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Knowledge Management "Know How To" guides

Laureene Reeves Ndagire

TFPL have developed a series of “Know How To” guides to help you implement, embed and sustain good knowledge management practice in your organisation.

The guides give you the basics you need to understand each knowledge management technique and the actions needed to implement them effectively. Each ‘Know How to’ guide stresses the importance of measuring success and demonstrating the value of the technique to your organisation.

These guides are only one component of the assistance TFPL can provide to your organisation. TFPL also provides:

Click on a subject heading below to access their free Know-How to guides and learn more about how they can support you:

Knowledge Harvesting centres on six key steps which organisations should consider and complete to help identify and capture an individual’s tacit knowledge and convert this into a more explicit format that can then be transferred and used by others. Knowledge Harvesting is a knowledge transfer technique that is often undertaken when an individual is about to leave an organisation (e.g. exit interview), but can also be applied to those joining (e.g. induction) or moving (e.g. new role/promotion) within an organisation.

TFPL’s Knowledge Transfer Baseline model is designed to enable organisations to establish a quick, simple, and effective baseline (the current or ‘as is’ position) against which to assess progress in specific targeted knowledge transfer (KT) activities. The model  is based on the knowledge management learning cycle and its key stages of learning before, whilst and after doing.

Gifted Network methodology is designed to enable organisations to establish instant connections and networks (‘a gift’) to help fast-track the introduction of new starters and accelerate their learning. When joining an organisation it takes time for a new starter to get connected with others, establish relationships, and acquire sufficient new knowledge to quickly become effective in their new role. Whilst an organisation’s Induction Programme will cover much the generic knowledge required to work in the organisation, these programmes are often completed ‘once a quarter’ or following the intake of a number of new starters. For many, participation in these programmes is often several weeks (if not months) after they have started in their new role.

Knowledge Assets are designed to provide a function, a business process, a team with a knowledge base of the most pertinent information for the job including source documents, work practices, experts and other essential contacts – all current and well sign posted – with clear responsibilities for updating owners to contact – and wanting you to contribute your experience so that others can benefit. In short, an easy to use one stop shop.
A well organised knowledge asset that links to essential and selected information can:
1.  Speed up induction of new staff and guide them to what they need to know before starting work
2. Enable staff to work efficiently and reliably
3.  Prevent loss of knowledge as people change jobs or leave
4. Make workers feel valued for what they know and contribute
5. Reassure an organisation that it’s working from a firm and reliable foundation of its knowledge and experience.

Communities are generally considered to be exceptionally good approaches to sharing knowledge within organisations and with partners. Firstly, definitions: “A community is a group of people engaging with one another, who are not limited by physical location, and who want to share experience with one another, improve their expertise, and achieve success for their organisation”.
Within the workplace, the most frequently seen communities are:
1.  Communities of practice: groups of people who share a passion or a responsibility for similar areas of work and whose goal is to build good practice, resolve immediate and longer term problems, learn together and apply leading edge knowledge by collaborating across the ‘business’. Collectively, they are the ‘keepers’ or ‘custodians’ of the practice over time.
2.  Communities of purpose: groups of people who share a common goal for which they’re being held accountable e.g. a project, task force or steering group task. Their time horizon will be shorter term.
3. Communities of interest: bring together people who are likely to have different roles in an organisation but who have a common interest in a topic (business or social) and who want to ensure their knowledge is current.
Communities reflect the concept of the informal organisation – the web of relationships that help individuals work effectively and feel at home in their organisation.

Knowledge Flows: Knowledge is the lifeblood of an organisation – and, if an organisation is to operate effectively and efficiently, its knowledge should flow freely and quickly from the parts of the organisation that have it to the parts that need it.

TFPL’s approach to helping organisations understand and map their knowledge flows is derived from the well known knowledge cycle that links Creation and/or Finding; Capturing, Organising, and Maintaining; Sharing, Disseminating, and Transferring; and Using and Re-using as a circle of activity.

1. Knowledge Creation: Actions to enable organisations to acquire and create the new knowledge required to develop and grow; awareness that new knowledge is created though work experience and as a result of sharing, transfer and retention activities

2. Knowledge Sharing: Developing an organisational environment and culture that values and recognises the power of knowledge sharing –internally and externally –as a key enabler of knowledge flow and success

3. Knowledge Transfer: Having a plan in place to identify and prioritise knowledge transfer targets; actions to facilitate knowledge transfer; and measures to assess the effectiveness and impact of knowledge transfer activities

4. Knowledge Retention: Knowing what knowledge is important to an organisation; having an understanding of the areas of knowledge at risk; and managing organisational knowledge as a strategic asset

KM activities are at their most successful when supported by three essential resources: Organisational (people based), Process, and Technology enablers. Knowledge Managers need to know how to align and blend these enablers to connect people to people, people to the information and knowledge they need, and to the tools and technologies that help them collaborate and store and find information and knowledge.