“There are a number of distinctive features by sharing knowledge within public-private inter organizational collaborations. It allows members to explore different ways of thinking about the issues they confront. This is in contrast to the boundaries and constraints the individuals face within their own organisations such as business interests and budgetary responsibilities. Members can then consider the merits of these new ideas at their organisations.” (Van Der Meer et al)
Rosemary Van De Meer, Knowledge Management Strategist & Project Manager from Deakin University, discussed with us about the importance of effective knowledge management strategies:
In your experience, what is the value of Information and knowledge management?
The value of information and knowledge management is in the improved efficiency and reduced risks in organisations.
For example, saving time and effort because you can reuse or adapt things you already have for something else. It’s often easier in time/resources to adapt or modify, than start from scratch.
It also aids reducing risk by knowing what has been done, why it was done and how that reduced or prevented problems. If there were problems, understanding why those problems happened so we don’t do it again.
Too often, I’ve seen organisations try to recreate the wheel (wasted effort) or develop a project/product following the same poor decisions of previous unsuccessful plans.
What are the benefits of IM & KM to gain organisational buy-in?
Show how implementing IM & KM could have reduced issues or saved money. Demonstrate it. Show not only extrinsic (monetary) benefits, but also show the intrinsic benefits in things like better communications, better understandings, more knowledgeable staff.
Organisations often cut costs by looking at what they can save money on. They don’t often look at the IM/KM approaches that could provide the same cost savings but without having to reduce staff/projects/products.
How would you stimulate cultural change & transformation with IM & KM?
- Management leading by example!
- Staff champions. Having staff recognised, valued etc. for contributing, for sharing, for helping. Highlighting the benefits, and providing good incentives. It doesn’t have to be monetary rewards.
It’s funny, I get asked this question a lot with everyone expecting some magic answer. It’s actually really just common sense. These two approaches are well known and simple, yet so often forgotten or poorly considered. People want to share and people want to contribute IM/KM. Demonstrate why they should and recognise the efforts.
How do you effectively communicate your KM vision to your team?
Explain! Explain to staff why they need to follow these approaches or use certain tools. People are much more likely to follow through when they can see and understand the reasons.
Demonstrate – give examples of where there could have been improvements if there had been more IM/KM. Let people see where and why IM/KM could have reduced their work or made things easier.
Follow Up! After explaining, follow up. Then follow up again. IT takes time to form habits. Good IM/KM should be a habit. If you don’t follow up, if you don’t motivate and remind the benefits and reasons, everyone forgets in the mess of everyday work. Follow up!
Show when it works! When people are on board and are doing the IM/KM processes, show them how this has improved things. It promotes and reminds everyone but also gives them the win. The positive reinforcement.
Again, this isn’t difficult. But it does take commitment. You can’t just tell your team to do things. Remind them, show them.
Rosemary Van De Meer:
Dr Rosemary Van Der Meer is a Knowledge Strategist and Project Manager who freelances in the Tertiary Education and Government sectors. Rosemary specialises in government/industry knowledge collaboration, technology methods in knowledge management, and project management. Rosemary has applied her skills in the tertiary education and private sector over the past 20 years within Australia, The Netherlands and China.
Don’t Miss Rosemary’s session on Using technology to leverage corporate knowledge at the Information & Knowledge Management for Effective Decision Making Conference, 27th & 28th February 2019, Sydney.