Cooking up Knowledge Management: Recipes for Practitioners
On Friday, March 7th, the Knowledge for Health Project and WASHplus teamed up to offer USAID Mini-University participants a taste of knowledge management. Peggy D’Adamo, USAID, opened the session with a reminder that peer-to-peer learning is a powerful way to share, replicate and scale-up what works in development. She spoke of how KM can be part of a change process that can help to overcome bottlenecks, inspire collaboration and generate innovative solutions to problems in our daily work. In the spirit of KM, the session was conducted in a knowledge café style to allow for dialogue on a number of KM topics. A rich discussion took place with participants and some “Knowledge Nuggets” or “Key Ingredients” from each topic emerged:
- Data visualization is an art.
- Structure and storytelling should come first.
- Know your audience and their background.
- Pre-test your data visualization with your target audience to ensure it is communicating the right message.
- Blended learning is a mix of media and environments – it is not new, just more purposeful
- Learning should be flexible and adaptable.
- Be aware of generational divides with technology.
- Use feedback loops to meet user needs – for example with surveys.
Monitoring and Evaluation of KM
- The KM Logic Model is flexible and can be applied to various programs
- Define clearly “knowledge” that you intend to measure.
- Identify “knowledge outputs” before designing specific measurements.
- Selection of indicators is often driven by donor and program priorities.
Usability, Readability and Curation
- Put knowledge where people will see it when they need it.
- Use appropriate language and avoid jargon.
- Know your audience and level of expertise.
- Get to the point to avoid the “too long/didn’t read” effect!
Integrating Social Media into Organizational KM
- Redefine role of knowledge manager/social media strategist.
- Build a business case for social media to drum up organizational support.
- Develop your social media workflow.
- It’s not about reaching so many people, it’s about reaching the right people.
- Not everyone has an always-on, always-connected lifestyle; so keep up the “dark sharing” i.e. emailing.
Managing Knowledge Across Boundaries
- Managing across boundaries requires dedicated staff and commitment from leadership.
- Were KM sits in your organization makes a difference.
- Sometimes simple tools and methods work the best.
- Demonstrate effective knowledge management methods to build a culture of sharing and (good examples makes it seem easier).
- Look for champions at different levels to help facilitate the flow of knowledge and information.
For me, I always enjoy the opportunity to have conversations about the issues individuals and organizations face in knowledge management. This session was a reminder that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to KM but there are some common lessons we can all learn from.