Knowledge Pathways: 3 Case Studies (Practical Hint #22)

Please first review the previous blog on “Knowledge pathways in a learning organization.” The following three case studies are drawn from our KM consulting experiences at CCLFI.

Case Study 1. These are the new knowledge pathways resulting from the KM initiatives of a big government ministry/department:

pathways 1

The characteristics of this organization’s KM initiatives are as follows:

  • Membership of the cross-functional KM Team is drawn from about 20 functional units.
  • The KM team was involved in the KM audit, KM strategy formulation and KM action planning activities.
  • Nurturing of the KM Team took the form of KM training using experiential exercises and KM mentoring as the team members “learn KM by doing KM.” Their practice projects are various web-based KM toolkits.
  • The KM Team launched a wiki to reconstruct the KM history of their department, the first Philippine department to formally set up a KM unit in 2001.
  • The KM Team practiced in documenting a sample business process (procedures to be followed by a retiring staff) and placed their output in the department intranet.

Actual feedbacks from KM Team members:


    “I am more confident now to promote KM in [my unit]; being equipped with all ideas from the KM meetings and workshop.”

    “[I learned] that I love my work more – because of the KM challenge. Would like to see this work and take part in its success.”

    “KM also responds to the heart of the worker by way of interaction, collegiality and peer learning. To me this is a very holistic approach in the development of the person/worker.”

Case Study 2. These are the new knowledge pathways resulting from the KM initiatives of a government regulatory agency:

pathways 2

The characteristics of this organization’s KM initiatives are as follows:

  • A KM Team was set up consisting of a Process Sub-Team, a Technology Sub-Team and a People Sub-Team.
  • KM training was through workshops that use adult experiential learning processes.
  • The central KM initiative is mentoring of the KM Team in setting up their intranet and organizing/uploading content.
  • The next activity was mentoring the KM Team in documenting and automating a business process through their new intranet.

Actual feedbacks from KM Team members:


    “The development of the Intranet was a very challenging activity. To be able to put all the information and knowledge in a one-stop shop for the benefit of the organization is just a great achievement.”

    “What I like is the part where we are actually doing the hands-on, applying what we have learned from the lectures”

    “The development of the Intranet system gave me freedom to speak my mind by contributing some articles for uploading at the Intranet”

Case Study 3: These are the new knowledge pathways resulting from the KM initiatives of a multi-sectoral organization consisting of representatives from the national and local governments, local community organizations and non-government organizations, and private sector. The red arrows show where and how tacit knowledge is increased through practice.

pathways 3

The characteristics of this organization’s KM initiatives are as follows:

  • Their biggest problem is high turnover of membership resulting in constant loss of knowledge and long learning curves of new members.
  • The solution was (a) training in team learning including convening Lessons-Learned Meetings or LLM to elicit and document what works well in existing procedures and (b) compilation of administrative and technical documentations into a “Learning-Oriented Systems Manual.”
  • A subset of the Manual was used for briefing of new members.
  • The executive committee adopted a new vision: “to become a living, learning organization.”
  • LLM was adopted as an organizational habit: “what worked well” and “what did not work” was answered and documented at the end of every activity: meetings, field operations, etc.

Actual feedbacks from the members:


    “I learned that learning can be tremendously fun… the atmosphere becomes conducive if you have fun while learning.”

    “The process, the flow, the sequence of events were very well placed and very appropriate that even the games brought us to higher levels of interaction.”

    “Here, we are taught to take notice of those that are not usually taken notice of in the ordinary course of thinking.”

    “I passed through the `unlearning’ stage, then the `learning’ stage, then perhaps it may be more than this, but the end of it is the ‘appreciation’ stage.”

Overall observations:

  • Documentation is not the end-point of the KM pathways; the end-point is adoption/practice by other employees for their more effective action.
  • The mix of KM pathways varies across organizations; it responds to what the organization wants from KM.
  • “Learning by doing” coupled with mentoring/coaching is an effective knowledge transfer from consultant plus learning by client. There are three secrets to good KM: practice, more practice and still more practice! (smile)
  • Experiential workshops are effective in helping KM team members understand and appreciate KM.
  • Participation, team practice and involvement tends to develop sense of ownership on the part of KM Team members.

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