posted 29 Jun 2009 in Volume 12 Issue 9
Best of friends…
Naguib Chowdhury asks ‘do you have a KM buddy group’?
Are you looking for someone to share your frustrations or to get some quick-win tips on how to implement a knowledge management (KM) programme? Perhaps you’re comfortable with sharing your failures and learning some effective practices from another fellow ‘KMers’, then attempting to implement them at your workplace. But, you might not feel comfortable indulging in such a sharing spirit in a formal networking group or seminar, or in your local KM society gathering. So, what’s the solution? I have the same problem – not feeling comfortable in sharing my failures in a formal setting – so prefer to bring people together for an evening coffee and a chance to collaborate and learn.
Building up the group
To build an informal group, get together with a few friends around once a month, perhaps in a local coffee shop, to share what you and your organisation are working on in KM.
Try to listen to each other carefully and provide feedback – for example, suggestions to improve performance and efficiency. You can also facilitate non-KM discussions and talk about other events or industry shows, but at the end of the day, the goal is to pick up some new techniques and ideas from each other. These can be tested in your own organisations and, by helping each other, you build a good rapport within the group. This builds trust and generates even more knowledge sharing amongst the buddies.
Case Study: ‘KM buddies’ in
Formal code of conduct – we didn’t have any set rules for the session and tried to make it as informal as possible;
Theme for discussion – sometimes we chose a theme and discussed around that but most of the time we did not have a moderator. Anyone could take the lead. We encouraged open criticism, but didn’t indulge in critical thinking;
Membership – there is no such term in the network. Anybody could join and, in many cases, people would attend time and again;
Communication – most of the time we announced the news of the meeting in our Yahoo groups e-mail and invited everyone to participate. Attendance was free, on the basis that knowledge sharing and group learning were integral to the survival of KM.
Social networks are highly important now more than ever, especially with the global recession. People are collaborating more, mainly online, and social networking sites are ever more popular. By meeting up on regular basis and discussing how KM can add more value to your company and how to think differently, you can perhaps make your role and that of KM indispensable.
Naguib Chowdhury is a knowledge management specialist at Islamic Development Bank. He can be contacted at email@example.com
‘The gathering gives me an opportunity to meet up with people who are directly, and indirectly, involved or thinking of going into KM. It’s a great opportunity to learn from others, especially their obstacles and ways of solving problems that they have encountered. It is a good social and networking senario for both KM experts and novices.’
‘It’s fun to meet new people who are also passionate about KM like me.’
‘I am not doing any KM work, but I am developing user manuals on various areas. After coming to this gathering, I thought, ‘hey, I’m doing some KM work too – documentation – which is vital for success at any organisation.’