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42 internal unit. What he termed the "relic" of the historical cen- He mentioned that in the evolution of KM over about tral unit is now functioning in a consultant role engaged in 10 years at the World Bank, much attention was paid to the assisting governments worldwide in KM capacity building. He taxonomy in the early years, and now that piece is pretty much defined capacity building as the institutional ability of organi- done with minimal ongoing maintenance. Document man- zations to use KM and to integrate KM strategies across orga- agement in database/web environment was paramount in the nizations. The World Bank knows how to do KM, and wants early days to build a platform. This has now generally become to spread its expertise, moving KM from what may be per- routine and does not require much attention. ceived as a "fun-to-have luxury item" into the mainstream. The group is especially interested in KM in governmental To summarize, KM staff and activities at the World Bank organizations. have moved from a central unit that created platforms and practices internally within the organization to institutional- According to Mr. Johnson, the World Bank KM agenda ization--routine day-to-day functions across the operating has been integrated into operations, over a period of about units--to a current point at which the KM staff's cutting edge 10 years, as part of the normal business process. Two web is acting as a consulting function for KM development both portals play a central role. The first is an operations web por- within the World Bank and with clients. tal that is evolving for managing work processes. Through the portal, different databases, including transactional data- KNOWLEDGE SHARING AT NATIONAL bases, are tied together. They include personal profiles and AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION job histories, financial management data, project detail and status reporting, and other necessary documents such as envi- In 2002, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO), in its ronmental reports. This portal facilitates the loan process, report to the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, which is the central business process for the World Bank. NASA: Better Mechanisms Needed for Sharing Lessons Learned (2002), found that although NASA officials had The second web portal is a client portal, where the client, developed a strategic plan for KM, weaknesses were revealed in this case governments, get a view of data for entire proj- in the collection and sharing of lessons learned agency-wide. ects, across projects and within single projects. This portal is This useful report might be titled "lessons learned about also tied to transactional databases. lessons learned," because it describes how one organization was analyzed in depth on its institutional memory processes, and suggests improvements. Much detail from this report is He gave the "indigenous knowledge" database as an included here because it contains so many understandings example of another, smaller, nontransactional portal, in this regarding KM. case one that captures local knowledge that adds dimension to projects. An example is indigenous knowledge regarding One of the first findings in this GAO report was that NASA health in an African country. managers themselves found cultural barriers to the sharing of lessons learned, including a perceived inability of employees He emphasized that KM at the World Bank also has an to learn from mistakes. NASA uses various mechanisms to active competency focus for all staff. They are working on communicate lessons derived from past programs and proj- developing an integrated knowledge and learning platform, ects, including policies and guidelines, programmatic and or "just-in-time" learning. Knowledge must be embedded technical reviews, mentoring and training programs, and the and constantly refreshed in resource materials, subscriptions Lessons Learned Information System (LLIS). The report to internal mailing lists, and project documents. There is not found that managers did not routinely identify, collect, or share a heavy emphasis on e-learning. The World Bank sees a good lessons, and that the LLIS was not the primary method for dis- KM spin-off from the group interactions with face-to-face seminating lessons learned agency-wide. Managers identified learning approaches. These group processes are clustered program reviews and informal discussions as the principal around sectors, such as energy. They also have COPs called source. Respondents found that the LLIS covered so many top- "Thematic Groups," which are alive and well, but the KM ics that it was difficult to search for an applicable lesson. After group does little to stimulate them at this point, because they a lesson was entered into the system, it remained in the data- are mostly self-sustaining and managed by their sectors. The base indefinitely without further review. sectors decide which to support, budget wise. He mentioned that the groups do not use much technology, other than e-mail The report identified a number of other mechanisms used systems. Most COP work is face-to-face and they vary in lev- by NASA for KM. In addition to the LLIS, some NASA els of activity. KM officers in individual sectors have special centers or programs maintain their own electronic lessons skills and abilities in KM work depending on the nature of the learned systems. Training programs employ case studies, work unit to which they are attached. For example, the skills with forums held on "hot topics." Annually, the best project may include some IT, website building, facilitating of annual managers are invited to discuss project management. Senior learning events, designing training materials, setting up data- program managers are encouraged to share their knowledge bases, or gathering content materials. through a series of short stories made available by means of