This research improved the performance of organisations involved in the development and production of complex product systems, and contributed to the theoretical understanding of knowledge management practices in project-based organisations. The project took place between 1998 and 2001 and provided a foundation research for subsequent projects.
CENTRIM's previous research on high-value, complex products and systems showed that it was extremely difficult for firms to learn systematically from project to project. There existed few, if any, explicit mechanisms to enable knowledge capture, and there was little awareness as to what constitutes best practice in the field.
The loss of corporate knowledge from project to project had far-reaching implications for performance, productivity and competitiveness among suppliers and users.
The project objectives were to identify, test and refine knowledge management tools in order to improve the performance, productivity and competitiveness of companies and their suppliers when working on complex projects.
The research identified and tested mechanisms that enable the capture and transfer of knowledge between projects. An audit tool and generic model helped Complex Product Systems developers and producers to select appropriate mechanisms to:
The research involved collaboration with a small number of partner firms that acted as test beds for specific knowledge management tools and methods unearthed during the project. Work included desk-based research, an interview-based survey of international best practice among companies in the UK, Europe, North America and Japan, identification of existing tools, and the development and testing of new methods of IPKCT for the participating firms.
Key among our research findings was the development of a systematic method to capture knowledge associated with projects and companies.
In addition to the creation of a knowledge capture method to harness the information created in diverse projects, project phases and companies, we also had impact through the development of the following outputs:
Professor Howard Rush, Professor of Innovation Management
Dr Nick Marshall, Senior Research Fellow
Professor Tim Brady, Professor of Innovation
Andrea Prencipe, Research Fellow
Cable & Wireless
Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa
School of Development Studies, University of Natal