1 Knowledge Management in Public Health Nancy Dubois, NCCMT Consultant CPHA Conference, June 2009
2 Overview The four essential elements of Knowledge Management: Culture, Content, Process, and Technology, will be explored in the context of their application to the Canadian public health sector. This session will provide an overview of the concepts related to a series of Knowledge Management initiatives provided by NCCMT, which all served to explore if a KM strategy for public health in Canada is warranted, and how that might materialize.
3 Why is the NCCMT interested in KM for public health? Recommended by the Advisory Council Linked to the development of core competencies in public health Global trend in the private sector typically public health follows Changes in the workforce aging (succession) & more mobile Escalating time pressures Increasing emphasis on evidence-informed decision making we need to share knowledge about what works and why it works
5 Background Paper Knowledge Management: Background Paper for the Development of a Knowledge Management Strategy for Public Health of Canada (2008) This overview of knowledge management (KM) identifies pertinent issues, questions and implications surrounding the potential development of a solid, systemic and strategic approach to KM for public health in Canada. English & French versions available at
6 What is Knowledge Management? Knowledge management is the systematic process by which knowledge needed for an organization to succeed is created, captured, shared and leveraged. Clemmons Rumizen, 2002, p. 9
7 Many Related Terms & Concepts Knowledge Exchange, Transfer, Translation, Dissemination Learning Organization Communities of Practice The Balanced Scorecard
8 Two Types of Knowledge Explicit knowledge book knowledge available in spoken or written form the ordering of data and information according to well-defined, formalized procedures or rules. Tacit knowledge resides within the people of the organization not formalized into written or documented forms. only accessible through conscious efforts (e.g., interviews, mentoring) to gather insight on how individuals do their jobs. Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, 2005, p.6
10 Brief History In the Knowledge Age, two per cent of the working population will work on the land, 10% will work in Industry and the rest will be Knowledge Workers, a term coined by Peter Drucker in 1959 (Wikipedia, 2008). Peter Drucker is quoted in the State of the Notion as stating knowledge has become the key economic resource and the dominant and perhaps even the only source of comparative advantage
11 Brief History KM as a conscious discipline evolved from the thinking of academics and pioneers such as Peter Drucker in the 1970s, Karl-Erik Sveiby in the late 1980s, Nonaka and Takeuchi in the 1990s. (National Health Service, 2006).
12 Benefits of KM (created from Dalkir, 2005, p.20) For the Individual For the Community of Practice For the Organization Helps people do their jobs and save time through better decision making and problem solving; Builds a sense of community bonds within the organization; Helps people to keep up to date; Provides challenges and opportunities to contribute. Develops professional skills; Promotes peer-to-peer mentoring; Facilitates more effective networking and collaboration; Develops a professional code of ethics that members can follow; Develops a common language. Helps drive strategy; Solves problems quickly; Diffuses best practices; Improves knowledge embedded in products and services; Cross-fertilizes ideas and increases opportunities for innovation; Enables organization to stay ahead of the competition better; Builds organizational memory.
13 Four Inter-dependent Elements
14 Four inter-dependent elements of KM Culture The culture of the organization needs to be one that holds knowledge in such high regard that there is a strategic and pervasive commitment to managing it effectively. Content Process Technology
15 Culture: the way we do things around here Values and beliefs of staff How people are and feel rewarded, organized and controlled Work orientation of staff, the way work is organized and experienced Degree of formalization, standardization and control through systems How authority is exercised and distributed Value placed on various functions within the organization Scope for individuality and creative expression, risk-taking and initiative Notions and concepts on the importance and use of time and space Organizational rites, rituals and stories Organizational language (phrases and words that have a special meaning or significance to that organization). (CEM Part 2: Organizational Culture, 2004, p.9)
16 Four inter-dependent elements of KM Culture Content Content is the knowledge, in both tacit and explicit forms that is managed. Process Technology
17 Content: The Knowledge Properties of Tacit Knowledge Ability to adapt, to deal with new and exceptional situations Expertise, know-how, knowwhy, and care-why Ability to collaborate, to share a vision, to transmit a culture Coaching and mentoring to transfer experiential knowledge (one-to-one, face-to-face) Properties of Explicit Knowledge Ability to disseminate, to reproduce, to access, and to reapply throughout the organization Ability to teach, to train Ability to organize; to systematize; to translate a vision into a mission statement, into operational guidelines Transfer of knowledge via products, services and documented processes
18 Four inter-dependent elements of KM Culture Content Process Formalized processes are critical to ensure the effectiveness of the creation, assessment, management, and dissemination of content Technology
19 Processes the activities or initiatives put in place to enable and facilitate the creation, sharing and use of knowledge for the benefit of your organization. Processes also refer to your organization s general infrastructure and ways of doing things and the extent to which these act as enablers of, or barriers to, good KM practice (National Health Service, 2005, p. 57)
20 Processes Roles Knowledge Broker/ Manager/ Analyst/ Engineer/ Steward/ Director Chief Knowledge Officer Position KM needs a place within which the organization can: Make decisions in how to invest for KM Get funding Get the access you need to senior leadership Make sure that resource allocations are in line with the organizations overall strategy and also the KM strategy (National Health Services, 2005)
21 Four inter-dependent elements of KM Culture Content Process Technology Technology is one key means by which knowledge, traditionally explicit but increasingly tacit as well, through such interactive methods as virtual communities and social networking, is managed. It is often surprising to those relatively new to KM concepts, that technology plays a relatively small, albeit critically important role in the overall KM process.
22 Technology: one quarter, but critical 10 technologies that collectively make up full-function KM the building blocks of a KM solution: 1. Capture and store 2. Search and retrieve 3. Send critical information to individuals or groups 4. Structure and navigate 5. Share and collaborate 6. Synthesize 7. Profile and personalize 8. Solve or recommend 9. Integrate with business applications 10.Maintenance (Bixler, 2002)
23 Types of enabling technology tools Knowledge bases Access to expertise elearning spaces Synchronous interactions Discussion groups Website communities Project spaces Knowledge workers desktop tools content management tools (Documentum) many incorporated into tools (AskMe) ranging from interactive collaboration tools (Blackboard) to learning management systems (HealthStream) online Web meetings (WebEx or NetMeeting) ranging from simple listservs to asynchronous discussion boards (WebCrossing and Prospero) linking people to people as well as to documents, tools (Communispace or NewSof) many linked to Outlook and incorporate shared folders and project management tools customizable Web portals (Plumtree) (Wenger, 2001 as cited in Guptill, 2005, p )
24 Where would an organization start in the KM process? Conduct knowledge audits Create knowledge strategies Connect people with people to share tacit knowledge Connect people with information to share explicit knowledge best practices databases content management processes to ensure that explicit knowledge is current, relevant and easily accessible Create opportunities for people to generate new knowledge (collaborative working and learning) Introduce processes to help people seek and use the knowledge of others (peer assists) Teach people to share knowledge in ways that inspire (storytelling) Encourage people to prioritize learning as part of their day-to-day work, by learning before, during and after the tasks & projects they have performed National Health Service, 2005
25 The Importance of Context The salience of context is becoming increasingly apparent to decision makers as they face compressed timeframes for decision making while at the same time the complexity of problems they face requires bringing together knowledge from experts in many specialized domains. The ability to understand the emergence and transformation of context, and the relationship between context and the sharing of tacit knowledge, is of strategic importance to the success of organizations as they face the pace and the acceleration of operations in the knowledge based economy. Augier, et. al., 2001, p.135)
26 The importance of people Social networks of influence (Diffusion of Innovations Theory) Gopher-Net in cubicles Communities of Interest, Practice, Purpose
27 Thank You Kathie Clark, NCCMT (905) x Nancy Dubois
ABC of Knowledge Management Freely extracted from the NHS National Library for Health for the FAO as a knowledge organization initiative at http://www.library.nhs.uk/knowledgemanagement/ Creator: NHS National
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