Panel: Emergent Trends in Sharing Knowledge

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007
Panel: Emergent Trends in Sharing Knowledge

Today's panelists are all KM practitioners. (Tomorrow, we will cover the same topics but from a researcher perspective.have research
Linda Holmes, CIO, Canadian Space Agency
David Licher, Northrop Grumman
Kiho Sohn, CKO, Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne

First up: Linda Holmes, CIO, Canadian Space Agency

The Canadian Space Agency currently has no formal KM initiative. So many definitions for KM; hard to identity what folks consider KM and what's not.
Some initiatives presently under way include:
- Internal Databases
- Intranet Redesign
- Google Desktop search
- Ardins (sp?) records management system - difficult to use; migrating to OpenText LiveLink.
Records management is a big issue due to government regulations. Dedicated staff to manage this information. 1 million docs in LiveLink, and a warehouse that would take the two information librarians and estimated 20 years to catalog.

- History of Canadian Space Agency - Although CSA is a relatively new agency, approximately 1/3 of people will be eligible to retire in the next five years. Very concerned about knowledge walking out he door. Using videos and storytelling to capture knowledge for future generations
- Missions Database: Accept proposals for space missions to fly on ISS; database tracks all proposals, approvals, and what they've seen before.
- Business Intelligence Project: goal is to reduce duplicate information across various systems, striving for better integration between different sources; lost of manual manipulation going on to summarize data. Looking to build a data warehouse.

All of these initiatives contribute to the KM program at CSA.

One of the challenges they face is to communicate the value of knowledge management so that he users understand the value of why KM is valuable.
Challenge: How to make search relevant. Even metadate leaves much to be desired. Looking at tools that would generate meta data to assist in finding the desired information.

People - a big issue. CSA needs KM specialists. Librarians must shift from paper records management to digital information management. This is a big area. They monitor the use of all databases to see if usage is going up or down; they then consult with users to understand. why they are/are not using the system.

Challenges of managing people and information when not all folks are using the system.

Knowledge sharing culture need to be recognized and rewarded. Constant tension between sharing in an open environment and the various legislation, privacy acts, etc. We need to open the information gates while respecting privacy requirements. Government, is behind the times, so says a km blogger that points out how new PhD students come in expecting to find a variety of on-line collaboration tools - many of which are currently unknown r prohibited by these agencies.

Pseudonyms do play a role. People are more willing to provide critical review of papers but, in certain government environments, the effort to nail down all identities can get in the way of participation.

Canadian government looking at using Virtual Reality technology ad WikiPedia as KM tools; concerns over how to validate information is correct when working with small communities of practice.  Challenges of on-line collaboration when government regulations require multiple languages. ITAR, etc.

In summary, we are at tip of KM iceberg. Moving from records management to knowledge management.

[Note: I'm doing my best to keep up with salient points. If you have info/corrections, please post a  comment.]

Next up: David Licher, Northrop Grumman

KM is concentrated around the people in the organization; many of the technologies he looks at do not connect people [as much as he would like]. (They have 12,000 people with sites in almost every state.

Initiatives: get systems in place that will connect people. Moving to ShareCenter (a LiveLink based solution) for collaboration, communication, and awareness.
Overarching objective of the Northrop KM program is to connect people to people.

Training and process improvement are important; looking at ways to capture knowledge from various steps and make it available when (and where) it is needed by others.

Process architecture is big at Northrop. They have managed to get KM into the process - that's vital. They have identified some of the challenges that the organization has and then created a five year road map for how to turn Northrop into a learning knowledge organization.
- knowledge capture
- recording stories/storytelling as a capture tool
- mentoring as a knowledge transfer tool
- developing metrics to measure impact of KM program. (Don;t overlook value of metrics as a way to justify and support KM program.)

Fortunately, they have support for KM at the highest levels of KM.

They have a new organization that is creating video games for recruiting, training, etc.., Recruiting is a fascinating use of this tool. Applicants get to design and build a plane and then fly it. This gaming tool is used to attract and replace the aging workforce.

He quoted a report that between ages 20 and 30, these are the most creative years of innovation. yet, in aerospace, this age group commonly pushes paper.

Key point: focus on the people; when you can connect to a person who's been there and done that you can accomplish more. Concentrate on the people side and your KM program will thrive.

Last up: Kiho Sohn, CKO, Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne

Capturing knowledge is not enough; we must move to sharing knowledge - that's where we break down the silos.

Capturing knowledge is often driven by technology. Sharing knowledge is typically driven by culture.

At PWR, more than 45% of engineers will be eligible for retirement within 5 years. Ouch! Worse yet, retention rate for new-hires is very low. 50% in 5 years or less group.

There is a greater emphasis on the learning aspect of KM. After learning, they move into creating new knowledge. Using innovation workshops to leverage their KM efforts.

Don't focus on pushing systems (or all features of a system) out to others. Instead listen for people's needs and offer solutions for what they need. then, they will pull these solutions into their work.

Drucker: Efficiency: doing things right. Effectiveness: doing the right things. (43 minutes into presentation)

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