Knowledge management in the sociable organisation

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.

Dylan Roberts
Chief Information Officer
Leeds City Council


4 Responses to Knowledge management in the sociable organisation

  1. johnpopham says:

    A very good, thoughtful post, Dylan.

    I particularly like your point of how hoarding knowledge used to be the way to get to the top. The important thing to note is that it is no longer the case. All the facts and information you could ever need are available to anyone at the click of a mouse or swipe of a smartphone. The people who succeed in this environment are the people who can make creative and helpful use of this knowledge.

    • Dylan says:


      However, on an associated point, the danger with the ‘google’ answer to everything is providence. Or the answer with the most sponsorship is at the top.

      we have the ability to measure how much people share or are a go to for answers.. I’d like us to incentivise people to get to the top of the sharing leader board. What do you think?

      To further make the collaboration point.. someone said ‘Can you name the last single person to invent something?’


  2. greyone1604 says:

    Hi Dylan

    Totally agree, we need to use the social media tools that we are deploying throughout the council, but not to be shy about them. We need to fanfare their arrival, show the benefits and have case studies ready to persuade those who are sitting on the fence, or worse are against the idea. We need to be using Phil Jewitt’s trojan mice to act as champions and use ‘ordinary’ members of staff to get the ground swell to make this culture change happen. And I think that we are both agreed that it is the culture change of using social media tools in a work environment that is the big hurdle. We need forward thinking managers who will help their staff to make time to create the knowledge base to which you refer.

    One of the most appealing features of this revolution is lack of formality and prescribed structure, whilst there has to be some sort of framework, we can keep it tight but loose. This will appeal to our colleagues who, I am convinced. will create an informal knowledge base of what is in their heads rather than be forced to create a formal structured database in business language.

    If this does work, and I am sure it will, it will be a huge step change and significantly increase Leeds City Council’s information assets in a time when, due to the economic climate, we are losing a wealth of knowledge and experience which really should be captured.

    Start small with the ‘ordinary’ staff and we will soon create a social knowledge base.

    Can we do it in the next 21 days!? This is all very exciting stuff.


  3. click here says:

    very helpful social media management in hull

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