Helping people FEEL the value of KM – the KM "test drive"

If you want someone to buy something, they need to be convinced that it is worth the investment. If your product is a good one, then you can convince people by letting them try before they buy.

That’s why Apple allows you to play with all its products in the Apple store. That’s why cheese-stalls in the market give away free samples. That’s why car salesmen let you take a test-drive in that new Mercedes.

KM, Before and After

But how can you test-drive knowledge management?

For the past 20 years, we have been running a knowledge Management exercise called Bird Island which acts as a KM test-drive. The purpose of the exercise is to allow people to experience personally the value of Knowledge Management by seeing (and feeling) the impact it has on their performance.

The exercise is a simple one – the delegates are divided into teams, given a small set of materials, and asked to build as tall a tower as possible (with some environmental constraints). Then knowledge is brought into the equation, first through an after action review within the team, secondly through a peer assist with another team, and finally through presentation of a best practice knowledge asset showing the secrets of building the tallest towers from previous courses.

Armed with a full set of knowledge, they build the tower again, and frequently treble or quadruple their previous performance. 

Behind the exercise is a very simple KM system;

  • Every time a team makes a new modification and improvement to the tower design, we photograph it 
  • We update the Best Practice knowledge asset to include the new modification 
  • We present the updated knowledge asset in the next training course 
  • People use this as the basis for their own design, and often innovate even further (and the innovations feed the next improvement cycle). 

It is the emotional impact in the exercise that sells KM.

This impact comes at three points:

  1. When a team with a small tower, who have defined what they think is the limit of possibility for tower height,  holds a peer assist with a team which has already exceeded that limit. You can almost hear the minds opening at this point.
  2. When the teams are shown a picture of the current world record tower, which is FAR beyond their perceived limits. You can definitely hear minds opening here, and at this point I tell them that the only thing the winning team had which the current teams don’t yet have, is knowledge. Everything else is equal – knowledge is the only difference.
  3. When the teams look in wonder and pride at their second towers, built with a full set of knowledge, which are usually close to the world record, and sometimes set a new record.

This is the KM test drive; it’s an emotionally engaging mind-opener for the participants, and never fails to convert people to the value of KM. 

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What KM training strategy does an organisation need?

What KM training will your organisation need as you go through the KM journey?

KM training in China
Knowledge management Training is part of any KM implementation, but there is no one-size-fits-all KM Training strategy. Instead there are a number of potential training events which will change as your KM implementation progresses. Let’s divide these into early investigation stages, piloting stage, and roll-out training.
Early investigation stages
In the early stages, when your organisation is investigating Knowledge Management – what it means, what it delivers, what it might cost – there are two types of training needed.
Piloting stage

Once the organisation enters the stage of piloting and proofs-of-concept, there is an additional training need.

  • Skills training for the KM team and the early KM champions, to develop specific tactical skills, such as process facilitation, community launch, knowledge capture etc. 
  • In addition you need to set up knowledge exchange processes and structures such as a KM community of practice, so your champions can learn from each other. 

Roll-out stage

Once the piloting stage is over and the roll-out of the Knowledge Management Framework begins, then a whole suite of training will be needed, including

  • Specific training for the Community of Practice leaders and facilitators
  • Facilitation training and skills training for others with specific Knowledge Management roles (local knowledge managers, 
  • Awareness training for managers, so they understand their role in influencing knowledge management behaviours
  • Specific training for Knowledge workers, introducing them to the new expectations, new processes and new technologies. This will also include the development of online KM reference material and e-Learning.
In short, as your Knowledge Management program develops, so will your need for KM training. 
Contact us if you want advice developing your own KM Training strategy.

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How KM and Training intersect

KM and Training are different but complementary. Here’s how.

Knowledge management and Training both are concerned with learning, but both are different.  Training is focused on learning at an individual level, and KM is focused on learning at team, project, community or organisational scale.  Training is learning in preparation for work; KM is how poeple at work learn their way learn their way out of and through the work problems they face (thank to Nancy Dixon for that insight).

Yet teams and projects, organisations and communities of practice are made up of individuals, and KM involves individuals who learn and are trained – either by teachers, or by experience.

Traditional learning was classroom focused, but increasingly a wider view of L&OD is incorporating learning on the job – online learning, blended learning, the use of learning blogs and wikis, and remote learning through webcasts and other tools. KM and Training being to converge under a heading of “Learning”.

At a strategic level, KM and Training should be linked, and the strategic competencies of the organisation should be addressed by both disciplines. Consistent resources could be created, ensuring that new knowledge is provided consistently through training, through reference materials and through communities. KM can provide support and learning solutions outside the classroom, and personal development through interventions like site visits and learning visits can be linked with team learning as well.   We have worked with one organisation where the Corporate University is supported by a series of communities of practice, so that Training and KM are structurally connected through the university and through the CoPs.

 Training addresses the “Internalisation” box in the Nonaka and Takeuchi SECI model, which we have always found the hardest box to address through KM. This is the box where the individual or team interacts with the organisational knowledge base, and structures like simulations, role playing and games can provide a powerful way of transferring knowledge.

 This message was passed on to us many years ago from Colonel Ed of the US Army, where there is a very close link between KM and training. The Training budget is 15% of the Army’s budget, which is a proportion no business will come anywhere near matching, but which enables the soldier to fully internalise, through experience, the most up-to-date war-fighting “doctrine” (the Army’s name of codified knowledge). Within the US Army, KM and Training are linked under the umbrella of TRADOC (Training and Doctrine).

In the non-military sector, a proper linkage between training and knowledge sharing, between building the capability of the individual and that of the organisation, and between L&OD and KM, is likely to be the next step forward in consolidating Knowledge Management as a fully embedded support mechanism for performance.

 In order to link the two, you need the following –

  1. An integrated KM/L&OD strategy, focused around the critical areas of knowledge for the orgnisation
  2. Structural linkage of the KM and Training functions
  3. Structural linkage between the communities of practice and the owners of training courses
  4. A feed mechanism for new knowledge, case studies and lessons to enter training content
  5. A feed mechanism for new lessons gained through training (especially through practical exercises, case review and simulations) to be fed into business process
  6. Training content and Wiki content to be inseparable.

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What sort of KM training will your organisation need?

Implementing KM is a change process, part of which involves training. But what sort of training?

Introducing a knowledge management framework means introducing a set of roles and accountabilities, new processes, new technologies, and new governance frameworks.

You can’t just introduce the framework and expect people to “pick it up as they go along”; you need to give them some support, you need to give them some awareness, and in certain cases you need to give them some skills.

Here are the four basic Knowledge Management training courses that most organizations will need (we exclude all specific training for the knowledge management implementation team – that is a separate matter).

Firstly, you need basic awareness training for all relevant staff.  

This will cover

  • Knowledge management, what is it and how it will help you
  • The new expectations under the knowledge management framework
  • The new processes, and how they work
  • The new technologies, where to find them and how to use them
  • What knowledge is available, and how to find it
  •  The new roles which will be in place
  • The new governance system that will be in place
  • Where to find reference material and more detail

Secondly, you need a quick awareness overview for the management level. 

This will cover

  • Knowledge management, what it is and how it will help you and the business
  • The new expectations, what they are, and management’s role in communicating these
  • The KM framework, and how to put it in place within your own department
  • How you should manage performance against the framework expectations.

Thirdly, you need knowledge capture and documentation skills training for all those people who will play this role.  

This includes the facilitators of after action reviews and retrospect, and the practice owners who may need to create Wikis and other documentation.  This skills training will cover#

  • Knowledge management practices as part of the main framework
  • The skills of questioning, interviewing, and analysis
  • The skills of group facilitation
  • The skills of codifying and recording knowledge in various forms (text, multimedia, video)
  • The supporting technologies that will be used, and how to use them.

Finally, you need skills training for the community of practice leaders and facilitators. 

This skills training will cover

  • The theory and practice of CoPs
  • Community leadership
  • Building, growing and sustaining a community of practice
  • Facilitating discussion, both face to face, by telephone conference and by online discussion
  • Delivering value through communities of practice
  • The supporting technologies, and how best to use them.

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The 4 types of KM training every organisation needs

Please find below yesterday’s Knoco newsletter.

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September 2017 

The 4 types of Knowledge Management training

 your organisation needs.



In This Issue

Other News

·         News from Knoco
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Javier’s blog in Spanish
Vedalis blog in French
Ewa’s blog in Polish
 Most organisations embark on a Knowledge Management Journey only once, and so are trying something they have never done before. Training is therefore essential, in order to develop an understanding of the journey ahead, and to gain the necessary skills that effective KM will require.
This newsletter covers the 4 types of Knowledge Management training that organisations need as they go through the implementation process for Knowledge Management.

The 4 audiences for KM Training

There are four main stakeholders or actors involved in Knowledge Management, and each of these groups require some form of training to develop either their understanding of Knowledge Management, or their KM skills. These four audiences are as follows:
The senior managers are one of the first groups who need KM training, to develop their awareness of what Knowledge Management actually is, how it will affect their organisation, what their competitors are doing in KM, and what they will need to do to support the development of KM in their own organisation.
The second group is the Knowledge Management team themselves, who need to understand the issues involved with implementing KM, and to develop some of the skills they will need in the early stages.
The third group is the people with specific KM roles within the business – the Community Leaders, Lessons facilitators, Best Practice owners and so on – who need to understand that this role entails, and also need to develop a new set of skills.
The final group is the Knowledge Workers – the users of the new Knowledge Management system, who need to be aware of what they need to do in KM terms, and also how any new processes and technologies might work.
Hopefully you will have mapped out these stakeholders as part of your stakeholder mapping in the KM early stages, and will have some idea of what the training will be required. Generally the first people to engage are the senior managers followed by the KM team, who will need training in the early stages of KM implementation. Training for the people with KM specialist role comes later, once you have defined what these roles will be, and identified the role-holders.  Finally once the Knowledge Management Framework has been finalised, you will need a run of user training, and probably also will need to re-engage the senior managers.
Training participants in Greece engaged in our Bird Island exercise
Contact Knoco if you want more help with implementation planning, stakeholder mapping or development of a KM training plan.


Awareness training for Management

The senior managers are the ones who will sponsor Knowledge management and provide the implementation budget. Given they are paying the money, they need to know what they are paying for and what they will receive as a result. And remember – senior managers do not want KM per se, they want the benefits that KM will bring.  So before submitting the KM budget request, you need to conduct an awareness workshop, or awareness training, for senior managers. This should cover:
·         An introduction to Knowledge Management, and what it means in your organisational context;
·         A vision for what Knowledge Management will deliver for your organisation, and the benefits it will bring;
·         If time allows, a clear demonstration of KM value such as our Bird Island exercise;
·         Case studies of best practice KM as applied by your peers or competitors;
·         A discussion of what will be involved in KM implementation; and
·         Agreement on the next steps.
If this agenda is successful, then the senior managers should understand KM and its benefits well enough to make an informed decision to support the next stage of the KM implementation program.
In the later stages of KM implementation you may need a second round of awareness training for the next level of management – the middle managers, divisional leaders and heads of discipline. The time for this is once the Knowledge Management Framework has been finalised and agreed, and you are about to roll out the roles, processes, technology and governance. The middle managers need to understand their role, particularly how they set expectations for KM in their teams and divisions, how they recognise and reward the good performers, and how they react to people who shirk their KM duties. This second round of training should cover:
·         The rationale for Knowledge Management in the organisation;
·         Success stories from the piloting phase;
·         The details of the KM Framework;
·         A discussion of the management role within this framework, particularly as part of the governance element;
·         A discussion of what will be involved in KM implementation;
·         An overview of the roll-out timetable, and
·         Agreement on the next steps.
Engagement training for managers in Hungary
Contact Knoco to learn more about developing awareness of Knowledge management at senior management level.

Training for the KM team

The KM team, assuming they have not conducted a Knowledge Management Implementation before, have a lot to learn. In the early stages of KM implementation you should schedule a Masterclass in KM theories and models, KM skills and techniques, and the processes of KM implementation. We find that the best approach is to combine this training with workshop activity, so that (for example) training in KM strategy is followed by a strategy development workshop, and training in knowledge capture is followed by a knowledge capture session from an expert or a project team.  Training and on-the-job application can then be mixed into a “Knowledge Management Starter Week” for the KM team and some or all of the KM champions, with an agenda such as the one below:
Day 1 of the week covers introduction and strategy:
·         An introduction to Knowledge Management;
·         The Bird Island simulation;
·         Identification and prioritisation of business drivers;
·         KM visioning workshop;
·         Critical Knowledge Analysis workshop;
·         KM Intervention options.
Day 2 covers the KM Framework, and consists of an Assessment and Framework workshop addressing:
·         Knowledge creation and capture;
·         Knowledge ownership and synthesis;
·         Knowledge seeking and reuse;
·         Knowledge sharing and discussion;
·         KM Governance.
Day 3 covers identification of the KM Framework components and  KM skills development in these components, such as;
·         Skills training in knowledge capture;
·         Training in knowledge packaging;
·         Training in community of practice development;
·         Training in meeting facilitation (if needed).
Day 4 covers Knowledge Management, including: the KM implementation roadmap; Pilot project selection; Implementation planning; Communication and culture change.
·         Skills training in knowledge capture;
·         Training in knowledge packaging;
·         Training in community of practice development;
·         Training in meeting facilitation (if needed).
Day 5 is set aside for further development work based on days 1 through 4. This might involve Further skills training; Knowledge retention approach and strategy; Knowledge audit; KM culture audit; Development of a KM communication pack; Technology user case development.
Training a KM team in China
 Contact Knoco to learn about how we can help you design a KM starter week program for your organisation.

Skills training for the people with a KM role

Introducing a Knowledge Management Framework means introducing a number of specific KM roles to the organisation – many of them part-time, but some of them potentially full-time. These roles might include some of the following, depending on your organisational context:
·         Community of Practice leader;
·         Community of Practice facilitator;
·         Owner for a specific knowledge topic (a subject matter expert, subject author, or research field leader for example);
·         Project or department knowledge manager;
·         Lesson capture facilitator;
·         Lesson management team;
·         Knowledge base content owner;
·         Knowledge base administrator.

You may need to train these people so that they fully understand their new role and develop the skills they need. Some examples of the training they might need are below.
The community leaders and facilitators need to understand:
·         How communities of practice work, and how they are different from other business structures;
·         How to define a community charter and business case;
·         How to launch and grow a community;
·         How to manage and facilitate online discussion;
·         How the community software works;
·         How to track value delivered by a community;
·         How to measure community development and maturity;
·         How to link community activity with other elements of the KM framework.
The knowledge topic owners need to know:
·         The different between documented knowledge and other forms of information;
·         How to synthesise knowledge from many sources;
·         How to develop best practice;
·         How to run events such as knowledge exchange and wikithon;
·         How to write and structure knowledge to make it maximally useful for the user;
·         How the knowledge base software works;
·         How documented knowledge is updated with new material, new lessons and new community input.
The lessons facilitators, lesson management team and project knowledge managers need to know:
·         How projects and divisions are required to create and apply knowledge;
·         How to capture knowledge from individuals and from project teams, including interviewing skills and facilitation skills;
·         How to document captured knowledge to retain as much value as possible;
·         How to use audio, video and pictures as part of documented knowledge;
·         How to write and structure lessons;
·         How the lesson management software works;
·         How lessons are linked to the communities of practice and knowledge owners.
Training for community of practice leaders in the UK
Contact Knoco for advice on the roles you will need in your organisation, and on developing training courses to provide them with the necessary skills.

General training for the Knowledge Workers

The final suite of training will be for the users of the new Knowledge Management Framework – the Knowledge Workers themselves. They need to know the new way they will be expected to work, and they need to be familiar with new processes and technologies. Ideally training should be offered to every team and every division in the organisation, covering the following topics:
·         What Knowledge Management means for the organisation, and why it is important;
·         The new expectations for Knowledge Management – what they are, and how they will be measured and rewarded;
·         The new KM processes – how they work and when they will be applied;
·         The new technologies for KM – how they work and what they do (ideally including hand-on training);
·         The new KM roles, and the people who will take those roles;
·         The important knowledge that needs to be managed.
Training for Knowledge Workers in Indonesia
Contact Knoco to help plan and develop your KM user training.

News from Knoco

Some updates from across the Knoco family are listed here.
Welcome to Knoco Brazil
Fabio Batista
Knoco has now opened its first franchise in Brazil, under the leadership of Fabio Batista, KM Manager at Summit Quality Systems Consultores Associados. Fabio has been working as researcher, academic, practioner and consultant in the field of KM for many years, and for 15 has published a book intitled “KM Framework for Brazilian Public Administration: How to implement KM to produce results to benefit citizens”. One of the organizations where Fabio provided KM implementation consultancy services, the Brazilian National Aviation Agency, was the winner of the 2nd Knowledge Management and Intellectual Capital Excellence Awards 2016
Welcome to a new Knoco Russia
Timur Gareev
Knoco Russia is now under the leadership of Timur Gareev of Novus-KM. Timur has wide experience in knowledge and innovation management, and has published a knowledge management book based on the best practices and methodologies – “Knowledge management in learning organization, a practical guide”.
Founded by Timur in 2013 Novus-KM, is a leading expert consultancy in the field of knowledge management in Russia. The company, its experts and partners have implemented dozens of projects, from knowledge management strategy development, best practices analysis to implementation of holistic knowledge management systems in various industries.
Indonesia Knowledge Summit
Sapta and Iqbal (Knoco Indonesia) organised and delivered the second Indonesia Knowledge Summit last month in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. This 2 day conference was a great success, attracting attendees from every part of Indonesia to listen to the talks and take part in the workshops.
Speakers, organisers and attendees at the 2nd indonesia Knowledge Summit
Public KM Masterclasses
Knoco Indonesia will hold a public KM Masterclass on 27-29 November 2017. The aim of this course is to transfer some of the skills and techniques of knowledge management to your employees. Through a mixture of tutorial and exercise work, the participant will develop skills in the capture, packaging, and transfer of knowledge, and will develop implementation plans for business pilots. Techniques and strategies for cultural change will also be covered. The course will also cover transferring the keys skills and techniques of knowledge management, and its strategic implementation. Contact Iqbal for details.
Knoco Russia will conduct a public KM training course during international coference INNO-WAVE 2017 in Moscow on October 12th.  The topic of master-class is “Knowledge management. How to improve the efficiency of a modern company”. Contact Timur for details.
The biggest Bird Island exercise in the world
In early May, Rupert Lescott (Knoco UK) and Don Dressler (Knoco USA) ran the largest Bird Island workshop to date. Over 200 people took part at the annual KA Connect conference in San Francisco. KA Connect is an annual KM conference aimed at the AEC industry (Architecture, Engineering and Construction), and since Bird Island involves building towers, it was a great fit. If you’re interested in using Bird Island to demonstrate the link between knowledge and performance, please contact us.
200 people engaged in the Bird Island exercise
KM for Firefighters
Fabio (Knoco Brazil) recenly lectured on Knowledge Management to the National Firefighters KM Committee in Goiania, Brazil.
Meeting with members of the National Firefighters KM Committee in Goiania, Brazil
Activity in Chile
Javier (Knoco Chile) has a number of activities coming up, including the following:
·         starting a project to develop the critical knowledge map for the maintenance and engineering departments of the Aconcagua Refinery of ENAP (National Oil Company in Chile);
·         beginning an assessment and critical knowledge map for Methanex;
·         participating in the 10th “Learning, education and neurosciences” international seminar
Knoco at KM World
Two of our Knoco consultants are presenting at KM World in Washington DC in November. Nick Milton (Knoco UK) will be presenting a half-day workshop  on November 6th, the theme of which will be “Practical Ways to Demonstrate the Value of KM”. Contact Nick for details. The following day, Cory Cannon (Knoco Kansas) will be talking about “Collaborative Tools and Solutions” based on his military work. Contact Cory for details.
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