Innovation And Knowledge Management

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Innovation and Knowledge Management

Innovation and Knowledge Management


In today's business world, innovation is the mantra of success. For companies large and small, the big winners are those that match new, marketable ideas with customers before anyone else can. It takes flexibility and creativity and a willingness to risk.  The innovation is a business process of turning opportunity into new ideas and of putting these into widely used practice. In term of the nature, there are five major types of innovations: novelty, competence shifting, complexity, robust design and continuous improvement. While in term of the extent of change, innovations can be divided into incremental, radical and transformational models. Innovation deals with the change related to product, service and process, and the innovation management involves people, product, process and technology(Heimeriks Duysters 2007 25-49). This report analyses the innovation processes of 3M. 


3M CO (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing) is a company that manufactures all over the world, introducing new technologies and marketing a wide scope of products. It is present in the markets of healthcare, industrial markets, markets of display and graphics (, consumer and office markets, safety, security and protection services, electronics, telecommunications and electrical and transportation.

3M: Innovation and Knowledge management

3M sees Knowledge Management more as a cultural and organizational issue than a technological one. The company has many systems in place and is continually adding to them. Formal training programs, learning by doing, help desks, intranet, Internet, Lotus Notes™, video conferencing and ITbased databases are available to a vast range of employees. The Technical Planning and Coordination Group updates and maintains best practice and key player databases. For its more than two dozen core technologies, the company knows who are the people working in each area on what subject, and it is also linked to many universities specializing in areas of particular interest to 3M(

An important requirement is that a company knows what it knows and 3M continually maps on databases what and where the technological skills it needs are located. But if a company invests in a Knowledge Management infrastructure similar to 3M's it will not find this the sole answer to achieving a Knowledge Management environment(Coombs Harvey Tether 2003 1125-1155). Of the four key areas of Knowledge Management outlined by Nonaka, 3M puts its major emphasis on the 'tacit to tacit' area (the transferring of an individual's experience and knowledge to other individuals). People have to be motivated to access and share information and to convert that information into knowledge(Heimeriks Duysters 2007 25-49). If the business processes are in place and the context is appropriate then Knowledge Management systems can flourish and people will input their knowledge into systems for access by others; but in the wrong context a Knowledge Management infrastructure will atrophy. Effective Knowledge Management has parallels with effective innovation. For innovation to take place, a company needs caring people who are willing to share for the greater good of the company and creative people who have the ability to turn ideas into practical products and services(Coombs Harvey Tether 2003 1125-1155). 

Requirements for Successful Innovation

For a company to be successful in innovation, 3M has stated that it needs vision (what it wants to be), foresight (a knowledge of where the world is going), an understanding of its core competencies (which ...
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