Category Archives: knowledge management

IT project prioritisation – a practical application of knowledge management principles

What happens when you devolve IT project prioritisation to non-IT business leaders?

Tullow Oil, a leading independent oil and gas exploration and production group, did just that.  The approach reflected its commitment to collaborative decision making.

Chris Rivinus describes how Tullow Oil made this approach work in his article in the December 2013 issue of Business Information Review.  Astonishingly, they devised a system which enabled 15 very busy people, with diverse backgrounds, based in different continents, to reach decisions on projects even if they had little technical expertise.  And they do this in an hour a month!

The article describes the processes and templates used and describes the guiding principles that make the approach work, including:

  • Snap-shot decision making
  • Trust their gut
  • Simplicity
  • Visualise with data and text detail as backup

IT project prioritization: A practical application of knowledge management principles.  Chris Rivinus, Tullow Oil UK, Business Information Review 2013 30(4) 196-203

The organisation of organisational knowledge

“Knowledge does not need to be complex, and its capture does not need to be complicated”

So says Danny Budzak, Senior Information Manager at the London Legacy Development Corporation in the UK.

Writing in the December 2013 issue of Business Information Review (BIR 30(4)), Danny describes the approaches he and his Information Services team took to develop and implement IM standards, tools and techniques.

This focus on keeping it simple can be seen in team’s approach to data, information and knowledge.  These included:

  • Very short one-to-one sessions with staff to help them organise email folders (less than 10 minutes)
  • Using critical questioning to understand the nature of the data stored within the organisation – reducing the number of ‘must keep’ files from over 5 million to 130,000!
  • Producing a two page report of data audit findings

“We have learned that knowledge management works well when it is related to real and pressing issues….”

The organization of organizational knowledge, Danny Budzak, Senior Information Manager, London Legacy Development Corporation, UK, Business Information Review 2013, Vol. 30(4) 183-190.

Managing knowledge to improve social care

SCIE, The Social Care Institute for Excellence, has just launched an e-learning resource, Managing knowledge to improve social care.

Developed by a team of KIM experts, the aim is to foster the recognition that using existing knowledge and experience can contribute to improved care outcomes. The e-learning modules set out to help front line social workers (and team leaders and managers) gain a basic understanding of the principles and practice of knowledge management, as well as organise and manage their knowledge and information as effectively as possible. BIR readers may find useful ideas for their own training programmes.

User generated content

User generated content is the most significant trend in the media today. Phone–ins, blogs, email and text contributions to live radio and TV, and YouTube make you wonder if the whole world is sitting there just waiting for the right chance, or for any chance, to provide their opinion. This is one demonstration of the commercial potential of customer-generated content – its value as a free contribution to many programmes. Moon and de Souza in their article ‘Customer managed knowledge factories’, Business Information Review, 2010, 27 (2), use a range of examples to identify a transition from managing knowledge about customers, through engaging them in product improvement and development, to the proactive leveraging of customers to generate new and valuable materials, for example Apple’s App store.

A transformational example is the development of a student text book on Change Management for South African students undertaken as a course work project and as an initiative under the Global text project ( Do read about it and consider the customer knowledge potential of today’s students.

Artistic outlet for knowledge managers

The Festival season is in full swing, certainly here in the UK. This year, the programme on offer at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea includes ‘The Knowledge Emporium’.

Local people are encouraged to share stories and knowledge and these thoughts will be integrated into a programme of workshops and performances throughout the festival. In other words, it is a collaborative, iterative, community focused knowledge creation and sharing exercise!

Creative chaos

Creativity and innovation continue to be reckoned as a critical source of competitive success. Creativity, chaos and knowledge management, Sara Smith and Scott Paquette, Business Information Review, 27(2), explores the importance of chaotic environments in stimulating the creation of new knowledge. They suggest that encouraging chaos should therefore be one of the roles of the knowledge manager, a very different view from many advertised roles which focus on knowledge organisation.

Certainly the success of Google and Pixar (the case studies featured) can be seen to be linked to environments that encourage serendipitous connection. These connections are certainly an area that the knowledge manager can stimulate through enabling collaboration and networking activity.

Ignorance management

In discussing the huge effects that can be stimulated by an organisation’s failure to tackle or even to recognise the existence of ignorance management, Chris Rivinus throws down a challenge to all of us.

“It doesn’t matter what level of the organisation you call home, mitigation of Ignorance Management starts by looking in the mirror”.

Good business information services are a force against ignorance management but it’s certainly worth thinking about whether use of BI services is feeding instinctive prejudices for action or encouraging people to stop and think on the basis of current evidence. And you may want to consider mapping ignorance in your own area of your organisation – even if you keep p your results to yourself you may be able to act on them.