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Make the Knowledge Management System Work for your Organization PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Corina Mihaela Paraschiv   
Tuesday, 11 December 2007 00:52

     We've seen previously why Knowledge Management Systems are necessary and how they can enhance your club's activities and spirit of community. A Knowledge Management System is any technological tool such as facebook, msn or emails, that your team can use to transfer the knowledge from one executive member to another member, making sure you capitalize on the strengths of your members. One of the few challenges mentionned previously about the implementation of the system was how to know get people to actually use your super system. Especially if your members are not tech-saavy nor students in MIS or Commerce, they might not be very keen on adopting this idea. I've tried serveral time and with some groups it was somewhat desastreous – people refused to use it and accused management for wasting time with useless trainings. At other times, teams have been very grateful for the system put in place for them and have managed to use it to include people in their community and from other countries, building an impressive center of international information exchange.




How to get buy-in for the new system


There are many different types of users out there. Most people are in the late majority. They will only adopt a technological tool once it's become a comodity. When you are trying to implement your project for the first time to document knowledge and create platforms for people to share them, you may want to start with the early adopters as they like ideas that are new and innovative. The way we've worked it out with this project was to intially have a pilot project with 27 members from 7 different countries and to run it to test how we could make it useful and interactive. The welcome this project got from the club in its entirety was something close to a cold shoulder. However, a few early adopters saw the potential of the project and were very enthusiastic and committed to it. The beauty of it is that everyone on this project has been very active in using and producing this new space for information exchange – somethign that could not have been garenteed if we had involved much more people. So start small.


How to make it grow


Next up, you'll want to go towards the early majority once your prototype is finished. How do you go about doing that? Simply gather the most resilient, influencial people in your organization – your executives and project managers that have an ability to influence the others in your team – and inlude them in the designing process of your system. Choose the features with them, see what their needs are, and teach them how to use it. Chances is if you respond to their needs, they'll be the first ones to tell the rest of the organization about how great it is. A large part of getting buy-in is involving people in decision-making, even if it can be more difficult at the begining, because once you make a decision you adhere more to its application and want to see the project succeed.


Have a Strategic Committee


Last, a thing we have found is that all that knowledge management needs to have a center. Previously the president of our club was the only one that detained the knowledge of the entire club; the contacts, the way things worked around there, the way to access resources, the management practices and so on. A problem arose when that president had to leave the club for a semester abroad – no one knew exactly how to handle all the tasks previously coordinated by that president. To remedy this, the president took a semester prior to leaving to educate a board of 5 members, a sub-group of the executive committee, on the various struggles the club had gone through in the past years. She also discussed with them the direction in which the club could be going and set up a special Knowledge Management System, a groupware called Airset, which allowed them to get connected with the contacts outside of their Rotaract Club which the president held previously – fellow Rotaract Presidents, presidents of other youth groups and marketing students and technology-related students who had assisted in the production of the platform. Why did we find the need to have a special committee take care of it? Because this type of system cannot be supported without some members monitoring it and feeding it, committing some of their time for that. For that reason, these members must also be relieved of some of their other tasks so they can take the time to document everything happening in their club and to share success stories with their peers via the network.



Branch it off


Don't define this information exchange strictly as an Information Technology project. Have real face-to-face meetings with people, organize conferences or seminars where you can exchange on your experiences and learn from each other. Also, if someone is not very good with technology, make it easy for them to post things up, either by giving a tutorial or posting their things up for them the first few times, as an incentive. Also make sure you find a way to reward people who take part in the project – highlight their participation and dedication.





Last Updated ( Friday, 14 December 2007 23:12 )

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