Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Managing Knowledge in 2007

I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and a good start to 2007.

Just before the holidays started I was reading a book by Carl Davidson and Dr. Philip Voss called "Knowledge Management: An introduction to creating competitive advantage from intellectual capital"....what a great book. (Note: Davidson and Voss are co-founders and directors of No Doubt Research. Some of their work on knowledge management can be found on their website.)

Davidson and Voss define knowledge management as....

"creating systems that enable organisations to tap into the knowledge, experiences, and creativity of their staff to improve their performance."
I was first introduced to the concept of knowledge management during my masters program several years ago and it has intrigued me ever since. One of the books I read back then was by Thomas A. Stewart called "The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual capital and the twenty-first century organization." Stewart defines knowledge management as ....

"knowing what we know, capturing and organizing it, and using it to produce returns."

Education & Knowledge

After reading Stewarts book for the first time I couldn't help thinking of how we manage knowledge within the education system or more specific within our schools .

I think there is really 2 different pathways of knowledge within schools.

  1. knowledge in the classroom between teacher and students
  2. knowledge (that includes skills and experience) within the staff

Teacher and Students

The knowledge classroom has changed over the years and technology has had a huge impact on that. This topic is one I will cover over the next couple of weeks as I would like to focus on knowledge and staff.

Knowledge and Staff

How is knowledge shared within your school? Are there gatekeepers that tend to hold onto the knowledge? These gatekeepers are usually people that have some level of responsibility and believe if they control the knowledge they are in power. Unfortuantely this damages the growth of the school and creates an environment of mistrust and resentment.

Are there systems in place to encourage all staff to share their knowledge? A quote from Davidson & Voss's book from the CEO of Hewlett-Packard remarked 'if only HP knew what HP knows, we'd be three times as profitable'.

Can the same be said for schools? If schools only knew what schools know.......

Once staff are hired, how often are their CVs revisted by senior leadership? Are staff encouraged to share with other staff throughout a school year or is it a one time thing....if at all?

How is knowledge managed in your classroom? In your school? Is knowledge shared through all levels of management? Is there a 2-way sharing process in your classroom? In your staffroom? Are there gatekeepers that hold onto the knowledge? Are there knowledge pools 'lying around' in your school not being accessed?

Knowledge management is something I will be revisiting through out the next couple of weeks. Looking at such things as: the impact of timetabling and classrooms.

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