change & Organization  |  Communication & Skills  |  Human Resources  |  Knowledge & Intangibles

More Management Methods, Models and Theory

Special Interest Group

Do you have a keen interest in Knowledge Management? Become our SIG Leader


About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2022 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.8 - Last updated: 25-1-2022. All names ™ of their owners.