09 September 2020
I have been working in KM for over 23 years and Communities (typically Communities of Practice, though variations are possible) are still amongst my favourite aspects of a learning organisation.
They are quite hard to start up and sustain in a good way, but when they work well they add so much value for both individuals and the organisations in which they work. In simple terms, Communities allow peer practitioners within an organisation to find each other, connect, ask for help and offer advice.
In these difficult times, as organisations adapt to the challenges from Covid 19, the potential for effective Communities made up of individuals working remotely from their colleagues is huge. What does this mean in practice?
24 August 2020
At the end of the day, KM is primarily about culture and culture change. It’s about establishing an organisational expectation and desire to professionally manage its knowledge asset. “The way we do things around here“ (as I’ve heard culture described) includes attention given to knowledge planning and the application of KM activities such as team learning processes, knowledge-sharing communities and individual knowledge transfer.
10 August 2020
One of the things that I have learned is important in KM is awareness of the Connect – Collect spectrum; not just technically but the cultural implications too.
26 July 2020
In talking to organisations about KM this week, the question of strategic v tactical came up so I thought I’d re-share this post from a few years ago.
I have heard and been involved in quite a few conversations over the years (including before my involvement in KM) along the line of “what’s the difference between strategy and tactics?”. In the early days they were interesting but they tended to be quite rambling and I was never quite sure that anyone, including me, really had the answer.
20 July 2020
I thought I’d share once again a story from a few years ago. It talks about how routine organisational learning can identify patterns and priorities in Lessons Learned.
I was providing Knowledge Management to a Humanitarian Aid Agency. Knowledge Planning was in its infancy at the time but the approach was being welcomed as a means to structure things across the Regional Desks. I was new to the sector and learning as I went – it was a steep learning curve!
12 July 2020
The benefits of KM come from managing our most important asset – what we know. It’s often said that People are our greatest asset – my view is that it is true because of what they know, both individually and collectively. This is why we need people – because of what they know!
We need peoples’ knowledge to Flow. It mustn’t sit in pools and become stagnant; it needs to flow between people, teams, projects and functions. This is what good KM achieves.
06 July 2020
How do you really get people engaged and inspired by Knowledge Management?
Was looking back at some past posts and found this one in my archive which I thought I’d share again - advice, feedback on any of this are most welcome!
21 June 2020
In the current Covid-19 climate, the need for organisations to bounce back, and increasing interest around Knowledge Management (KM), I was asked recently what KM actually is. It’s important to remember the foundational principles while adapting them to the current situation.
30 March 2020
7 things organisational Knowledge Managers and other KM staff can be doing now
1. Keep the knowledge flowing
At the level of principle, nothing has changed Knowledge Management is still about managing the organisational knowledge asset including knowledge flow, learning, and sharing. This principle still applies even though many are working from home.
2. Keep up morale
Knowledge Managers tend to be quite people and socially-minded, and can help maintain morale by building connections, communicating and encouraging staff to be proactive in networking and building their own and the organisation’s knowledge. They can help energise the organisation when many staff may be feeling a little flat.
3. Maintain Knowledge Plans
Knowledge Managers assigned to Projects and Functions can maintain their Knowledge Plans, this helps to give confidence to staff that learning is taking place and the corporate memory is being maintained. Team learning processes may need to be done virtually instead of face to face, but a combination of phone conversations and online meetings can help this to happen.
If Projects and Functions are being paused due to the current situation, then the Knowledge Manager should be making sure the Knowledge Plan is brought up to date so that it is easier to re-start business when the time comes.
Knowledge Managers themselves should themselves be connecting regularly to share insights and lessons from across the organisation.
If a business is continuing, even if at a slower rate, then Knowledge Managers can organise virtual events where business players share their progress and lessons with others across the organisation.
4. Maintain Communities of Practice
Communities of Practice can be maintained assuming staff can still have access to a platform to connect and share. Community Leaders and Facilitators need to be proactive in encouraging their members to participate, and a review of the community Terms of Reference or Charter may help to remind people of why the community is important to the organisation and the value it brings. Even if staff are unable to access the usual platform, then key community members should be encouraged to remain in contact using other media such as by voice or virtual meetings respecting security issues.
(I once knew a community member who was in a war zone – he’d only be available to contact others at night as his satphone was hidden underground during daylight hours! But he made the effort because it helped him to talk to others with similar roles and seek their advice).
Again, if the business is paused then the Community Leader and Facilitator needs to capture community documentation and discussions for storage so that they can be re-started at a later date, ideally with a good re-launch event.
5. Knowledge succession planning
Some key members of staff may be coming up for retirement in the coming months or perhaps a year ahead. They, their line managers, key staff remaining and Knowledge Managers need to outline a plan for how the risk from knowledge loss can be mitigated. This whole approach applies in normal circumstances and shouldn’t be forgotten in this period.
6. Run training courses
KM training courses can still be run individually or in groups virtually for staff across the organisation – this will help to reinforce the need for knowledge flow and maintaining a corporate memory.
7. Keep in contact
The senior KM leader needs to remain in contact with senior management in the usual way, championing the KM cause and clarifying which knowledge needs to receive focus given the business strategy, direction, and objectives.
In summary, many of the principles of KM remain in place during this period – all those in KM roles need to play a key leadership role in maintaining the organisation.
30 July 2018
A colleague recently pointed out that I have implemented KM in organisations within three different sectors (humanitarian aid, energy and defence engineering) and asked what my single most common learning was. (All three implementations, applying change management principles, brought sustained change and each took 3 – 4 years).