The Knowledge Ecosystems approach
After consultations with its stakeholders in ACP regions, CTA has been applying an interpretation of the Knowledge Ecosystems Approach that provides a useful framework to conceptualise and understand the KM processes at work. The analogy of a tree (the KM Tree) has been effective to help illustrate the framework and has been successfully applied to help stakeholders in ACP regions conceptualise KM in their institutions and networks.
In collaboration with CoCapacity, a questionnaire has been developed to help stakeholder organisations assess the aspects of KM within their institution or network. The analysis, which is a self-assessment, by staff of the institution or network, serves as the basis for facilitated internal discussions on KM and the development of KM action plans or strategies. The process of administering the instrument to the participants, preliminary analysis and facilitation of a workshop with the respondents, the participatory prioritisation and selection of KM interventions to be included in a KM action plan or strategy is referred to as a KM Scan.
The KM Scan at the organisational level
Based on the knowledge ecosystems approach, a survey instrument has been developed jointly by CTA and CoCapacity to enable self-assessment of knowledge management within an organisational context (an organisation can be an institution or a network). The instrument enables an organisation to assess 22 different aspects of KM, which are illustrated as parts of the ‘KM Tree’, representing the KM ecosystem of the organisation. The ‘KM scan’ instrument therefore addresses internal processes as well as stakeholder relations, partnership and interactions with external factors. The ‘KM scan’ has been applied to regional organisations and networks starting with responding to the questionnaire, leading to workshop processes for the identification of good practices in KM to be incrementally adopted, or developing KM action plans and KM strategies.
When applied in the context of an institution, the staff are requested to respond to the questionnaire, which captures their perspective of KM within the institution. The combined results are analysed and discussed with the respondents at a facilitated workshop, where the institutions KM assets and current activities are characterised, good practices in KM are identified and prioritised for implementation. The latter then form part of the institution’s KM Action Plan or KM Strategy, to be implemented and regularly evaluated. A similar corresponding questionnaire has also been designed and applied for networks, whereby a similar process of the KM scan takes place with members of the network filling in the instrument. Generally, the KM scan for organisations has to be facilitated by a KM consultant who can then accompany the organisations up to the development of their KM action plan or strategy.
The KM scan at the level of the individual
CTA and CoCapacity have also collaborated to design a questionnaire that could apply to an individual; “How well do you put into practice Knowledge Management within your environment?” is the question addressed by the Individual KM Scan. The questionnaire of around 150 questions, adapted to an individual’s context, helps you reflect on and assess the same 22 aspects of KM, grouped into five clusters of organisational KM. After having filled in the questionnaire, which is your self-assessment of your KM practices, the system analyses your responses (cross analysis from different parts of the questionnaire) and presents you with a representation of the results in the form of your personal KM tree. Furthermore, based on your self-assessment, you are provided with pointers to resources that you could use to improve on any aspect of KM illustrated on the KM Tree.
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Origin of the KM scan
The KM scan was originally designed to test the level of KM implementation and understanding within an organisation from the industrial sector. Over time, it has been adapted to fit different sectors and tailored to specific needs and demands of organisations, in the for-profit, non-profit and civil society. The KM scan being used by CTA has been adapted to the international development perspective and the refinement has enabled the KM scan to be applicable at the level of institutions, networks, and individuals with little adaptation required for implementation, but which nevertheless require some facilitation of the process.