One of the challenges we [Leeds City Council] and many other organisations have grappled with for many years, is how we can harness and connect the collective knowledge of the people working in the organisation to deliver more value. I’m talking about the knowledge and skill we have all derived from our personal experience. The capture and exploitation of that is known as knowledge management (KM). Imagine if when we are faced with a problem or a task we could easily connect to others who have the experience and knowledge to solve it and can help.
Further to this we are also expanding outside of our traditional organisational boundaries and are also looking at working with partners and communities across the City to develop new innovative ways in which to deliver services.
Some of the world’s greatest innovations are developed by the collective knowledge and skills of many people working together as opposed to individuals.
A current example of effective knowledge management is family group conferences which are about pulling together all key people involved in a child’s life with the appropriate professionals from different agencies to discuss and decide on the best approach for the care of the child. This is the combined knowledge and experience of those individuals collectively coming together to make a good decision for the child.
Leeds City Council ICT Services have striven for many years to provide the technologies that can enable this to happen. Our next blog post will highlight how the technology we are currently introducing can be used to start connecting people to the knowledge, people and information needed.
However, KM is not just about IT; it is about people and culture willingly working together through social networks towards the delivery of mutually beneficial organisational goals. Successful KM aligns these factors, pulling them in the same direction to share rather than hoard knowledge, making it possible to innovate and deliver value and make that real difference to people’s lives.
An interesting observation is that the people who are most willing to share and connect to get things done are the younger internet generation. In contrast to this the previous generations who happen to be in most management positions have grown up with the experience that hoarding knowledge enables them to better compete against others and progress.
We need to move to a culture where people actively share knowledge and information and are rewarded for that.
In my opinion the ideas around the social organisation supports this. What else can be done?
Ideas on a post card please – or perhaps the 21st century equivalent; a comment on this blog.
Chief Information Officer
Leeds City Council