Thursday, 16 January 2014

Three easy steps to developing knowledge and learning

First identify the knowledge theme, then start developing
knowledge products. (c)
Working as a knowledge worker, the most difficult task that I have come across is knowledge extraction and creation. While adapting, structuring, and sharing aspects of knowledge management are a bit easier, the knowledge developing seems a daunting task, especially when you start from the scratch. If you are to extract knowledge and learning from a project during a stated period, you need to first set the knowledge agenda. To set the agenda, identify the themes around which you want to develop the knowledge and learning. As the project progresses, you will come across some obvious knowledge and learning. However, at the beginning of the project you will need to identify the themes based on the project design document.

Knowledge themes and key questions
The knowledge themes could be gender and social inclusion, commercialisation, sustainability and so on, depending on the project document. After identifying the knowledge themes, discuss with the stakeholders and find out the key questions that will lead to developing knowledge and learning under each theme. For instance, under the theme gender and social inclusion, one of the probable questions can be, “What are the effective ways of targeting women and disadvantaged groups?” Similarly, you can collect a set of questions by interviewing the stakeholders, asking them what they expect to learn from the project.

Knowledge sharing mechanisms and tools
Following the identification of knowledge themes and collection of key questions, list out the knowledge sharing mechanisms and tools best suited to capture the key learning. The knowledge sharing mechanism can be a success story, a case study, a practice paper, a practice brief, a manual, a guideline, a website and so on.

Knowledge matrix with deliverables
After listing out the knowledge sharing mechanisms and tools, develop a knowledge matrix comprising columns for knowledge theme, knowledge sharing mechanism and deliverables. Talking with your team and management, decide which mechanism is best suited to capture the learning of a particular knowledge theme. Looking after your team’s capabilities and duration, fix the number of deliverables you want to come up with. For instance, to develop knowledge and learning under the theme gender and social inclusion, you might choose to go for two case studies and three success stories in a year. Likewise, to develop a knowledge product under the theme sustainability, you might go for a collaborative research.

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