Figuring out where to begin: How to do KM for a start-up business unit (Part 2)

Following my earlier post on my assignment with the Sub-Regional Response Facility for Syria in Amman, Jordan, I'd like to follow up with the results of the needs assessment that we conducted, and the resulting directions for knowledge management that the Facility identified for itself.

Role and audience as prioritized by the Facility
After exploring the potential roles, audiences and challenges of the Facility, its mandate, the management of the Facility defined the Facility’s role and audience for 2014-15 as follows:

The Facility sees its knowledge management role in brokering partnerships and exchanges, and facilitating innovation on the issue of a resilience-based development in context of the Syria crisis. It will do so by also facilitating, investing in and drawing on data-driven catalytic research and development, however, it does not see itself as a research institution.

In terms of audience, it will take an incremental approach over time in which it will – through the work of the Regional UN Working Group on Resilience – focus in the short-term on serving UNDP Country Offices, then expand this work to UNCTs and UNDG agencies, and later target the larger development community of governments, NGOs and other partners.

The incremental approach to widen the audience of the Facility’s work over time is illustrated in the following figure:

Recommended Knowledge Management Activities for the Sub-Regional Facility
One concern raised by the management team of the Facility was that – given the Facility’s limited team size –its KM approach should not be too complex in order to avoid any capacity issues (recruitment of a Knowledge Management Specialist position is planned for Q1 2014). With the direction for knowledge management of the Facility derived from the knowledge needs assessment, and keeping in mind the need for prioritization due to capacity constraints, UNDP was then able to identify potential KM initiatives that can support a knowledge agenda focusing on brokering and innovating – as well as to some extent research – and that targets first UNDP Country Offices and UNDG audiences, as shown in this figure:

The following are the recommendations for knowledge management activities for the Sub-Regional Facility:
  1. An online collaboration space for the Facility, targeted at the Regional Working Group and invited guests;
  2. Establishment of a UNDG-wide Community of Practice on resilience-based development, including selected guests from academia;
  3. Mapping of stakeholders for research on resilience and partners for engagement on Resilience-Based Development;
  4. Exploration of organizing social innovation camps in Jordan, Lebanon and/or Turkey to identify and prototype e-governance solutions for a priority issue (e.g. local services), potentially in combination with a public innovation competition to crowd-source practical solutions to local challenges around resilience-based development.
  5. Series of targeted consultations on questions related to resilience with staff across UNDG agencies, as well as invited external guests from academia, international organizations, NGOs and private sector partners.

While not immediately being in the focus of the Facility in terms of role and audience, the following activities can also add value to its knowledge agenda:
  1. Conducting monthly webinars, to periodically inform UNDP and UNDG stakeholders about the Facility’s ongoing work, outputs and results, and foster learning among stakeholders;
  2. Creation of visualizations and infographics, to use as communication, capacity building and advocacy tool, packaging evidence from research and results of the Facility’s work;
  3. Maintaining a regular blog about the Facility’s ongoing work and results, to increase visibility and influence the general debate on resilience
Finally, to support the Facility’s internal work, the application of the following is also recommended:
  1. Peer Assists, applied as needed to get input from peers on internal tasks and challenges of the Facility;
  2. After-Action Reviews, applied consistently after key events or activities of the Facility to reflect on its ongoing work and capture learning points.

What could those priorities entail in detail? Expect a last blog post elaborating on each of the initiatives, as well as some first results in implementing this work plan!


Unknown said…
Geee Louise Johannes! Have a look at Perhaps scoring all the mentioned KM-interventions on my KM framework might make better clear whats on the pile.
Further, I hope you have enough people and budget otherwise your KM will meander to standstill. Cheers, Jaap
Good point Jaap! Of course, I'm not really suggesting to do all of this at once :) I expect management will pick off 2-3 things of this list that it really wants to do this year, and the other potential initiatives will take a backseat for a while.

Thanks for the framework link, will take a look! Johannes

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