Active Knowledge in the Flow


Active knowledge is knowledge that flows and does work. In other words, it is knowledge that gets allocated to decision makers, that directly influences decisions and that connects with other related knowledge. The concept of active knowledge fits with APQC Knowledge Flow Process. The APQC, a member-based nonprofit and one of the world’s leading supporters knowledge management research, create a seven-step cycle that describes how knowledge is created, identified, collected, reviewed, shared, accessed, and used. Leading manufacturers are using this framework to understand and control knowledge flow.

Knowledge is active and ‘in the flow-of-work’ when:

Knowledge is distributed to a decision-maker in context of making a decision.
For end-users, active knowledge eliminates searching. For organizations, active knowledge creates certainty in knowledge reuse. Knowledge is ‘active’ in the sense that it moves to where it is needed, when it is needed. Relying on a knowledge worker’s initiative to ‘search’ a database is decidedly not an ‘Active’ or ‘in the flow-of-work’ approach to knowledge management.

Knowledge continually exerts influence on that decision in a visible measurable way.
Active knowledge can be used to evaluate status based on the context (e.g. red, yellow, green) or produce an answer (e.g. best material choice = ‘SMC’).

Knowledge intelligently connects to other relevant knowledge providing further support of decisions and verification.
Users do not have to know every piece of necessary knowledge and they don’t have to try to hardwire connections between those pieces of knowledge.

The APQC Knowledge Flow Process and best practices cannot be realized with old-fashioned static knowledge management models. Knowledge that sits in a library of documents cannot flow and is not active in any sense. The newest thinking on managing and using knowledge absolutely requires systems that make knowledge active across organizations.