Do You Reinvent The Wheel Everyday?

Posted on Feb 28 2012 at 08:45:11 AM in B2B

Many organisations are masters of wheel reinvention. The same problems are faced and solved every day starting from scratch. It happens because teams don't know that colleagues in another office or even in the same buildings have solved the same problem before. It is justified by the belief that every construction project is a unique prototype, and has unique problems.

While it is true that every project is unique there is also a lot of duplication and many differences are only in dimension or type. Many problems can be distilled down to much the same. This mindset obscures the benefit of standard details and best practice. Further beliefs in "knowledge is power" inhibits the sharing of best practice. Knowledge hiding such as claiming confidentiality when it doesn't apply occurs largely driven by issues around trust and culture.

The design process acts upon information to create value (added information). Uncertainty is reduced and with each step the solution converges to a final and single option. From each step in the design knowledge is created. This knowledge may be feedback in the form of lessons learned from failures and mistakes, or simply added experience and "know how". Rarely might a team or organisation not gain something from the design process. Even the most experienced people address new problems or innovate in solutions. Ploughing this knowledge back effectively into design improves efficiency, and reduces error.

Evidence of effective use of prior experience and organisational knowledge has been summarised as:

  • Projects are finishing faster and with higher quality. Shared experience is credited with the improvements.
  • People seek out (and can find) others who have done similar work before embarking on new efforts.
  • People happily help one another within their areas of expertise and interest.
  • People continually look for ways to learn from their own experience and that of others. They wish to improve their own performance.
  • People are aware of one another's projects / struggles / successes, and they learn more quickly.
  • People can easily find knowledge (created by others) that they need to do their work.
  • Making knowledge available to others is easy and painless.
  • Knowledge is important as many professionals are regarded as "knowledge workers", what they work with is what they or their organisation knows and this sets them apart. Failing to manage knowledge within the organisation effectively inevitably loses competitive advantage. Levering the body of knowledge into projects effectively reduces cost and time and increases quality.

    The wheel has been invented, but maybe it can be improved - concentrate on that.

      Article Information
    Created: Feb 28 2012 at 08:45:11 AM
    Updated: Feb 28 2012 at 08:45:11 AM
    Category: B2B
    Language: English