FAO and its partners just announced the release of the IMARK e-learning module entitled “Knowledge Sharing for Development” available, free of charge, online and on CD through www.imarkgroup.org.
Archive for the ‘Facilitation & Knowledge Sharing’ Category
A short story on an informal get-together of UN Knowledge Management practitioners in Bonn.
Could it be that harnessing the power of internet memes, visuals and social networking facilitates charitable giving and raises awareness for noble causes? Read more
In an era of abundance of information and knowledge, as well as tools that facilitate knowledge sharing, we still struggle with the reality that knowledge sharing remains an enormous challenge. A large part of it is simply that knowledge sharing in an organization is deeply embedded in organizational culture, and changing organizational culture is without a doubt a long and bumpy journey. Sir Francis Bacon’s timeless maxim stating that knowledge is essentially the same as power has come to be seen in a different light. The aphorism is used to explain human conduct when we, despite our best intentions, tend to cling to our knowledge and contribute to the eternal conflict between individual and group rationality.
“How could we change the culture of knowledge sharing in our organizations?” we asked ourselves at a meeting of KM4Dev community of practice, which brought together international development practitioners interested in knowledge management and knowledge sharing. When you scroll down to read some of the ideas that our discussion group came up with, you might think that there is nothing new under the sun. Yet the truth is that these familiar and seemingly easy measures are sometimes forgotten. Thus it is a good time to revisit the basics of promoting knowledge sharing at the workplace.
First of all, the importance of knowledge management and sharing needs to be recognized by the management, and a long-term strategic approach needs to be taken. In designing knowledge management strategies, organizations might want to step outside the box by using the experience of other sectors. One essential point is that knowledge management needs to be integrated into human resources practices, and human resources managers should map staff competencies. Since employee performance is tied to motivation, organizations need to create incentives for knowledge sharing by recognizing champions in communications and giving awards for best knowledge sharing practices. Moreover, since all of us work under deadlines, time for the exchange of knowledge and experiences needs to be allocated.
In addition, organizations should encourage informal interaction that contributes to information exchange and actively support such initiatives. More informal settings do not only improve interpersonal relationships among employees but also help to establish links between knowledge demand and knowledge supply. One idea would be to organize problem-solving get-togethers, be it brown-bag lunches or coffee breaks.
Finally, organizations – and that is us – should promote the culture of asking questions. While we go through each day in the New Year, we should keep in mind: while knowledge is still power, so is sharing knowledge.
Oksana Buranbaeva (buranbaeva[at]vie.unu.edu)
Suppose I told you that I had a revolutionary idea that will allow you to write sustainably, save the planet, and save money all at the same time. Read more
In the era of knowledge, universities possess tremendous amounts of highly intelligent talents and modern research equipment. These research institutions with their most advanced technology and information are bases for generating new knowledge, new thoughts and new technologies. Therefore, cultivating innovative talents becomes one of the highest priorities. The process of innovation is defined as the development and implementation of new ideas by people who over time engage in transactions with others within an institutional context. Innovative talents have innovative consciousness, innovative thoughts and capability for innovation. New ideas on their own do not create innovation. They need to be developed and merged into local conditions through organizational processes, practices and political environments.  Thus, universities have to integrate their strategy on cultivating innovative talents together with the current situation.
Why can knowledge sharing enhance cultivation of innovative talents in universities?
1. Knowledge Sharing Accelerates the Generation of New Thoughts
There is a rapid development of information technology, like facebook, twitter, delicious, netvibes, igoogle, dropbox etc. as well as other online resources which are building up solid platforms for knowledge sharing. These resources have turned the abstract concepts into direct images and can cultivate the ability of self-learning, self-exploring and self-problem resolving. Through community of practice, students can share and discuss their views and thoughts, and can obtain general and deep knowledge for the same question within a short period of time. Discussion is complementary to dialogue and is best employed in situations of convergent thinking and decision making (Figure 1.1), in discussion, different views are presented and defended, so that the best view and arguments to support the decision that needs to be made are searched. 
2. Knowledge Sharing Is Beneficial to Enhance Cross-disciplinary Integration
Knowledge sharing can break the traditional borders of disciplines and enhance cross-disciplinary integration. It can increase more knowledge areas and provide new aspects of current knowledge. The fast change of social needs drives universities to conduct more research and action on inter-disciplinary approaches, deepen their research areas and develop innovative aspects.
3. Knowledge Sharing Provides an Effective Platform for Research Scientists Development
Staff development has been brought up into every university’s agenda. Through community of practice, research scientists can obtain first hand information and discuss research questions and obstacles. They can also gain knowledge from other disciplines in order to facilitate their research.
4. Knowledge Sharing Promotes the Construction of Institutional Innovative Structures
The difference between universities, regardless of hardware and software, lies actually on whether a knowledge sharing mechanism has been set up or not. Knowledge sharing provides a platform for the setup of institutional innovative structure. This will lead to the possible reform of the mandate, course content and skills application etc. and provide students with opportunities to be more exposed to divergent and convergent thinking.
Knowledge sharing is an engine to transform knowledge into more value. Hence, the implementation and process of knowledge is not easy. Universities need to seek better mechanisms for their knowledge sharing initiatives and to conquer all of the challenges such as culture, technology, strategy etc.
Benjamin Zhu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
 Van de van 1986
 A. Jashapara, Knowledge Management, An Integrated Approach
 Senge 1990
Whoever has attended one of our workshops in the past 12 months or so could notice that there is always more than one person busy documenting the process and results of the meeting. Together with the participants we jointly contribute to some form of reporting about the event – be it in text, photos, images or videos.
How much time do you spend everyday collecting information online? Too much? Read this and learn about RSS feeds and personalized websites. Read more
See how visuals can keep forum participants in the loop.
What is at the heart of knowledge management?
Following the tradition of our brown bag lunch menu, we started with an icebreaker, went on with some food for thought followed by a substantial main course.
Do you think social utilities such as Facebook are strictly for private use? Then it is time to join us for the upcoming brown bag lunch and discuss the possibilities and potentials of using social networks in a professional environment. Read more
Have you lately found yourself in a situation where you and your colleagues tried to work on the same document together and all you ended up with was numerous different versions that made it impossible for you to track changes let alone finding the responsible person for those changes? Then you should definitely read this!
Do you know this feeling of drowning in your email inbox? Have you already started to use all kinds of survival techniques, such as marking your emails as unread or pushing them into countless folders? Then it is time to read this!