Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Using World Café to explore strategies for knowledge sharing

After the icebreaker, we got into trying out the first KS Method of the day: the World Café. Nancy started off by explaining the basic principles of the World Café.

(image credits: http://www.theworldcafe.com/)

The World Café is a simple but effective way to discuss common issues of importance in a comfortable, café-like atmosphere.

The group sat around different paper-covered tables. The first question which we started with was "what are the benefits of knowledge sharing?". We spent around 20 minutes discussing this before one person per table was nominated as host for the next round. The role of the host is to stay back at the table and invite new people who come to the table, explain to them what has been discussed. The rotation creates possibility to cross-fertilise thoughts and ideas. The second question we talked about was "What are possible strategies for knowledge sharing?".

Here are some of the points that came out:

  • Make the KS methods tangible and useful at various levels in the organization
  • KS has to be done in friendly and trust-based environment
  • Reward knowledge sharing practice
  • Give the right tools
  • Advocate and echo benefits of KS
  • Assess the knowledge needs (at different levels) using participatory methods (ex. focus groups, help institutes to target their stakeholders and assess their needs)
  • Use networking to advocate and assess the KS needs
  • Emphasize the gains from KS (increase the visibility of those who participate)
  • Show concrete examples to demonstrate what KS is in practice
  • Don't scare people with the idea of doing yet another new thing but focus on their specific problem or situation and give them examples of how KS could help resolve the problems
  • Lead by example: Start sharing, it motivates others to share!
  • Use key people to fertilise (implant thoughts)
  • Use grapevine to promote KS initiatives- gossip works!
  • Recognize contribution and give them a sense of ownership

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