KM self-assessment: Session with country programme managers, technical advisers, policy analysts, communication and financial officers

We continued the KM self-assessment in the afternoon with 15 other colleagues from different walks of life. This session had participants from the progamme management department (operations), technical advisory division, policy division, finance and language services. It was interesting to observe the differences between the various divisions and to see how in some divisions KM is still abstract concept.

This group assessed that we've come along way with the evidence being the fact that today we can actually talk about some achievements.

They also agreed that while in some parts of the house we are adding value by capturing, distilling and disseminating our knowledge, this is far from being systematic. There was a crie de coeur that we need to get much better in systematically capturing and disseminating our own knowledge while at the same time we need to be humble enough to recognize that we do not necessarily have all the knowledge that we need, thus we need to strengthen and/or forge new partnership with those who know more than us. These strategic partnerships can help us learn.

Both the morning and the afternoon groups talked about the challenge of converting information to knowledge and converting knowledge to learning. Both groups also talked about lack of time to think, capture knowledge, read, be creative and learn!

One of the most rewarding moments was to hear a formerly KM-cynic colleague saying: "last year I decided that I would do at least on knowledge product per year. I am now trying to find the time to do KM. It is fun, it is relevant and I am spearheading others to learn".

When I heard this colleague utter these words, I thought to myself... YES WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY, but I also came to realize that we still have a long way to go.... But now our social capital, or rather our KM capital is growing exponentially... So hopefully sooner than later we will have many more KM practitioners and KM converts.

Another interesting point was a passionate conversation about the need of demand-driven knowledge products and ability to "sell and market" our knowledge products. This conversation made the gathering recognize that KM is an investment and they realized that our clients would not accept more of the same, thus the conclusion that we had no choice but to systematically capture knowledge to generate new knowledge. At the same time the afternoon session recognized that perhaps they are not calling on the services and expertise of certain parts of the house to help tease out and distil the knowledge.

There was also an interesting debate about "delivering the pipeline" vs "doing KM". The majority of the group deemed these two as part and parcel of the same thing and argued that there is absolutely no tension between these two things as delivering the pipeline means doing effective KM.

There was consensus that we need to identify departmental and divisional needs, set priorities and allocate resources both in terms of time and money, and FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS. Everyone recognized that capturing knowledge is part of project implementation and some even talked about the using techniques such as storytelling to capture knowledge.

Both groups saw the fact that the President-elect is the KM champion as an opportunity to take forward the KM agenda.

The afternoon session agreed to focus on improving:
- strategic approach from level 2/3 to 4
- building a learning organization from level 2 to 4
- measuring the value from level 2 to 3
- capturing and reapplying knowledge from 2 to 4

The commonality between the two groups were in the area of measuring the value and improving how we capture and reapply our knowledge. Now, let's see what tomorrow's group - the managers - have to say.

Till then, goodbye and good night.