Going local

Was provided with a good example of what I would describe as ‘localism’ knowledge sharing yesterday.

I’m sure I read once that knowledge (or was it communications) can be treated like a monarchy (one rule, top down); communism (everyone told everything) and I also think they mentioned socialism and various other ‘ism’s. I am a great believer that knowledge sharing, learning, communicating etc needs to be pitched between the ‘personal’ and ‘local’ level to be truly sought, discovered, understood and re-used.

The approach I’ve taken is to move away from large KM repositories or formal structures. Within the environment I work, knowledge is best-placed to be flexible, fluid, local, personal and based around a define community, with visible and active leadership. Anyway, back to the example.

One of our most active communities have regular ‘Cappuccino’ meetings. These bring together group spokespersons of the community to share and take back key points. The subject matter is primarily technical, at a fairly high level, rather than deep or detailed. The key is to capture sufficient information on key issues in the group, to bring them to the table, and take back the points which are relevant in the local market place.

A local group head had previously challenged Cappuccino Reps to consider the best ways of facilitating knowledge sharing locally and this meeting included a discussion on progress to date.

One group has recently introduced a new series of knowledge sharing meetings and, following the Cappuccino theme, have named them Macchiato meetings! Formal minutes are being taken and circulatedon the communities intranet area. A number of other offices also have technical meetings, sometimes on an ad hoc basis, and others have knowledge/technical slots within general partner/manager meetings. The community leader acknowledged that a little discipline, in terms of regularity, note taking & follow through will make for better knowledge sharing generally, and he encouraged all offices to take steps in this direction.

These very basic physical, personal and local steps has seen increased activity, in terms of chatter, sharing and collaboration. It didn’t need a formal central KM department or a matrix of workflow. Just a good community structure, a sense of local engagement and personal responsibility. Community and personal engagement equates to ‘localism’


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