Managing Knowledge

I have assumed a position on SFCG‘s Knowledge Management Working Group, which is tasked with developing a plan to manage the various forms of knowledge and institutional memory in the organization.  I’ll attempt to explain that more below.  The group is made up of two of my bosses (the Director of the Institutional Learning Team and a Senior Researcher in Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation), the Senior VP, the Executive VP, the Senior Programme Adviser, the Web/New Media Manager, the Director of Operations, the Executive Assistant, me and another intern.  I hope I’ve not forgotten anyone.  These are some of the top people in the organization (myself excluded) and I’m increasingly realizing how important this project is.

I’d never done anything with knowledge management before.  I couldn’t have defined it a couple weeks ago.  I went to Bender Library to check out a couple books on knowledge management for organizations.  It seems that there are two types of knowledge in this instance: implicit and explicit.  The latter is in the form of reports, documents, and training manuals.  This knowledge is generated and written down and can be disseminated fairly easily.  Implicit knowledge, though, is more difficult to deal with.  It comes in the form of experience and lessons learned by individuals.  It doesn’t usually exist in a tangible form, so we have to design a means of capturing the oral tradition of the organization.

This stuff is important because it will make SFCG much, much more efficient.  Each time someone begins employment, they are largely left to start their position from scratch.  There is little continuity between employees, which hurts the momentum of the institution.  By being aware of the enormous amount of knowledge generated by the organization in the past, we will be better able to move the organization forward.  We can do so much more to advance the cause of peace.