Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Nancy White on knowledge strategies for development

Nancy White's session about knowledge stategies to achieve our missions started with Nancy telling a story and inviting others to share stories about knowledge strategies in their organisation. This post will share the story and a framework for looking at strategies to enhance knowledge management in organisations.

Nancy's story: I was talking on skype with Shawn from Anecdote from Australia, what should we do in this session? I'm also in this project to develop a knowledge sharing toolkit. How can we develop a toolkit that makes sense for all people in various cultural context? Shawn's response was that we need knowledge to do our work, to achieve our goals. So how can we better use knowledge to do our work? He'd done interviews in organisations in Australia, and 13 elements show up very often:

1. Abstract and retain the best people
2. Minimize the impact of people leaving
3. Encourage people to call for help
4. Build better relationships
5. Improve ability to search for and find information
6. Improve ability to find relevant expertise
7. Avoid wheel reinvention
8. Find and apply good practices
9. Build skills and know-how
10. Improve innovation
11.Improve how we learn from mistakes and success
12. Better deal with complex situations
13. Enhance collaboration

I then had another skype conversation with another colleague in Australia, blogged about it, and received comments, amongst others from Jay who said it ties with his work on informal learning, ping me when you have time. So everything ends up being connected. What if we explore this from a community of practice perspective?- we see that 1-4 related to the community element, 5-8 to practice and 9-13 to domain. How can I use my network and community to strategically explore and apply our knowledge sharing practices? Will leadership see why we are so passionate about knowledge sharing? Is this knowledge management?

Some feedback from the group on this framework:

Knowledge management has this connotation of structuring and controlling. We need knowledge management for decision-making, to make the right decisions. Is there a life-cycle for knowledge? Some knowledge may be related to a certain technology, whereas other knowledge is eternal, can we separate the two? Implicit and explicit knowledge has to be differentiated too, a painter has a skill, an organisation wants to turn implicit knowledge into explicit knowledge.

Story by Joitske Hulsbosch

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