In the October 2010 issue of Chief Learning Officer, Greg Long and Butler Newman explain how to increase knowledge velocity (i.e. moving content through an organization much faster to impact front-line performance). In the excerpt that follows, they suggest how to begin what they characterize as a “journey” to increase the velocity of whatever proprietary information needs to be distributed efficiently.
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So how do you begin the journey to increase the velocity of the proprietary knowledge flowing through your organization? Like many things, the answer is to start small. Start with a pilot that follows three key principles:
1. Keep it simple. For SMEs [i.e. subject matter experts] to embrace a process of creating knowledge for direct dissemination, the method they use has to be simple and straightforward. The demand on their time is already overwhelming. If this looks like “just one more thing” then most SMEs will resist the notion of direct contribution. Avoid this by spending the time upfront to design a simple yet robust process to guide them in their content creation efforts.
2. Keep it creative. For user-generated content, the key to success is to keep it creative. Many in the workplace will show no interest in contributing to the greater body of proprietary knowledge within your company. For those who do, however, the secret to success for them and for the organization is to foster their strong desire to be creative, to experiment on new approaches and to put their personal stamp on the company knowledge base. In a way, the process for fostering the creation of end-user content is the opposite of the simple and standardized system required for SMEs. These dissimilar processes must co-exist.
3. Keep it focused. Context is king. And, in most companies, the work process defines context, whether it is a formal process or an informal one. So, regardless of whether you are pushing out SME-generated content or encouraging the pull of user-generated content, keep them focused on the work process, for it is in the details of specific processes that the true power of proprietary knowledge is created.
Make the first pilot a success by following these three principles. Then duplicate the pilot in multiple areas of the business. With each successful pilot, you will increase the velocity by which knowledge is turned over within your organization and improve a critical parameter to make your business stand out.
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Greg Long is director of strategic consulting at RWD Technologies.
Butler Newman is division director and principal consultant at RWD Technologies. Both can be reached at email@example.com.