Posts Tagged ‘demand-driven KM’

T1-4 Convince Board Members on KM in One Hour

December 3, 2009

In September 2005, the Executive Director of STREAMS (an international network of NGOs in water and sanitation, which was one of CCLFI’s partners) asked for our help. STREAMS Board members flew to Manila and are meeting together with an Observer from their major funding sponsor, the Netherlands Government. She asked, can I please convince her Board that KM is important? My time slot was only one hour. And she warned that the Observer is avowedly skeptical of KM!

I did a quick workshop with the Board members, where I asked a series of 3 questions.

I asked the Chairwoman (the CEO of the Water Research Commission of South Africa) Question 1: To an outsider like me, can she please tell me in a few brief sentences what are the valuable development results their network wants to achieve?

I then wrote the key phrases on the whiteboard; the result was 2-3 key outcomes.

We next distributed metacards (similar to Post-Its) and felt pens to the Board members including the Observer. Then I asked them to write down (in short phrases) answers to Question 2: What programs, functions or projects of your network and its members are most important in achieving those development results?

We posted and clustered their answers on the white boards. After about 20 minutes discussion, we picked out a very important function or program. There was much debate what is the “most” important; so we settled for “a very important” program.

I next asked them to write down again in metacards, their answers to Question 3: What skills, information/knowledge, support systems and relationships are most important in implementing this program well?

Again we posted and clustered their answers. We then discussed the results and after about 30 minutes arrived at a priority shortlist of Generator Knowledge Assets or GKAs.

Finally, I concluded, “according to your collective judgement, the successful performance of your organization hinges on how well you manage these few Generator Knowledge Assets.”


Working backwards to identify GKAs

High-Octane KM: Working backwards to identify GKAs


In about one hour, the Board members saw: (a) the importance of KM to their organization, (b) the link between KM and their organization’s goals, and (c) that focused KM can be inexpensive.

Managing only the GKAs is “high-octane KM”. It is “lean and mean” KM.

During coffee break, the Observer approached me and said something to the effect that KM is indeed important.

I maintain that KM initiatives must be driven by the socially (or commercially) valuable outcomes an organization wishes to achieve or contribute to. One way to ensure this is to ask your internal and external customers’ needs and requirements. In other words, KM must be demand-driven, not supply-driven. KM must start with customer needs.

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Q28- Recap of KM Virtues and Gaps, or Will KM Disappear?

May 30, 2009

This Q Series had been a successful one; 16,267 hits came in since it started. We end this blog series with this summarizing post. To better appreciate an item that strikes you, I suggest reading the blog which explains that point. The blogs are accessible from this post through embedded links (which appear as colored text). While pressing “Ctrl”, you can click on the colored text to create a new tab to read the previous blog post referred to.

Virtues of KM and OL (organizational learning):

Gaps in KM and OL practice:

What we need next, a new KM or the next discipline after KM:

Q28 cartoon

We will start the new L Series on “Indigo Learning Practices” in the next blog. Stay tuned in!

(Note that there are embedded links in this blog post. They show up as colored text. While pressing “Ctrl” click on any link to create a new tab to reach the websites pointed to.)

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Selecting a Cost-Effective KM Project (Practical KM Hint #4)

January 9, 2009

In actual KM practice, I apply the principle discussed in Q3 (“The Customer is King”; But the King is Blind!?) in KM audits and in selecting a cost-effective KM project for an organization.

  • I apply “High-Octane KM”© (see “F6- “High-Octane KM” is Demand-Driven KM”)
  • I ask managers what are their “high gain” and “high pain” areas and examine how KM can address them.
  • I ask knowledge workers (the users of knowledge) what knowledge and information they need most often for doing their job. This and similar questions are essential when an organization is starting an intranet because they need to place priority content and priority functionalities “within two clicks away” in their intranet.
  • I help executives identify generator knowledge assets for their core business process as well as critical knowledge assets for managing risks.
  • I suggest to managers that the best way to improve their business process and its knowledge inputs is to get feedback from their internal and/or external customers.
  • I look for ways to strengthen the feedback from marketing staff to product development staff. For example, customer complaints contain knowledge useful for product or process improvement. The best set-up is where the product development or R&D unit is directly under the VP for Marketing.

Cheers!

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D8- Knowledge Push versus Knowledge Pull

December 7, 2008

Examples of enterprises/tools that “push” knowledge or information outward:

  • Libraries
  • Traditional media: TV, radio, magazines, newspapers
  • Portals
  • Knowledge centers
  • Most Internet websites
  • Databanks, knowledge repositories, knowledge banks
  • Advertisements
  • Blog posts and story telling

Examples of enterprises/tools that “pull” knowledge or information inward:

  • Enterprises that offer research assistance services
  • Customized news alerts
  • Help desks
  • Search engines, especially those that are customized or federated over a specialized set of URLs or a particular type of networks/communities of interest.
  • RSS and Atom feeds

Examples of enterprises/tools that enable matching/connection between users and suppliers of knowledge/information:

  • e-Commerce networks, clearinghouses
  • Enterprises that enable trading, e.g. eBay
  • Professional networks with query-answer functionalities e.g. Solutions Exchange, LinkedIn
  • Directories
  • Knowledge repositories set up and used by specialized interest or academic groups
  • Taxonomies and CMS functionalities such as tags, keywords and categories

Note that solely “knowledge push” approaches are knowledge owner/supplier driven and tend to be expensive (see previous post on “D7- Supply-driven KM versus Demand-driven KM”). “Knowledge pull” approaches are user-driven and generally more cost-effective because the effort expended by the knowledge supplier is only that which is needed to fulfill each user’s specific needs.

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D7- Supply-driven KM versus Demand-driven KM

December 3, 2008

Signs that a KM program, project or initiative is supply driven:

  • The link between KM and organizational goals is unstated, unclear or taken for granted.
  • The KM initiative starts with a solution or tool, e.g. intranet or community of practice.
  • The question “what do we know?” drives the KM initiative.
  • The KM initiative revolves around describing knowledge supply and uses KM tools such as knowledge inventory, knowledge mapping, tracing knowledge flows, data banking or data warehousing, storytelling, blogs and/or social network analysis; asking knowledge users what they need or asking feedback from internal/external customers is absent
  • The KM initiative is basically top-down or external consultant driven or technology oriented, with little participation or input from its users and beneficiaries
  • The KM framework is the knowledge cycle, or some kind of KM maturity model or a model disconnected from organizational value creation or performance.
  • The purpose adopted is “to share knowledge” or “to codify knowledge” but the questions “what for?” and “why?” are left unanswered.
  • The KM metrics, if any, are not related or remotely related to organizational goals.

If your KM initiative is supply-driven, then its contribution to organizational goals is unclear and it is likely to be not cost-effective or worse, it is wasting resources.

Signs that a KM program, project or initiative is demand-driven:

  • The alignment between KM goals and organizational goals is clearly stated; how KM will contribute to organizational value creation is explicit.
  • The KM initiative starts with a problem or need; it addresses an organization’s “highest pain.”
  • The question “what do we need to know” drives the KM initiative.
  • KM starts with knowledge needs/gaps analysis, survey of knowledge needs of users/stakeholders or feedback of internal and/or external customers.
  • The KM intervention is designed around the value proposition of the organization; it seeks to contribute to the enhancement of the organization’s core business process or “highest gain”
  • The purpose adopted is to improve performance, to produce some desired results or to enhance value creation.
  • The KM metrics, if any, are directly linked to organizational goals.

Read about an example of lean and mean KM in: “High-Octane KM” is Demand-Driven KM. Read also about the difference between “knowledge-push” and “knowledge-pull” approaches.

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F6- “High-Octane KM” is Demand-Driven KM

October 13, 2008

Here is a story how CCLFI.Philippines applied the M&E (monitoring and evaluation) framework I described in my previous post.

In September 2005, the Executive Director of STREAMS (an international network of NGOs in water and sanitation, which was one of CCLFI.Philippines’ partners) asked for our help. STREAMS Board members flew to Manila and are meeting together with an Observer from their major funding sponsor, the Netherlands Government. She asked, can I please convince her Board that KM is important? My time slot was only one hour. And she warned that the Observer is avowedly sceptical of KM!

I did a quick workshop with the Board members, where I asked a series of 3 questions.

I asked the Chairwoman (the CEO of the Water Research Commission of South Africa) Question 1: To an outsider like me, can she please tell me in a few brief sentences what are the valuable development results their network wants to achieve?

I then wrote the key phrases on the whiteboard; the result was 2-3 key outcomes.

We next distributed metacards (similar to Post-Its) and felt pens to the Board members including the Observer. Then I asked them to write down (in short phrases) answers to Question 2: What programs, functions or projects of your network and its members are most important in achieving those development results?

We posted and clustered their answers on the white boards. After about 20 minutes discussion, we picked out a very important function or program. There was much debate what is the “most” important; so we settled for “a very important” program.

I next asked them to write down again in metacards, their answers to Question 3: What skills, information/knowledge, support systems and relationships are most important in implementing this program well?

Again we posted and clustered their answers. We then discussed the results and after about 30 minutes arrived at a priority shortlist of Generator Knowledge Assets or GKAs.

Finally, I concluded, “according to your collective judgement, the successful performance of your organization hinges on how well you manage these few Generator Knowledge Assets.”


Working backwards to identify CKAs

High-Octane KM: Working backwards to identify GKAs


In about one hour, the Board members saw: (a) the importance of KM to their organization, (b) the link between KM and their organization’s goals, and (c) that focused KM can be inexpensive.

Managing only the GKAs is “high-octane KM”. It is “lean and mean” KM.

During coffee break, the Observer approached me and said something to the effect that KM is indeed important.

I maintain that KM initiatives must be driven by the socially valuable outcomes an organization wishes to achieve or contribute to. One way to ensure this is to ask your internal and external customers’ needs and requirements. In other words, KM must be demand-driven, not supply-driven. “Knowledge push” or supply-driven KM tends to be expensive (e.g. big databases, portals and knowledge centers, knowledge mapping/inventories). “Knowledge pull” from users is more cost-effective (e.g. Help Desks) because the only effort you exert is whatever is needed to solve a specific problem or need of a specific user. High-octane KM is an example of demand-driven KM.

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