Open knowledge isn’t all about access to statistics and data. It also about what drives day-to-day operations everywhere: experience and insight. In this post I will explain how to transform the know-how of your organization or community of peers into open knowledge, so it can be shared, adapted and applied by others.
Know-how is a tricky thing. Everyone has it, and it is crucial to the success of every organization: it is what turns ideas into reality, solves unforeseen problems, and is making the difference between success and failure in programs and projects around the world. Its value is evidenced by applications like Quora and the use of messaging services similar to WhatsApp by doctors to share practical advice. The need to manage it is enshrined in the mission of KM organizations worldwide.
Still, implicit knowledge remains the hardest asset to transfer and reuse. The three main challenges associated with converting implicit knowledge into useful open knowledge are:
- Presenting knowledge in a way that makes it easy to find and use.
- Making sure the knowledge available is trusted and high quality (no wading through junk!).
- Refreshing the knowledge to stay current, in line with the latest trends and knowledge needs of the users.
Most applications or solutions solve some, but not all of those challenges. We at the IDB have been addressing them under the framework of KLAVE, a methodology that enables the Bank’s and regional development experts and practitioners to share what they know. Here is a basic outline of how we do it. I hope you will find it helpful.
1 Define the purpose and scope
Who really needs what? For example, the IDB’s Climate Finance team identified National Development Banks in Latin America as their audience to share insights on developing green credit lines from the most experienced banks to those just getting started. To help you along the way, you can use web applications like Trello to collect and organize ideas.
2 Do high quality knowledge capture
Focus on three areas: context (situation, actions, what happened), impact (results and outcomes), and advice (actionable, forward-looking, re-usable). Interviews or facilitated group conversations with those on the front lines are the cornerstone of a good knowledge base. Here you can read about how the IDB does Knowledge Capture Interviews and After Action Reviews.
3 Get multiple, diverse perspectives
A comprehensive picture of complex challenges, reviewed by trusted experts. Perspectives not only depend on individuals’ viewpoints, but also on the different contexts in which they were formed. The ability to understand the context in which a perspective was created helps people assess the value for re-use of any given piece of knowledge they find.
4Ensure easy access
Online, in context, and organized and presented in a way that aligns with how people do what they do every day. Today there are many free open source content management systems, such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla that can help you create your website. If you want to learn how, check this website as a good place to start.
5 Connect content and community
A virtuous cycle of knowledge contributors and users sharing and learning together. Actively engaging a community of peers and spreading the word through webinars (try LiveStream, GoToMeeting, or WebEx) and social media is key to reaching your knowledge sharing (and re-use!) objectives and achieving sustainability of your knowledge base over time. Facebook has more than 1.000 million users, Twitter has 465 million, and LinkedIn more than 250 million. How do you reach and engage those that matter most to you? A sound communication and collaboration strategy can help you get it done.
What other ways of systematizing and sharing implicit knowledge have worked for you?