An alternative and useful approach in which to achieve the desired results through the intelligent application of knowledge is as simple as collection, development, storage, use and possession of concepts and facts. In broad terms, this is called competence, which is a systemic approach involves more than just knowledge.

European Guide to good practice in knowledge management (Manual Euro 2003) defines competence as the proper combination of knowledge, experience and motivational factors which allow the person to successfully perform tasks. In this context, competence is the ability to perform tasks correctly, effectively, and in accordance with high quality, in different conditions, to satisfy the end customer. It requires a lot more talent and opportunities than the successful application of knowledge. Therefore, competent people, much more than knowledgeable employee. Competence can also be related to the group or team when the task is performed by more than one person in connection with an interdisciplinary nature, complexity and scale.

Competent person or group provide a number of necessary qualities and abilities, namely:

1. Empirical and scientific knowledge, as well as combinations thereof;

2. Experience of application (knowing what works) in different situations;

3. The incentive and motivation to achieve goals and striving for improvement/excellence.

4. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances and demands by creating new know-how;

5. Ability to perform required tasks efficiently and to minimize the loss of physical and virtual resources.

6. The ability to feel what the customer wants and consistently deliver this in high quality for his satisfaction.

The right combination of these abilities makes the person or group of people (a team) competent in the sense that they will always achieve the desired results effectively, every day or more often than not meet or exceed the expectations of customers in different circumstances. Such groups of people will be recognized for their mastery of the discipline and will be considered not only a source of relevant knowledge.

In this sense, competence is the ability to create success, satisfaction, value and high quality, applying knowledge. It reinforces the axiom that competence is more than just knowledge.