Reineke Reitsma
[Posted by Reineke Reitsma]

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A couple of weeks ago I published a post called 'The Future Of Research: Building A 3-Dimensional View Of The Customer'. The summary of my post was that consumers connect with companies through different channels and leave their feedback about the company in different places. They expect companies to understand that and they don't want to be asked about things they already shared.

I'm about to publish a report about Forrester's predictions for the Market Research industry in 2010, and one of the major trends I'm seeing is data integration. Market Researchers have to start building a knowledge database to better understand which insights already exist within their companies, which questions still need to be asked, and which topics require research attention (and budget) in 2010.

As mentioned, consumer feedback is collected by different departments and the only way to establish a relevant (and successful) knowledge database is to include information from all these sources. But why would these other departments collaborate? While working on a document that will guide market researchers in the process on how to build a Knowledge Center, I found that there are three relevant elements: culture, organization, and technology.

KM picture

The main hurdle to successful implementation of knowledge sharing are people: there has to be a culture that fosters collaboration and incentivizes collaborative behavior. As social beings, most people are very willing to share their insights and knowledge but … they have to have an audience and they need to receive something in return.

The organization of knowledge sharing and the technological set-up are very important and need a lot of thinking through, but if a company doesn't manage to motivate its employees to reach out to others and share their insights outside their own department, product group or region, the overall success of knowledge management will be limited.

I'd love to hear your opinion on this topic. Have you managed to build a successful knowledge center? Are there some best practices (and pitfalls) you'd like to share with me for my upcoming report?