Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Your recommendations for your organisation's KM in the future?

In our organisation, we are currently conducting a Knowledge Management Review (often also called a Knowledge Audit). The objectives of the review are to establish a baseline regarding where the organisation is now with respect to KM practices, to develop a better understanding of existing good practices and perceived needs in regards to knowledge sharing and to identify priority KM initiatives for the future.

One component of this review is a quite comprehensive online survey, mostly with multiple choice questions, but also with some fields to state opinions in free text. Even though it was part of the team which developed the survey, as a staff member I was also entitled to fill it in myself. The final question in the survey asks "What are your personal recommendations and expectations regarding the organisation's knowledge management in the future?". So here's my answer to this question:
  1. Let's not go for a big bang KM strategy, but rather launch various different small initiatives (e.g. introduction of handover procedures, FAQ for newcomers, etc).
  2. Let's not discuss KM further on a too broad level. Let's start doing something. We should just try things out. Some of the small initiatives will work, others will fail, and that's ok. Every organization is different. We will only learn and improve our KM if we go and start doing it.
  3. The introduction of communities of practices could surely improve the way we work and enable us to learn from each other across units, duty stations and countries.
  4. Especially online social networking within and across these communities could be a great tool to improve internal communication and to overcome the gap between headquarters and country teams, as well as the issue of each HQ unit working for itself (working in silos).
  5. Realize that Web 2.0 is all about focusing on people, rather than documents or technology. There is a huge potential for organizational change in there, to create an open, transparent, collaborative and knowledgeable organization. Let's make use of this opportunity!
  6. Let's thoroughly analyse the organization’s business processes and brainstorm how we can learn before, while and after doing whatever we do. Let’s develop prescriptive contents (guidance on how things should be done) for our business processes and link them to open contributions by users in which they can add tips & tricks on how these processes work in practice. This way, lessons learned are not dumped in a database, but are accessible exactly where the process takes place (and where prescriptive content is looked up).
What's your opinion is about these recommendations? And how about your organisation? Do you think these are rather specific comments on a specific organisation's case or could these remarks apply to more organisation's out there?

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