Ask Your Mates Open Forum

Collaborative Knowledge Acquisition Process

  • 1.  Collaborative Knowledge Acquisition Process

    Posted 27 August 2013 03:08

    I believe that one way to boost the collective intelligence of an organisation or community (and I believe that this is a very worthwhile goal) is to adopt a collaborative knowledge acquisition process.

    Here's the process I'm going to try and use from now on, or at least until I can (collaboratively) develop something better.

    1. Identify a knowledge gap
    2. Create or update a wiki page to document my existing knowledge and future learnings
    3. Search the internet and intranet for information
    4. Ask stakeholders & communities of interest (like this one) for information, ideas and/or opinions
    5. Update the wiki page with any new learnings
    6. Get to know respondents and what their interests and skills are
    7. Create or update a stakeholders list so I know who to ask next time I have a similar knowledge gap
    8. Let stakeholders know about the updated the wiki page

    I'd really love to hear from anyone who can think of ways to make this process even more collaborative.

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    Wayne Eddy
    Strategic Asset Planning Coordinator
    City of Whittlesea
    BUNDOORA MDC VIC
    wayne.eddy@whittlesea.vic.gov.au
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  • 2.  RE:Collaborative Knowledge Acquisition Process

    Posted 31 August 2013 07:04
    I think the problem here is that the general audience will not upload to a wiki, it's not something I have to do and it's not part of my job but it is a great source of information. Also some of the discussions we have on this forum need to be summarised to get a result.

    One solution might be to form a group of 'interested people' who will summarise the discussions and post the information into a wiki. This then needs to be promulgated. When you look at what information ends up on this discussion it is a pity it all falls into the ether and gets lost. How you do this might be hurdle.

    I'm not sure but I think I might have dobbed myself in! Some of the other high frequency users might want to help out too.

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    Ashley Bishop
    Asset Management Officer
    Benalla Rural City Council
    BENALLA VIC

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  • 3.  RE:Collaborative Knowledge Acquisition Process

    Posted 01 September 2013 22:25

    Ashley, thanks very much for your comments.

    I'd love to be able to convince more people of the personal benefits of organising their knowledge using a wiki, whether it be a public one like Wikipedia or WikiPWEA, a Council wiki or a personal wiki. 

    I'd be really interested to hear how people who don't use wikis organise their personal knowledge and if any of these other knowledge organisation tools could be substituted for wikis in my proposed process.

    Perhaps I'm the only one who worries about organising their personal knowledge? 

    The point you make about information falling into the ether is a good one that I've pondered myself before. There seems to be a lot of good will when it comes to sharing ideas and knowledge, but I just don't think we are doing it as efficiently as we could be, and that this leads to duplication of effort and rework.

    Regards,

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    Wayne Eddy
    Strategic Asset Planning Coordinator
    City of Whittlesea
    BUNDOORA MDC VIC
    wayne.eddy@whittlesea.vic.gov.au
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  • 4.  RE:Collaborative Knowledge Acquisition Process

    Posted 03 September 2013 17:46
    Hi, i've been involved in knowledge management for some time now between a group of programmers, customer service, and marketing/sales groups and have tried a few methods. There seems to be no perfect solution, but some observations:

    1. Wikis are great, but the two biggest features that it needs to do are:

    1a. Great search capabilities, this includes attachment's such as Word document's contents.
    1b. Easy to edit and navigate. If it's complex, people won't use it no matter how much you want people to do it. (i learnt this lesson trying to use Twiki... nice idea, too hard though).

    Wiki's need to contain useful information, not just information for information's sake. This sounds obvious, but you need to spring clean it every once in a while. If the wiki *actually* resolves someone's day-to-day questions/problems, then they'll come back. If they search for a problem and theres no answer - they won't bother next time.

    2. Meeting minutes should be made obsolete as far as i'm concerned. They're stale, old formats and only get looked at (typically) just before the 'next meeting' occurs anyway - i'm talking about those MSWord documents that are hard to format and get out of date an hour after the meeting anyway.

    Instead, try moving to a live system (hard to get buy in!), where each action might be entered into a database, or web tool (i use JIRA and Confluence and i can't recommend it highly enough though mileage will vary depending on your organisation's environment). cc specific people to be involved, particular tasks are Assigned to specific people so there is clarity on who is doing what, it has time tracking capabilities if that's of concern to your organisation, and you can have hyperlinks to other existing issues.

    The neat bit is that once an issue is resolved, you close it down and forget about it.... until it's needed again, and you have a historical backup of 'who tried what', and a reason as to 'why' certain decisions were made which helps a bit if your organisation isn't great at knowledge sharing, or succession planning too. The entries will appear in your search engine results, which gets you on the way to the creation of a good wiki too.

    3. Evernote is an excellent tool i use for self management. It takes a little getting used to, but when combined with the Get Things Done (GTD - google it if you're not familiar) i think it works pretty well with syncing tasks and info across PCs, iOS, android etc. Not convinced it works too well 'across teams' though.

    Just my 2 cents!

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    Aaron Steinmetz
    Development Manager,
    ARRB Group
    Vermont South VIC
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  • 5.  RE:Collaborative Knowledge Acquisition Process

    Posted 05 September 2013 18:34
    Thanks for your feedback Aaron.

    Couldn't agree more that a wiki needs to be easy to navigate and edit.  I would say though that I wouldn't equate WYSISYG with easy to edit.  I've used MediaWiki, Wikidot & SharePoint.  You need to spend a little time (a few hours) llearning their wiki markup language to use MediaWiki and Wikidot effectively, and then more time again to be able to use them  to their full potential, but once you do, editing them is a much more pleasant experience than trying to make Sharepoint's dodgy WYSISYG editing tool make the page look how you wan't it to look.

    Search is important, but I think it is even more important not to just dump content into lazily named pages and expect the search functionality to find what you need to find.   I beleive the best way to use a wiki is to set it up as an encyclopedic knowledge base, with the content of each page matching the page name.  If you do this and the wiki is public as an added bonus Google will do a great job of indexing the site and making your content easy to find.  For example try searching for "lgam AARB".

    Totally agree that the information included in a wiki needs to be useful, but I'd add that linkages and relationships between discrete bits of information is also information, and sometimes this more meta information is just as valuable.

    100% agree with making tradition Word-based minutes obsolete.  When I was in Bundaberg, I wikified my team meeting minutes and agendas and they became a live document that we looked at together via a projector and edited and updated on the spot.
      
    One last question for you.  Have you made any of your knowledge public and findable?  

    This last question is for me the key to making everyone's life easier,  If everyone on the forum organised their knowledge and made their knowledge public and findable, preferably publishing it under a creative commons licence, we could amplify our collective intelligence manyfold, and make all of our jobs easier. 

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    Wayne Eddy
    Strategic Asset Planning Coordinator
    City of Whittlesea
    BUNDOORA MDC VIC
    wayne.eddy@whittlesea.vic.gov.au
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  • 6.  RE:Collaborative Knowledge Acquisition Process

    Posted 05 September 2013 18:45
    Some good ideas there Aaron, but it will still need a champion group to make it happen especially given the distance between contributors.

    Perhaps one idea might be to collate the outcomes from these discussions into a case study manual (the wiki) that will be able to accompany any process/procedure manual (IIMM). Turning the outcomes into case studies will probably require someone to contact the original contributor to get more detail and then turn the collective information into an informational record. Organise the wiki like a book, Vol.6 roads, chap 2, sealed roads, section 3 "experience with geofabics". The volumes could be based around the primary asset classes the chapters on the types of asset, the sections on the assets and the discussion will talk about the components (Class, Type, Asset, Component - civ5321 Asset Management-1 Monash University). Another group of volumes would be on analysis tools, CAPEX planning and those staples of renewal and maintenance planning and a supplement - convincing management on the importance of asset management! It would have to be a dynamic document being edited all the time.

    It looks like Darron has dobbed me in, Wayne you might want to contact the interested ones or seek them out - dob some others in!.

    We might even be able to create a collaborative manual based on real life experiences instead of an academic manual. IIMM from the real world!



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    Ashley Bishop
    Asset Management Officer
    Benalla Rural City Council
    BENALLA VIC

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  • 7.  RE:Collaborative Knowledge Acquisition Process

    Posted 08 September 2013 23:13
    Yep they're all valid points. Culture within your organisation is your biggest hurdle I find, you really need to take that into account when deciding the path and processes (and even tools) you take.

    Champions are useful for sure, but i've found people have a tendency to let the champions handle everything and then the wiki is "not their problem" anymore. Thats not really what you're after imho.

    Theres no silver bullet, not that i've found. The Atlassian stuff is very easy to use, which gets over a lot of the resistance.

    I also looked at yammer/convofy (now convo?) as an interesting alternative approach. Might be worth a look for you depending on your group's culture.

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    Aaron Steinmetz
    ARRB Group
    Vermont South VIC

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