2Know Magazine: Sharing KM Knowledge
2Know: Sharing KM Knowledge
July 2015 - Magazine No. 190
July 2015 - Magazine No. 190
Edition:
Written By Sharon Cohen-Arazi

Tell me if this description sounds familiar: a report so overloaded with data, just trying to read it is confusing, graphs that can be understood or followed; snapshots that take hours or even days to decipher, and lots of scary numbers? These are all a result of overloading one picture with too much data. Not all data is always needed. Sometimes, one cannot always make the most out of the picture (learn lessons and produce insights that will assist in decision-making processes), especially not during the short time we have.

Nowadays, we both benefit and suffer simultaneously from this information overload:

We benefit from it, since we know more and can develop places we haven't even thought of prior to being exposed to this information.

We suffer from it, since lots of disorganized information can generate stress, confusion and even fear, especially when this information contains many numbers. Another factor is time- processing large amounts can take much time, which is a critical resource.

Just like water, information is great, but a flood can cause damage.

 

So, what can we do? Here are some small tips that can help us succeed big time.

First of all, we must plan in advance the content and presentation so that they support the purpose. Begin by asking: "what do we expect to know/understand/discover/see"?

Less, not more- when planning a report, it is important to filter the presented data- minimize them down to the necessary minimum. Remember that every data which is not especially necessary may overload and cause an information flood which may cause more harm than benefit. You can use questions such as "is this data going to change the decision we make?"; "can this data promote our achieving the report's objective?". After choosing, review once more what is really necessary and what can be omitted.

Simple; refrain from sophistication: choose a graph as simple as possible. Remember that the more sophisticated the graph, the more time it takes to understand it and follow the changes it represents. A graph which can be understood at one glance is ideal.

Gradual presentation- if for some reason the report still contains a confusing amount of data, divide the data into multiple levels in a manner that supports the objective (for example, division by the importance of the decision to be made) and create a gradual presentation. Note: it is important not to create too many levels of data.

Refrain from unnecessary detailing- excessive detailing can lead to more information overload, in turn causing confusion and a general waste of time.

If necessary, you can divide the report/graph into a number of graphs/reports, with each providing an in depth presentation of a different layer/stage. In this case, it is recommended you create a summarizing report in order to present a full picture. Note that such a report should include only summaries, so that it can be understood in one or two glances.

Present the data summarized and concise in order to support the objective.

 

In conclusion:

One picture is not worth a thousand words if you can't see the forest for the trees. It can be worth more than a thousand words if it contains exactly what it should in the simplest manner.

 

 

 

Written By Meirav barsadeh

Five friends enter a restaurant, and debate what to order. This is not the beginning of a joke, rather a familiar situation. The waiter asks around the table and each person orders in turn. The first is still debating, maybe consulting and so is the second. The last person is almost certainly influenced by the first person's order, simply because that's how we as people are programmed: we are attentive to others beside us, feed off their reactions and in many cases adapt ourselves to them merely because it is more pleasant not to be different or bold.

This aforementioned saying is based on Dan Ariely's 'Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions' (HarperCollins, 2008) which taught us the advantages of granting everyone the chance to express ideas independently and not be affected by other's (even subliminally).  The result: more creativity.

The situation we have described occurs a lot during brainstorming meetings.

Imagine a situation in which you are facing a large team of participants which is supposed to discuss a problem and figure out how to solve it, and the discussion is…stuck. The expectations, namely to receive diverse and innovative ideas, are not being realized.

Something in the group dynamics is inhibiting the process from actualizing. It might be different levels of motivation. It might be different levels of sharing. Whatever it is, it must be resolved in order for the group to function.

What should we do?

We should use other abilities. There are options other than talking.

Hand out sheets of paper, with space for defining the problem and enough blank space for suggesting ideas for solutions. Every participant in turn adds another idea and passes the page to the participant beside him/her.

And that is, practically speaking, a brainstorming session.

This method allows participants with idea who are hesitant to suggest in a larger group to make them explicit anonymously. The competition element becomes secondary and the need to be heard is expressed differently.

Note: it is important to remember that it is possible that participants experience "blank page syndrome", i.e. the fear from being the first one writing. In order to avoid these cases, it is recommended to prepare an idea in advance so that the participant do not need to start from scratch and can enable the process to flow.

 

 

What should we remember?

  1. To define the mission.
  2. To limit each participant's time with the page.
  3. To remind the participants to read what others wrote before them before adding an idea, while encouraging them to feel free to change and/or add.

Where and when is it best to apply the method?

  • In events with many participants.
  • In teams in which the participants don't know each other sufficiently and/or feel comfortable together.
  • In cases in which much information needs to be collected quickly.

 

Good luck!

References

 

 


http://creatingminds.org/tools/brainwriting.htm
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2013/12/16/using-brainwriting-for-rapid-idea-generation/

 

What is Knowledge Management? Finding a single consensus definition is an infinite challenge. Common answers include: knowledge must be managed, gathered and distributed throughout the organization in a planned and controlled manner as well as created, updated and made accessible.

A recent study which examined the goals of Knowledge Management among KM managers in medium-large organizations raised several trends. Some are well known and as such are revalidated here while others are good news. Known trends such as accessibility and content management will continue to be central components of Knowledge Management, as will be professional communities which grant access to knowledge accumulated in specific areas of specialty in the organization. Nevertheless, these communities' main challenge is the ability to channel their accumulated knowledge for the benefit of the organization as a whole, then make it accessible to all users through intuitive technological means.

Organizations arduously proceed to improve their KM work methods by setting up or upgrading organizational portals, professional communities and search engines while emphasizing expertise fields and individual search features. Subsequently, organizations are undoubtedly aware of the need to enable knowledge flow in organizations. Nevertheless, too few organizations involve employees which hold knowledge critical to the process thus creating meaningful learning opportunities for knowledge receivers.

The study also shows that comprehending the importance of knowledge retainment to an organization establishes its position. Knowledge Management in this context contributes to studies and past work outputs remain accessible and enable use of this knowledge in the future.

The refreshing approach that this study manifests stems from the answer to its question "what should KM's final goal be?". This issue requires a quick re-cap.

 

It is quite interesting to review the evolution of the world of Knowledge Management across a timeline. From the once appreciated "knowledge is power" approach which viewed the knowledge holder as the highest professional authority to the KM of the present which implements a knowledge sharing approach by which each knowledge holder contributes their segments to create the complete knowledge.

 

The sharing issue evolved gradually. Technology undoubtedly simplified system merging and generated a connection beyond traditional limits; social media raised people's expectations for feedback and interaction and has seeped into organizational culture. The study's results confirmed that knowledge sharing has become the 'new regular'.  While knowledge holders' levels of participation vary, the collective effort leads to the creation of databases.

 

What is the next stage in the evolution of Knowledge Management?

 

Based on the response of 90% of the participants of said study, it seems that Knowledge Management is ready to evolve and develop higher levels of added value functionality. Advanced functionality enables use of existing knowledge (following its gathering, capturing, and sharing as well as making it accessible) for improved decision making. After all, we all know what the wrong choices can lead to.

 

Another form of advanced functionality (still currently in use) in the world of KM is derived from the field of lessons learned. Lesson learning saves time as well as reduces the risk to repeat the same mistake too many times  by collecting and editing the knowledge gathered by the experience of others.

 

What should be Knowledge Management's final goal?

 

Source: Where to for Knowledge Management in 2015: IDM Reader Survey

 While all participants unanimously agreed on KM's endgame, their opinions regarding the main inhibitors of its performance were more varied.

'Functional Silos' were identified as the main inhibitor among 50% of the participants. The term refers to independent business units which formulate independent policies without communicating or cooperating with other units. These 'silos' can harm organizational achievements since the benefits of sharing knowledge and team work are inadequate.

Despite knowledge sharing has become the new trend in some workplaces there are still plenty of cultural inhibitors such as unwillingness to share knowledge.

 

The use of legacy systems is brought up frequently as a main inhibitor, yet less than a quarter of the participants identified it as an inhibitor at all. What's interesting is that this inhibitor might be relevant to the teams as well; veteran workers are usually reluctant to perform basic tasks such as uploading documents to the organizational portal, creating procedures, etc.

 

Another inhibitor is a byproduct of striving for the improvement of the organization's knowledge tracking abilities. We accompany the organizational search with structured metadata thus cancelling the system's flexible responses to new additional types of knowledge.

 

The fact that system management and change management processes must be efficient, easy to use and applicable is clear to us; it is true that we are all too busy.

 

What are the greatest inhibitors of Knowledge Management?

 

 

Source: Where to for Knowledge Management in 2015: IDM Reader Survey

 

So, how would you define Knowledge Management?

 

References:

http://idm.net.au/article/0010488-where-knowledge-management-2015-idm-reader-survey
http://www.ame.org/sites/default/files/documents/88q1a3.pdf

 

Written by Rom Knowledgeware
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