3 great toolkits and a facilitation tip for Knowledge & Information Management professionals

Toolkits are much in vogue. Three I’d recommend are:

While knowledge managers are not short of reference points or advice on how to go about things there is no one size fits all template to describe the role, where it sits and the skills to discharge it.

Yet so many km professionals in emerging markets are thirsting for the certification that goes with having completed training in an industrial discipline such as km. With few exceptions (KMI Institute in Washington being one) the km profession unlike CIPD or CIM has no recognised industry body. Those that might be closely related such as SLA or CILIP have not claimed the km space. Instead conference organisors award ‘gongs’ at their events and others rely on the MAKE awards to signify progress.

Most km discussions though tend to land in the same place: what does a knowledge manager do, where do they sit in the organisation, what are there crossover points (Organisational Development, Learning, HR, IT, Strategy, Communications/Marketing) and how do we measure impact? Success depends on individuals, the passion they bring, their ability to judge what to do and when and the way they present to/influence many stakeholders.

Here’s one example of good facilitation from France:











This picture, a typical wedding scene, shows the bride to be greeting all the guests before they enter the church for the ceremony. She introduces friends and family to each other so that there is no ‘bride and groom’ side of the church. People who have been introduced mingle and are more likely to converse at the wedding breakfast thereafter. This simple act of facilitation (a ingrained tradition) helps shape the event.

So while not every km professional can be a bride we can suggest that a core competence in putting the km tools to work is facilitation. Toolkits are vitally important but without the skill and processes to deploy them they are a wasted investment.

Its why perhaps CIAT‘s km team who are much admired have titles such as Leader, Capacity Strengthening and Knowledge Management Initiative. Theirs is a focus on helping to equip others in their organization; faciltation skills are a huge part of the core competencies they use to help others.

knowledge retention: a story collectors guide

At the back end of May 2012 I was in Bogota and met a team from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to discuss the timetable for completing the story collectors guide first conceived during the second half of 2011 during Victoria Ward’s trip to Colombia.

CIAT’s mission:

To reduce hunger and poverty, and improve human health in the tropics through research aimed at increasing the eco-efficiency of agriculture

is one Sparknow fully supports so it is a great pleasure for us to be able to help them bring this guide to fruition.

Soon, researchers jetting from country to country will have guidance and ideas on how they might go about noticing and collecting the stories and anecdotes that bring data, events and topics to life at their finger tips to complement traditional field data and observations. The field guide will challenge researchers to use sounds, photos, stories and other materials in order to share experiences and engage others.

Check out CIAT’s blog for an account of the Bogota meeting and plans for the guide’s publication.

Keep watching for further updates.