Filed under: Knowledge management
This week I was at the Act-KM conference on knowledge management, held in Canberra. Sitting listening to the presentations, and talking with my peers, something really struck me:
A number of people are conducting what I would call “needs analysis” activities, including myself. A wide range of techniques and approaches are currently being used, including:
- James Robertson (Step Two Designs): reviews focused on the intranet, based on stakeholder interviews, expert reviews and workplace observation. Ends up identifying issues much more broadly than the intranet, including organisational-wide cultural and process problems.
- Robert Perey (Knowledge Index): conducts knowledge reviews builds around complexity theory, fractal models and “soft systems” approaches.
- Kate Andrews (BDO Kendalls): develops knowledge strategies for organisations, using a range of investigative techniques primarily with senior staff.
(Apologies in advance for my paraphrasing of Robert’s and Kate’s approaches.)
What really struck me was that despite the very different approaches, similar results were obtained for our Australian government clients. The same problems arose (such as poor knowledge sharing, lack of formalised knowledge capture, ineffective intranets, the need for greater staff induction), and similar sorts of strategies were proposed to address these issues.
I find this very reassuring, and it gives me greater confidence that we are all finding the real issues with these organisations. Does this mean, though, that we are all converging on a common practice? Perhaps we are currently using different language and terminology, but using the same underlying techniques and approaches?
It would be tremendously interesting to dig beneath my surface observations to find the specific differences and similarities in greater detail, and to gain a better understanding about all of our approaches…