Everybody is a know-body or: How to make Knowledge Management a normal daily business

April 27, 2011 | Manuel Flury | Learning Elsewhere, Methods & Tools |


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Ernst BolligerBy Ernst Bolliger, AGRIDEA




 “What is your job about? Knowledge management!?
Oh God, what’s this?”


 … After some explanation it is getting easier to understand…

“Ok, I see, you talk to people about the way they share what they know and what they have experienced. Knowledge management is about clever and bright people who know everything and about the less bright ones that know almost nothing … and how to connect them. About information and knowledge the bright people like to share and their motivation to do so.”

Checking recent contributions on this blog I tend to believe that knowledge management is highly complex and an affair for specialists. That’s right; there are lot of situations that need complex approaches to address issues of knowledge management in a correct way. But daily life offers lots of situations where simple forms of knowledge management – or let’s say mutual learning and networking – produces encouraging results.

So, what makes mutual learning and networking successful? How can we make the highly complex affair “knowledge management” accessible to everybody? How to make it a normal daily business?

There is one short answer: KEEP IT SIMPLE!

Ask questions! Accept the fact that nobody is perfect, you and me included. Allow yourself to have doubts. Assume you might be wrong in your perception. And ask questions to invite others to share their knowledge, their view with you.

Focus upon your peer, not upon yourself! Start with checking your peer’s questions and curiosity; don’t start with your knowledge. Deliver what the others ask for; don’t try to empty your stock of knowledge as if it would be a period of sales in a warehouse.

Be clear! Be short and precise in your questions and in your contributions. Express yourself in a simple everyday’s language to communicate with your peers if you want to contribute something relevant to their (and your own) learning.

Show … and share on demand! Attract the others’ curiosity in what you have to share, in what you are experienced in. Arrange your showcase of personal knowledge and experience, in order to offer on demand, without overwhelming others with what you know.

The key to successful mutual learning: Keep it simple and be modest!

But do it!


Comments to“Everybody is a know-body or: How to make Knowledge Management a normal daily business”

  1. Ernst Bolliger says:

    It might sound strange, but I have to comment on my own blog contribution. I am going to tell you a story:
    “How two nobodies can become know-bodies”.

    I try to insert a hyperlink in a word document. Simple, isn’t it’? No it isn’t. I manage to reach up (or down?) to the dialogue box and then … nothing works as I expect it to work. I ask the young lady who makes an internship in our office whether she could help me. (“Young people know such kind of stuff; they grew up with it”, I thought). But all wrong, she doesn’t have a clue: “I never did it”. We try out a bit, it doesn’t work.
    My young colleague feels challenged and she goes on trying and — half a minute later — a cry. “I got it!” Wuaaa! Fine. She explains what she has done and another half a minute later I get it too. I go on working.
    Another minute later there is a second cry — from my side. “Hey look, if you do it that way it is working even automatically, still easier!” I am explaining to her. Another Wuaaa.

    And? Why do I write this?
    We invested five minutes. We risked our face by admitting that we didn’t know something basic in using the “Word” software. The questions and answer challenged us and provoked a search process. At the end we both had got knew knowledge and skills (in LogFrame or Didactics’ terms: “We are able to insert hyperlinks in a word document efficiently and effectively”).
    We got some insights such as …
    … admitting a weakness is the entry point for a learning process
    … five minutes can be enough for a win-win learning experience
    … learning can be fun and foster social networks
    … joint learning can be a nice energy-kick to go on working (specially at the beginning of a heavy loaded office afternoon).

    And sometimes joint learning processes go beyond Word software challenges. They might be even more rewarding.

  2. Reto Wieser says:

    Thanks a lot for your simple “do’s”. I would like to add another one:
    Review briefly (or extensively) meetings, presentations, exchanges that you had with your colleagues and peers. After action reviews lead to convergence and in a literal sense to common understanding – or at least to discussion and debate.


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