Thursday, November 18, 2010

Summary of group discussion around learning before, during and after

Peer Assist slide from Geoff Parcell
This afternoon, we had a group discussion/peer assist on how we can improve learning before, during and after within our organizations.

We often have problems with externalizing our knowledge and have limited social interaction across units – in form of both face-to-face and virtual form. The other problem is also that KM is seen as an add-on instead of being seen as an integral part of what we should do.

Some methods/techniques that came out for the following stages of learning were:

Learning before
  • access the existing lessons learned, strategy papers, guidance notes, publications (journal articles to theoretical)
  • search for content on relevant networks
  • stakeholder analysis
  • peer assists
  • assessment
Learning during
  • do regular/continuous evaluation at all stages of project
  • after action reviews/ appreciative inquiry
  • peer assists and regular during action reviews
  • regular team meetings
  • study visits
Learning after
  • capturing of lessons learned
  • briefing and debriefing
  • most significant change
  • exit interviews and hand-over strategy
Study/learning circles, knowledge fairs, etc. are other examples of how knowledge sharing can be encouraged at all stages. Make the environment within the organization conducive to knowledge sharing and asking. Management should also support by giving time for learning before, during and after.

Disucssing how we can improve learning before, during and after in our organization's work
One thing the group agreed on was that a lot of learning is personal effort and those individuals who walk the talk should be encouraged and supported.

The group observed the common principles as:
  • Make learning explicit
  • Buy-in from the team
  • Provide a safe environment in which staff can fail
  • Delineation between learning and performance assessment
  • Donors also need to give opportunity for us to learn
  • Learning happens by interacting between people as well as through codified resources
Some of the action items that came out from the group to encourage learning before, during and after were:
  • Recognise and acknowledge what people do – knowledge promoter award, thank you email, etc.
  • Embed learning before, during and after in the project implementation/processes of the organizations work
  • Provide templates for capturing of knowledge such as through good practices and other knowledge sharing formats
  • Increase social interaction at workplace and engage constructively
  • Create a KM taskforce to ensure that KM is embedded into work of the organization
  • Codify knowledge and make it available for those who are afraid to ask
  • Make our stakeholders that learning is part of the way we work in our organization
  • Support and create environment for people to interact
  • Push/train management to understand that we do better if we give time for reflection/analysis of situation and learning
  • Make staff members aware and responsible for knowledge sharing/management in the organization
  • Balance codification of knowledge and social interaction/networking

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