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).
27 June 2018
A couple of days I go was watching the old movie “The First of the Few” which told the story of R.J. Mitchells’s development of the Spitfire fighter plane starring Leslie Howard as Mitchell and David Niven as his exuberant test pilot. The film is old, black and white and tells quite a story.
10 June 2018
Some time ago I was invited to lead KM implementation at an Oil & Gas Major Projects Contractor. Strategic KM is about taking a holistic approach that is a blend of roles, process, technology and governance – supported by very effective communications to deliver the change in outlooks required. Crucially, it also requires a great deal of piloting to find out and tailor what works...
04 July 2017
A challenge for any organisation is authentically learning from experience, both good and bad. A significant part of the challenge often comes from culture, though there are process and role aspects too. Thought I’d share some thoughts from experience in a range of organisations in this, as usual comments / advice welcome thank you – I find you never stop learning in this area!
25 May 2017
Further to my last missive, I am continuing to learn about this whole area. I recently visited some AI experts who have been developing some very powerful software that can do some amazing things with data (numbers, text and images). I wasn’t too sure whether to be really impressed or a little bit scared of the future.
08 May 2017
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have been on my mind a lot of late. A few weeks ago I was on a website and a photo of a person appeared asking if I wanted to chat. I asked them if they were real or a Bot and there was no response. To this day I don’t know if it was a real person or a Bot, probably the latter.
20 April 2017
This topic has come up a couple of times in the last week or two, thought I’d share some thoughts on it.
Quite often when early talking to organisations I find that they are already doing some KM, even if it’s not called that. An up-front Baseline Assessment can help to reveal this including where the same processes or activities are called different things, and of course where any key gaps in KM are.
27 March 2017
I first came across KM almost exactly 20 years ago. In that period half my time has been spent leading KM Implementation for organisations in different sectors (Defence, Energy & Humanitarian Aid) and half has been supporting others in the same position.
I was asked recently what my top three lessons have been. It’s been a great couple of decades, not always easy and with both successes and challenges - and I have learned a lot for sure!
Follows my top 3 lessons…
09 March 2017
The last couple of weeks have seen meetings to discuss KM that were, separately, Public Sector, Private Sector and Academic focused. Past and current experience working with each sector has helped to remind me where they are both the same and different regarding KM. I long ago gave up any sense that any were better or worse than the others, they are simply different with complementary roles – and of course organisations within the same sector can also vary hugely.
These meetings threw up conversations around three spectrums / spectra (I gather both plural forms are valid!) that are relevant to implementing KM, including the culture change around it