Maximising the power of collective knowledge


Published on

This session will explore the scope for transforming collaboration and knowledge-sharing between public sector workers in different organizations. It will take as its starting point the lesson's learnt from the UK's local government community of practice platform, currently the world's largest network for public sector professionals. Moving on to describe the Knowledge Hub, the "next generation" Enterprise Social Software platform, providing many new features, and enabling far better permeability between government communities and external (Web 2.0) social networks and web services. Delegates will gain insights into the contribution that online communities can make in the public sector, and will discuss the barriers to effective collaboration and the best ways to overcome them

Published in: Business, Technology, Education
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • This session will explore the scope for transforming collaboration and knowledge-sharing between public sector workers in different organizations. It will take as its starting point the UK's recently launched Knowledge Hub, an ambitious attempt to create a new kind of platform for online collaboration and data sharing. Stephen Dale, who has been at the heart of this project, will explain the vision behind the Knowledge Hub and the impact it is having. Delegates will gain insights into the contribution that online communities can make in the public sector, and will discuss the barriers to effective collaboration and the best ways to overcome them.
  • The context.
  • The idea was to break down some of the silo’d working practices both within councils and across the sector. Councils were delivering the same set of services, but were not learning from each other about good/best practice.
  • We should perhaps differentiate “Communities of Practice” from “Social Networks”. The former operate from a sense of shared values and objectives. The latter is a far more personalised agenda.
  • There are some councilors, chief executives and heads of service who use the platform, but generally speaking the majority of users are at the Council Officer level – i.e. practitioners.
  • Communities are complex environments, with lots of characters interacting in a variety of way. This is true for both ‘real’ communities and on-line/virtual communities.
  • The major part of this presentation is focused on Communities of Practice (CoPs) – but what are the distinguishing characteristics of a CoP? Arguably the most important characteristic is that members are self-selected, i.e. they are there because they perceive there is some value in being a member of the CoP. They are there because they WANT to be there.
  • As we all know, government and local government have never really grasped the flatter structures that we see in the private sector. Hierarchies mean that knowledge has to flow uphill and cascade to lower levels. CoPs mean direct knowledge transfer regardless of status or rank.
  • Some of the key activities of the Facilitator: Supporting sociability, relationship and trust building Seed and feed discussion topics Maintain and sustain the communities health Direct knowledge nuggets for capture and reuse Help to connect community members Provide basic help as needed with the tools Reporting CoP activity – metrics, evaluations Ensure the community space is kept "tidy" and navigable Monitoring success criteria and impact
  • Aggregating quantitative metrics does not provide evidence of either success or failure of a CoP. For example, we need to understand: The original purpose and intended outcomes of the community . Some will be light on discussion and strong on shared document building and vice versa. Others will be ‘one-shot’ supporting a single challenge. 2. The rhythm or cycle of the community . Not all communities will be a hive of activity, some will support its participants at a low level of interaction over a long period, others for short bursts around face-to-face-meetings or events. 3. The quality of the interactions and/or the viewings it attracts. An online community may be composed of lengthy, high quality, position statements or case-studies with relatively little discussion. Others, equally valid, may be filled with chit-chat and gossip, sharing experience in a way that provides moral support for isolated individuals. Two key lessons: Don ’ t rely on metrics to claim your community is successful. Use metrics and indicators to understand your community better. So any measure of success is likely to be a mix of qualitative and quantitative data. Managers need to avoid interfering with the way that the CoPs are being run, particularly in the sense of setting targets and timescales. The more informed managers are aware that traditional command and control processes do not work for CoPs, and that instilling corporate processes on largely free-wheeling communities is likely to stifle and inhibit innovation and learning. However, there is a cost in keeping this technology and support infrastructure going, and it is reasonable to expect questions from senior managers on what the benefits are and what the ROI is. It remains something of a conundrum on how best to respond to these questions in a way that will give senior managers the confidence to maintain investment.
  • So, if one wants to think of ‘value’ solely in terms of hard cash savings – then online conferences have saved IDeA/LGG over (20 conferences x £8000). But, as mentioned previously, it is wrong to confuse ‘costs’ with ‘value’. The real value comes from the learning and sharing opportunities provided by the on-line conference. There are also far more effective networking opportunities provided in a virtual (on-line) environment, where posted comments (in forums, blogs etc.) can reach a far wider audience.
  • Hotseats work best if you can attract a senior politician, councillor or acknowledge expert to spend 2-3 hours answering questions that are raised in the forum. We once had Peter Mandelson in the hot seat talking about the environment and CO2 emissions.
  • Stories should be published, promoted and rewarded.
  • What is Enterprise Social Software?   “ … a system of web-based technologies that provide rapid and agile collaboration, information sharing, emergence and integration capabilities in the extended enterprise ” . Source: Wikipedia
  • Over 80% set up as private spaces (accessed only via the Facilitator as opposed to just being able to join) - all of them silo ’ d knowledge repositories. Lack of permeability within the CoP space and with external (outside the firewall) conversations.
  • We often talk about information overload, which in fact is more accurately described as “filter failure” (Clay Shirky). We can improve the effectiveness of our filters provided we are willing to tell the system something about ourselves ad part of our online digital profile. For example, where we work, what our job is, what are skills are, what we are seeking etc.
  • It ’ s a strange paradox that now we have the capability of easily creating new websites and blogs without the need for any programing skills that what we really want now is one place to see and interact with all of this information. A recent (Sept) audit of LinkedIn illustrates the problem: 26 Alumni groups 32 Corporate groups 20 Conference groups 132 Networking groups 16?Nonprofit groups 196 Professional groups. A total of 422 groups. How do you know which ones to join to find the most relevant answers? All of them?!
  • These are distilled from the original set of requirements defined in 2008. Not all of these were delivered as part of the live release in October 2011, and budget cuts may prevent the missing features from being delivered.
  • The original vision was for the Knowledge Hub to provide a rich set of features for encouraging collaboration and information sharing. It supports facilities for developing new apps, comparing and benchmarking data, and as a sector-wide knowledge repository. All of this is tied together using leading-edge semantic search capabilities.
  • Launched 27 October 2011. Not certain which (if any) of the missing features will be delivered.
  • Note the social media sites – which means activities on these websites can be integrated into the activities (e.g. conversations) happening on the Knowledge Hub.
  • Activity streams help the user to identify potentially relevant information happening across the Knowledge Hub platform, or in the external social networks.
  • Maximising the power of collective knowledge

    1. 1. Steve Dale: [email_address] Twitter: @stephendale Transforming Collaboration Maximising The Power Of Collective Knowledge 10 th December 2011
    2. 2. The Context
    3. 3. Local government in England and Wales employs a workforce of 2.1 million people across 375 local authorities. Each authority is working to deliver the same 700 services to their residents. Local Government has an annual operating budget of over £10 billion for delivering services.
    4. 4. 3-Year Knowledge Management Strategy for Local Government – started in 2005. People with People People with Experts People with Information
    5. 5. Communities of Practice <ul><li>Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly </li></ul>Source: Etienne Wenger
    6. 6.
    7. 7. … but communities are complex…
    8. 8. Collaborative Working – some distinctions KIN, Warwick Business School Purpose Members Adhesive Duration Formal work group To deliver a product or service Employees who reports to the group ’ s manager Job requirements and org structure Until organisational restructuring Project team To accomplish a task Employees assigned by senior management Project milestones and goals Until project completion Social networks To collect and pass on information Friends and acquaintances Mutual needs and interests As long as people have a reason to connect Community of Practice To develop members ’ capabilities; to build and exchange knowledge Members who select themselves Passion, commitment and identification with the group ’ s expertise As long as there is interest in maintaining the group
    9. 9. What was achieved? What was learnt?
    10. 10. Lessons Learnt 1. For some it was a culture shock No hierarchies: knowledge is evenly distributed
    11. 11. Slide re-worked from an original by Dion Hinchliffe polls surveys health checks management reports Community Metrics social network analysis Google analytics Community Management moderation rewards & incentives rule enforcement connecting people back-channel engagement forum seeding comments blog posts new member welcome & induction newsletters e-bulletins Outreach campaigns Professional Development networking identifying good/best practice attending events participate in SIGs Content Management updating FAQs managing tags, categories, themes taxonomy management deleting & archiving updating links & navigation Business Planning alignment with business priorities purpose, goals Platform Management upgrades & improvements feature selection tools/apps & how to use them
    12. 12. Lessons Learnt 3. Value can be measured. … but a chicken doesn ’ t get fatter the more you weigh it! User Surveys Source:
    13. 13. Lessons Learnt 4. Return on Investment Can Be Measured <ul><li>Cost of one face to face conference: </li></ul><ul><li>100 people attending an event in London </li></ul><ul><li>Cost of rooms + lunch = £5000/€5,800 </li></ul><ul><li>Avg cost of travel = £30/€58 per person </li></ul><ul><li>One face-to-face conference would cost £8000/€9,300 </li></ul><ul><li>Cost of an on-line conference is virtually £0/€0. </li></ul><ul><li>There have been over 20 on-line conferences so far. </li></ul>Source:
    14. 14. Lessons Learnt 5: Hot seats generate heat! <ul><li>Used to attract new members to the community. </li></ul><ul><li>Enables participants to ask the person in the hot seat (usually an expert in their field) questions, to which they can respond over a set period of time. </li></ul><ul><li>Normally run using the forum, but they can also be run as a phone conference, webinar or interview </li></ul>Source:
    15. 15. Lesson Learnt 6: Anecdotes should be encouraged…and published! “ The concept of online conferences is a winner, instead of spending hours on a train to sit through various Powerpoint presentations, you access the conference when it’s convenient to you.“ User, Hart District Council  “ If you find yourself drifting apart from your peers and you have to rely on regional meetings that take place several months apart, then the online community can bring and keep you together – its also great way of staying in touch with industry changes.” User, West Lothian Council Source:
    16. 16. <ul><li>In 2008 Knowledge Hub Project Launched. </li></ul><ul><li>A next generation ‘Enterprise Social Software’ platform </li></ul><ul><li>What problems were we trying to solve? </li></ul>
    17. 17. Lack of integration with other web services and social media CoP Websites Tweets Blogs X X X
    18. 18. I want the information to find me!
    19. 19. Who should I follow or connect to? What groups or networks do I join? Where are the conversations most relevant to ME? Users need help in finding/accessing relevant knowledge
    20. 20. Knowledge Hub Requirements <ul><li>Easier to use – intuitive and guided navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Powerful semantic search and discovery </li></ul><ul><li>Greater permeability with external networks and conversations. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge and Information finds YOU. </li></ul><ul><li>New synchronous collaboration opportunities with Web Conferencing. </li></ul><ul><li>Support for mobile working </li></ul><ul><li>Access to mashup tools and Apps </li></ul><ul><li>Analytics </li></ul>
    21. 21. Knowledge Hub – The Concept Knowledge Wiki Peer reviews & recommendations Performance Comparisons App Store Aggregation + Activity Streams Powerful semantic search Community workspaces Mashup centre
    22. 22. Knowledge Hub – The Reality (launched 27 October 2011) Peer reviews & recommendations Aggregation + Activity Streams Powerful semantic search Community workspaces
    23. 23. A brief look….
    24. 24. My unique profile URL My activities My Social Networks
    25. 25. Aggregated Information via Activity Streams Groups I have joined Social Network Activity Stream Conversations I am participating in. Predictive text search Filters
    26. 26. Email: Twitter: @stephendale Profile: