Inside Knowledge Magazine /Knowledge Management Magazine Archive
Volume 5 Issue 4
A sense of community: The role of CoPs in KM
After balancing on the edge of an economic downturn, events on and since the 11 September have tipped the world’s leading economies over the edge, and most companies are now feeling the pinch. The technology sector in particular is vulnerable, as Autonomy’s experience since September shows (see the story later in this section), but examples of firms in any industry that have fared well in recent weeks are rare. More than anything, a pervading sense of gloom seems to have gripped analysts and investors alike.
The immediate reaction of many organisations may be to cut down on what are considered extravagant expenses, but those that include knowledge management – or any discipline that serves to enhance operational efficiency at a time when it is most needed – in this category will surely suffer the consequences when the economy picks up once again, if indeed they survive that long. Delphi Group in fact predicts an upturn in knowledge and content management expenditure (again, see the news story elsewhere on this page), crediting most businesses with taking for granted the link between tough times and the need for more efficient ways of working.
KM may even have a greater role to play in the current crisis than many would have first imagined. The Global Knowledge Economics Council (GKEC) has formed the KM Security and Justice taskforce, to “focus knowledge management science on issues related to the terrorism and homeland security for all anti-terrorist countries”, and is calling for volunteers, equipment, funds and ideas (for more information, visit www.kmforsecurity.org). As Edward Swanstrom, secretary general of the GKEC, says: “The time has come to go beyond the theoretical and metaphysical KM into measurable, rubber-meets-the-road innovations.”
The very goals the taskforce aims to achieve demonstrate the regard its members have for the potential power of KM, and there is little doubt that those organisations that continue to invest the effort and resources in knowledge management will reap the long-term benefits. Already there are indications that the recession may not be as pronounced as many first feared, but unless businesses recognise the importance of adopting working practices that maximise productivity and encourage innovation, they may quickly find themselves trapped in a downward spiral.
A pipeline for collaboration: Leveraging knowledge through storytelling at SIEP
Shell International Exploration and Productions programme for managing its technical and business knowledge is focused on gathering and effectively leveraging expertise within the companys geographically fragmented, multi-disciplinary framework. Enda Logan, in association with Andy Boyd and Brad Vigers, explains how the use of storytelling has helped the organisation overcome the barriers it has encountered and circulate employee expertise to the places it is most needed.
A strategic approach to KM: Aligning knowledge management with organisational objectives at the Department of Health
Knowledge should be at the centre of everything an organisation does, but traditional approaches to knowledge management often fail to link the discipline to the primary aspirations of the business. Tom Knight describes a more strategic approach to KM and explains how the UKs Department of Health has attempted to integrate its knowledge management programme with the core objectives of the organisation.
A tale of the unexpected: The journey of a white paper
Between October 2000 and February 2001, the UK governments Department of Trade and Industry set about putting together a major policy document, its Opportunity for All competitiveness white paper. Pat Langford describes how the department used storytelling to capture and evaluate the processes involved in the formation of the paper, with the ultimate aim of providing future project teams with a survival kit to help them avoid some of the more common mistakes and pitfalls.
Country focus: Lithuania
This month Simon Lelic talks to Robertas Jucevicius and discusses the impact of KM in Lithuania
Desktop knowledge management: The role of office continuity systems in retaining corporate memory [web only article]
One of the biggest challenges facing knowledge management programmes is to somehow capture and store the knowledge held in the heads of departing employees. Bob Lewis explores the contribution office continuity systems can make in addressing this need, arguing that by taking KM to the desktop, the shortcomings of traditional solutions may be overcome.
From storytelling to narrative: Archetypes as an instrument of narrative patterning
At a basic level, archetypes can help a group articulate understanding that has previously been buried; at their most sophisticated, they can help facilitate cultural integration between previously disparate organisations or departments. Dave Snowden draws on recent work conducted by the Narrative Group of the Institute for Knowledge Management to explain how archetypes can be produced and exploited in a corporate environment.
Fuel your imagination: KM and the art of storytelling
Stories have been used for generations as a way to exchange and propagate complex ideas, but the association between storytelling and knowledge management has only recently attracted the widespread attention it warrants. Simon Lelic talks to representatives from SINTEF, Nasa, the World Bank and IBM, and discusses how the techniques can be used to ignite change and encourage collaboration in an organisational setting.
This month's editorial comment. By Simon Lelic.
Lessons from literature: Using genre techniques in internal communications
The traditional nature of corporate communications often fails to inspire employees, with most companies relying on dry, turgid doublespeak to get their point across. Lynn Shepherd and Philip Mann explore the range of techniques open to CEOs looking to engage their workers with language that is at once more authentic, more convincing and more involving.
The ASK story: An insiders perspective on storytelling at Nasa
In order for the agencys project managers to be able to keep up with demands for faster, better and cheaper results, Nasa sought a way to bring its PMs up to speed as quickly as possible. To this end, Todd Post describes the work being undertaken by the team at ASK Magazine, and reveals the role storytelling is playing as a tool for converting tacit to explicit knowledge.
The power of voice: Why storytelling is knowledge management
Storytelling is usually employed to achieve specific results within an organisation, but stories also give rise to unmanaged and often unforeseen effects. Victoria Ward and Kim Sbarcea examine the role of narrative as part of the fabric of both the official and unofficial stories that exist within an organisation, describing three very different types of character that are useful ciphers for the typical narratives of individuals in their relationships with the organisation.
Book review: The E-Learning Revolution
Ana Neves reviews The E-learning Revolution: From Propositions to Action