The Velocity of Knowledge in Flight

“I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.― Mark Twain

Knowledge in flight – faster flight

As you focus on knowledge in flight, you see the power of accelerating the sharing of knowledge.  You also start to be able to see where knowledge has value and is moving.  Focusing on these movements pushes us to think about how we can accelerate the systems of the flow of knowledge into and through our organisation.  Savings of time, waste and rework arise when knowledge can move quickly to where it is most needed.
Nobody wants to accelerate the velocity of knowledge as speed for speed’s sake.  If anything one of the challenges of the digital age is we have to much quick data and information.  Instead, we need to accelerate the effective use of knowledge to create additional value across the organisation.  To do so, we will need to accelerate the sourcing, sharing and the practical application of knowledge.
How to accelerate sourcing, sharing and use of knowledge?
  • Map expertise and tacit knowledge: Tangible knowledge is increasingly searchable.  However too many talents are hidden inside people’s heads.  Do you know all the Postgraduate degrees that your team has?  What about their blogs, conferences, memberships and followers? Networks, skills and experience may not align with roles or responsibilities
  • Reward frequent flyers: Encourage people to share all of their expertise and to explain aloud the tacit knowledge to benefit others.  Track successful contributions back to source & give credit.  Celebrate people’s talents and reward their many contributions beyond their roles.  Build this practice into your organisational culture & systems.
  • Increase flight connections:  The better connected the networks of knowledge in your organisation and your organisation to others the more ways there are for knowledge to flow.  Work to network your centres of excellence, gurus, communities of practice internally and externally. If you use an enterprise social network or external social networks focus on building following and using @mentioning to add new connections and trace paths to knowledge.  Importantly this also incease the opportunities for serendipitous meetings to add value.
  • Build flight paths & schedules:  You travel faster on paths that are mapped in advance and where your path is managed for you.   If there are common requests or known experts, make those paths easier to navigate.  An operating rhythm of sharing allows everyone to plan and participate in a consistently level of the activity.  It may also mean getting slow moving traffic or lower value out of the high traffic routes.  Regular moderated Q&A sessions or knowledge cafes can be a great way to deliver this rhythm in an easy way.
  • Manage delays:  Some times a stop-over allows the overall journey to go faster.  Include time for thought, reflection, planning, documenting, feedback, learning, sharing, collaborating and addressing issues in execution.
  • Reroute flights: Avoid single points of failure for the flow of knowledge in your organisation.  Who else knows and could help if something goes wrong?  What other ways can people access this knowledge?  How do you share jams (leave, large projects, heavy workloads, etc) publicly to let people route around the issue themselves?
  • Cancel flights quickly:   Mark Twain’s quote above is amusing but it underlies a truth.  Organisations which have a culture that allows people to admit lack of knowledge, errors and doubt can move faster and far more effectively.

Data and information is flying around faster than ever.  Even so, we would all like to accelerate the flight of knowledge that can add value to our organisations.

What are you doing to accelerate your organisation’s knowledge in flight?

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