Thursday, September 13, 2007

KM and IP

Few days back, I had blogged about IP ... KK had come up with a very interesting question ... Something which we all are grappling with, and something not everybody has the answer to. And something which is one of the largest challenges for the KM professional. For, KM is all about sharing, and IP is all about not ...

And then, there is the kid brother of IP ... Customer Confiderntiality. While a very respectable idea, in my experience, I have seen things which you could find on google as being customer confidential, simply because project teams get used to uploading al documents in the customer confidential folder. The challenge for the KM professional here is to strike the balance between the various factors which are pulling in opposite directions.

While there is no single mechanism we have for doing this, I think we could look at the following (and no, this is not a laundry list ... i am not an expert on IP, remember? So, this is just my two bits) ...

  • Does the asset you are talking about fit into the business strategy of the organization?
  • Does it have any implications for incremental revenue, or for a new revenue model?
  • Does it have any implications for cost savings?
  • Does it have any implications for operational excellence?
  • Lastly, can it be found on google?

If the answer to ny of these is yes, and the answer to the last one is no, then you need to look at the asset carefully, and decide which way to go. While these are my thoughts, I would invite all practitioners out there to please react to this, and contribute to the thought process!

1 comment:

Andrew Gent said...

Hello Atul,

I don't believe you can make the distinction by whether the knowledge is valuable to the organization (otherwise it would all be IP as many companies argue) but rather the nature of the content. The usual disclaimers apply to not being a lawyer and not playing one on TV, but... The distinction should be:

- Is it specific to the organization or customer? (such as org structure, processes, products and services)

- Is it specific to the profession or business of the practitioner? (such as programming skills and knowledge, soft skills, etc.)

The former is IP. The latter is the property of the individual, which I can fairly take with me when I leave the corporation and therefore should be able to share outside of the company as well.