"Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems."
- Rene Descartes (1596-1650), "Discours de la Methode"
This short quote has so much meat that I may need two or three posts to give all my thoughts on it.
But let's start with what I think is essential for any organization -- to (as Peter Senge of MIT would say) become a "learning organization." In most organizations learning is done on an individual basis, either through continuing education or by on-the-job experiences. However, a huge opportunity is missed when what an individual, or a team, learns is not shared with others in similar roles.
In order to share learning, opportunities to "download" this knowledge must be created. Most think first of technology like databases and contact management software. These can be very useful, but the place to start is by identifying the situations where learning is taking place and then finding ways to compile this learning (debriefings, group meetings, questionnaires, maybe even something as simple as creating a list of people with expertise in certain areas for others in the organization to go to with their questions).
In the end, the more efficient an organization is at sharing knowledge the stronger it will be.