The Knowledge Study Tool can provide information about the growth (or risk reduction) for a knowledge resource by comparing a Knowledge Structure Map with a previous version of itself. This capability only requires a review of the knowledge parameters used in the original study, something that is probably a desirable and useful exercise as a general knowledge management function.
The Knowledge Study Tool (KST) can show results from a growth analysis directly. However, it can also export a web based resource for a knowledge study and for this web based explanation, it will be easier to use the resource to see some of the information that can be derived from a growth analysis. The example Knowledge Structure Map used here has an associated web export at this link. This is a comprehensive resource that is produced automatically by KST in a few seconds following a study.
If KST is asked to load a previous map for comparison, it will automatically create the growth data that can be used to assess knowledge growth and risk reduction. In this case, the map shown in the previous link was updated by reviewing the parameter values provided by experts. The new values reflect the changes in the knowledge resource over the period of activity between the two map instances. The initial map (before update) was was used to create the web based resource shown in the link above.
When KST is asked to export a web resource and it is also in possession of active growth data, it will automatically create growth information and include this information at appropriate places in the web resource.
The main web resource index page for the new and updated map that contains growth data can be accessed here. Note that this index page contains a brief explanation that is intended to help a user to understand the growth data when browsing the web resource.
An example of the difference between the web resources that simply provide analytical information for a study and those that also provide growth data can be seen by comparing the initial Main Knowledge Area for the first resource and the Main Knowledge Area for the new resource. The difference here is that the second web page shows an extra table column that indicates the potential average growth (or risk reduction) for each of the main knowledge areas. Some automatically generated text beneath the table also picks out the knowledge area with the greatest and worst risk reductions.
On the knowledge risk analysis page, the existing risk analysis data has been supplemented with additional knowledge growth (or risk reduction) data. In addition a brief overview of risk reduction has been provided at the bottom of the page. This information picks out the knowledge areas where risk has been reduced (increased growth) the most.
The parameter value spread page now contains information that shows the change or growth for each parameter used during the study, for the whole map. Parameters with a negative weight such as 'Knowledge Readiness' (used in many maps but not this one) are adjusted to show growth correctly. Readiness has a negative weight because it causes an organisation greater knowledge risk when knowledge is not ready than when it is fully ready. It can be noticed in this study that whilst there has been improvement in some parameters, others have deteriorated. It could be useful to understand why this deterioration has occurred.
Every knowledge element on the map will also contain growth data and for this map, that means 106 pages each with information about a separate knowledge element. The data will be integrated with the data that would be provided for any exported knowledge resource. Consider the web page for the knowledge element 'Customer Services'. This page contains additional information on Growth - Risk Reduction and percentage average growth for each parameter used in the study. Average growth means the average value for that parameter when considering the current knowledge node and all of its prerequisite family. That means in this case, that the changes in parameter values are shown for all of the knowledge needed within customer services, not just the customer services values alone.
Whilst the web resource provides a comprehensive review of knowledge growth within its pages, KST provides additional data from within the tool itself. It can also export a file for import into any Spread Sheet such as Microsoft Excel. This information lists every knowledge element, the change for each parameter for that element and the growth of risk and average prerequisite family risk for the knowledge element. The table also lists some additional whole map growth statistics.
The intention is that this data can be used more conveniently in reports concerning the knowledge area growth. Incidentally, the tool, KST, does provide a very brief text based report for knowledge growth in its report window. The text can be cut and pasted into an actual report very simply.
The table below shows the information that is included at the end of the Spread Sheet export file.
|Item being Compared||Previous av||Current av||%Growth|
|Risk for whole map||4.86||4.83||0.529|
|Risk for top 10% of map||7.41||7.37||0.592|
The parameters used in this study are selected from a much longer list of parameter options. The selection of parameters will depend on what the knowledge study is to achieve and on what managers wish to know about the knowledge resource. The parameters for this study are explained within the web resource on the parematers page.