Knowledge Management in a Time of COVID-19

“We need to re-invent the water cooler.”  That’s a quote I heard on a recent webinar regarding the challenges of knowledge management in this time when so many of us are working “virtually.” Long regarded as a cliché, the water cooler really represented any of the informal gathering spots we had in our workplaces. Despite Zoom, Webex, MSTeams, etc., we no longer have a water cooler equivalent for the casual exchange of information for those of us working virtually.

Knowledge Management Defined

Knowledge management is, of course, more than the casual exchange of information. According to the Baldrige Excellence Framework, knowledge management requires a systematic approach for building and managing organizational knowledge. It includes how you:

– Collect and transfer workforce knowledge

– Blend and correlate data from different sources to build new knowledge

– Transfer relevant knowledge from and to customers, suppliers, partners, and collaborators; and

– Assemble and transfer relevant knowledge for use in your innovation and strategic planning processes

How do you collect and transfer workforce knowledge with a distributed workforce?  Even if your employees are still physically coming in to work, how do you manage that knowledge sharing while practicing social distancing?  The same is true with your other stakeholders (customers, suppliers, partners, and collaborators).  And many organizations are thinking about how to accomplish the need for innovation and effective strategic planning in the face of vast uncertainty.

How to Start Knowledge Management During a Pandemic

If knowledge management wasn’t a part of your organizational imperative before the pandemic, it isn’t likely to be now. But maybe it should be.  Think about all of the new knowledge assets that have been created in response to dealing with this pandemic, working in new ways. It’s likely that new processes have been developed to maintain operations.  How do you harness this new knowledge for the future?

We started participating in the IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) COVID-19 Rapid Response Network for Nursing Homes, or their Nursing Home Daily Huddle.  For 13 weeks, this 20-minute virtual huddle provided data updates, changes in regulations and legislations, and a presentation of a better or best practice.  Each week had a focus identified in advance to allow for an active chat session between presenters and participants who often had another best practice on the topic to share.  The presentations, recordings, and other resources are archived on this website. https://my.ihi.org/materials/covid19-nursinghomes.aspx

The huddle has now gone to Tuesdays and Thursdays, but it remains an efficient way to collect and transfer knowledge not only across an organization, but an entire industry.

“We need to re-invent the water cooler.”  That’s a quote I heard on a recent webinar regarding the challenges of knowledge management in this time when so many of us are working “virtually.” Long regarded as a cliché, the water cooler really represented any of the informal gathering spots we had in our workplaces. Despite Zoom, Webex, MSTeams, etc., we no longer have a water cooler equivalent for the casual exchange of information for those of us working virtually.

Knowledge Management Defined

Knowledge management is, of course, more than the casual exchange of information. According to the Baldrige Excellence Framework, knowledge management requires a systematic approach for building and managing organizational knowledge. It includes how you:

– Collect and transfer workforce knowledge

– Blend and correlate data from different sources to build new knowledge

– Transfer relevant knowledge from and to customers, suppliers, partners, and collaborators; and

– Assemble and transfer relevant knowledge for use in your innovation and strategic planning processes

How do you collect and transfer workforce knowledge with a distributed workforce?  Even if your employees are still physically coming in to work, how do you manage that knowledge sharing while practicing social distancing?  The same is true with your other stakeholders (customers, suppliers, partners, and collaborators).  And many organizations are thinking about how to accomplish the need for innovation and effective strategic planning in the face of vast uncertainty.

How to Start Knowledge Management During a Pandemic

If knowledge management wasn’t a part of your organizational imperative before the pandemic, it isn’t likely to be now. But maybe it should be.  Think about all of the new knowledge assets that have been created in response to dealing with this pandemic, working in new ways. It’s likely that new processes have been developed to maintain operations.  How do you harness this new knowledge for the future?

We started participating in the IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) COVID-19 Rapid Response Network for Nursing Homes, or their Nursing Home Daily Huddle.  For 13 weeks, this 20-minute virtual huddle provided data updates, changes in regulations and legislations, and a presentation of a better or best practice.  Each week had a focus identified in advance to allow for an active chat session between presenters and participants who often had another best practice on the topic to share.  The presentations, recordings, and other resources are archived on this website. https://my.ihi.org/materials/covid19-nursinghomes.aspx

The huddle has now gone to Tuesdays and Thursdays, but it remains an efficient way to collect and transfer knowledge not only across an organization, but an entire industry.

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