- How to speed learning, increase awareness and share experiences.
With an ever deceasing half-life of knowledge , just keeping up has become a major corporate imperative. Sure we have improved search engines, more stuff on the web and many ways to make connections, but the difficulty is making sense and finding people really 'in-the-know'. We need practical ways to build personal informal networks.
Helping groups learn from mistakes and errors, practices to carry over learnings from project to project and improve corporate memory. We have made little progress in preventing those repeating errors, as firms grow in size and complexity, building relationships that enable knowledge flows, keeping in the loop and finding stuff becomes a huge issue. Could we improve the situation by adopting some emergent mindsets & web2.0 practices?
- Discovering opportunities and gaps in knowledge flows, improving personal networking and finding experts (in larger firms).
This requires ethnographic digging, an understanding of the organization, a deep appreciation of knowledge practices and emergent affordances. Not many firms recognize or care about sub-optimal performance in this area - the results you see, are diffuse, obtuse and difficult to fit into classic ROI models.
- Providing environments, tools and processes that encourage informal learning, knowledge sharing of effective practices and stimulate innovation.
Communities of practice, incentives & recognition for personal mentoring, story collection and telling, cross-domain and silo sharing can be useful, but there needs to sustained executive drive and support for this to have an impact.
- Improving competitive advantage, agility and adaption by making staff more aware, sharing the small insights, building on incremental improvements.
Open space methods, creating forums and 'Ba' for trusted exchanges, blogging and informal wikis may help. Once again top level support, legitimization and walking the talk - leading via example is the key.
- Finding tacit knowledge sources and helping to put these to work.
Tacit knowledge discovery is tedious, slow and difficult - most firms shy away from allocating resources to projects dealing with intangibles, where outcomes are unknown and ROI is hard to prove. As knowledge retention becomes an issue due to workforce transitions, this problem is not going away soon.
Great stuff Denham.