• 20 Years in KM: Three Lessons Learned

    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…

  • KM: Three Sectors & Three Spectra

    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

  • KM: Engaging with Other Professions

    Implementing KM, done in a strategic way, has quite an impact on organisations. People see changes such as team learning processes, genuine closing of the learning loop, effective communities, individual knowledge transfer and structured & pragmatic KM Plans for projects and functions. This can cause quite a lot of energy and excitement, not just from individuals but from other professional disciplines – this is because they all work with knowledge whether consciously or otherwise.

    KM needs to reach out to these other disciplines and build relationships with them in a proactive way.

  • Knowledge Sharing Communities

    I have been working in KM for 20 years and Communities 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.

  • Cultural Aspects of KM

    At the end of the day, KM is primarily about culture and culture change. It’s about establishing an organisational expectation and desire to properly manage its knowledge asset. “The way we do things around“ (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.

    KM is not primarily about IT systems or even processes or roles.

  • KM Connect vs KM Collect

    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.

  • Strategic KM v Tactical KM

    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.

  • What is Knowledge Management?

    For me, a key moment came in 1999 when I realised that KM is about treating what we know, both individually and collectively, as an organisational asset – in much the same way as we treat our financial asset. For years afterwards, as I learnt about how to apply KM, if I was trying to figure out the best way forward at any point I found myself thinking, what would we be doing if this was finances / money we are talking about and not knowledge?

  • Project Knowledge Plans

    Best practice KM is about treating knowledge as an asset – just like finances.

    Knowledge Plans for Projects are an effective and practical way of turning this approach into reality (just like a Financial Plan for the Project).

  • KM: Engaging People Emotionally

    Following a meeting this morning about KM implementation I thought I’d share some thoughts on this instead - notably a focus on engaging people emotionally and inspiring them. Advice, feedback on any of this are most welcome!

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