When contacting organizations with best practice knowledge processes, you should observe this KNOW Network Protocol and Code of Conduct to ensure that all parties benefit from the exchange of best knowledge practices.
1. Prior to initiating contact with a potential best practice knowledge partner, you should have:
a) Determined the knowledge process to be benchmarked.
b) Identified the process steps (flow mapped your existing knowledge process).
c) Competed a rigorous self-assessment of your existing knowledge process.
d) Identified key performance variables.
2. Prepare a one-page survey listing 6-8 questions you would like to ask the best practice knowledge partner. Make the questions as specific as possible. (One of the best ways to verify that you are ready to share information is to answer this survey for your own knowledge process.)
3. Contact the listed KNOW Network member (or indicated contact from a non-member organization), indicate the knowledge process on which you want to exchange information, and ask the contact to supply you with the name of that organization's knowledge process owner. Be willing to supply the best practice knowledge partner with a copy of the process flow map and the list of questions. (You should possess the authority to share your organization's knowledge process information.)
4. Agree in writing the knowledge process information which you are planning to share. You might also be required to sign a confidential agreement before exchanging best practice knowledge process information with a partner.
5. Be willing to provide the same type and level of best practice knowledge process information that you request from your partner. Be honest and complete, and remember that all information should be considered confidential to the individuals and organizations involved.
6. If in any doubt, always take legal advice.
7. Remember to thank the best practice knowledge partner for sharing their process at the end of the exchange.
8. The KNOW Network is based on mutual trust and is dedicated to the identification and exchange of information on best practice knowledge processes. The KNOW Network is not a channel to market or sell commercial products/services. organizations found using membership in The KNOW Network for commercial purposes will have their membership revoked.
Sharing Best Practice Knowledge Processes with Competitors
The following guidelines apply to both partners (if they are competitors or potential competitors) when exchanging best practice knowledge process information.
1. When exchanging best practice knowledge process information with competitors, ensure compliance with competition law.
2. Always take legal advice before contacting a competitor. (When cost is closely linked to price, sharing cost data can be considered to be the same as price sharing.)
3. Do not ask competitors for sensitive data or cause the best practice knowledge partner to feel that they must provide such data to continue the exchange.
4. Do not ask competitors for data outside the agreed scope of the best practice knowledge process exchange.
5. Consider using an experienced and reputable third party to assemble and 'blind' competitive data.
6. Any information obtained from the best practice knowledge process partner should be treated as you would treat any internal, confidential communication. If 'confidential' or 'proprietary' material is to be exchanged, then a specific agreement should be executed to indicate the content of the material that needs to be protected, the duration of the period of protections, the conditions for permiting access to the material, and the specific handling requirements that re necessary for the material.
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