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Looking for new ways of dispensing knowledge & ideas quickly?
Most of us work don’t work alone anymore. The destiny of our organizations is now more than ever dependent on the flow of information and knowledge with our employees, partners, suppliers and customers.
This is not just something Boy Scouts learn. The power of teamwork is well known, but what about the power of social networks and groups to collaborate? More and more companies are using social media to enable people to express themselves and expand their personal networks. But, to improve performance you have to go beyond connection!
Several methods exist to leverage the collective experience of people outside your own team. One of the most common is a community of practice. These are groups of people that form around a common practice, subject or domain, regardless of their place or position in or across organizations.
This form of peer-to-peer knowledge transfer is one of the most powerful and fastest ways to move knowledge. When people and teams need help to solve a problem they reach out to their personal networks. These are people they know and trust… they have strong social ties.
However, they often already know a lot about what these folks know because of their close relationships. And they often share common ways of thinking and experience.
When encouraged to develop informally, Communities of Practice attract membership of people with weak ties. These ‘weak’ or new relationships can be tapped to uncover highly relevant knowledge. They also bring the power of diversity to the problem or challenge at hand.
Using social media to enable new connection and collaboration is nothing new. What is new is using these tools to go beyond connection to accelerate the flow of knowledge and ideas across boundaries and time. Our experience in establishing, facilitating and renewing hundreds of communities of practice puts us at the forefront of applying social media to quickly tap the broadest base of experience imaginable.
This is new and exciting stuff that will make or break an organization’s success in the future. It’s also pretty scary to many senior leaders who have built their success and wealth by sharing on a ‘need to know only’ basis and keeping things closed to their chest. Helping management move from ‘controlling the conversation’ to ‘starting it and letting it go’ is something we are being asked to do more and more of every day.
We don’t have all of the answers yet, but we are learning fast. As a way of informing our own thinking and experience in the rapidly changing field of new social media, we are co-leading a Research Working Group on Knowledge Transfer in a Digital World.
Together we can learn faster to leverage the collective experience of the world around you…contact us to collaborate on this journey.
One of the most effective tools for transferring knowledge when you need it is the Peer Assist. This proven approach moves highly relevant knowledge and experience from peers to your team before they embark on a task or project. It works because people are more likely to use knowledge they gain from others if they get it before they finalize their plans and start implementing.
Up to now, the application and impact of this tool has been limited by a team’s ability to find relevant peers and hold the knowledge transfer session in a timely manner. Let’s face it. You don’t always know what knowledge you need until you are face-to-face with a challenge or new experience.
This is where new social media meets peer assist to create breakthrough performance. We can help you use social media to find peers with relevant knowledge that you never knew existed or could never reach through more traditional communication channels. Then we facilitate a Virtual Peer Assist online using standard web-conferencing tools. This means you are more likely to get the right peers to participate because they don’t have to travel. Instead, they can spend their precious time sharing with your team in a way that minimizes impact to their personal and work situations. For example, in 2 hours, a peer assist saved an energy company $2 million dollars in drilling costs!
We wrote the book on Peer Assists while pioneering knowledge management in BP, and have facilitated more peer assists than anyone else in the world. Who better to help you apply this proven tool in new ways using social media? Contact us if you want to go beyond connecting people and actually transfer knowledge when and where it’s needed most.