Client Successes

When Columbia's Largest Oil Company, Ecopetrol, Needs KM Right Now

Oscar Javier Guerra Perdomo, Leader of  Knowledge Management Corporate Program of Ecopetrol said, The work performed in this Technological Environment Forum on KM also helped to break down barriers and paradigms associated with knowledge transfer and collaborative work across the organization, from the skills and competencies of each of those involved, and in this way to meet the new challenges that the company was faced at the time.”

Ecopetrol is the largest company in Colombia. In 2007 they held a Technological Environment Forum to build a knowledge management strategy for the company through the work of more than 100 leaders of tactical and strategic levels.  The Forum contacted Common Knowledge Associates, and said, “We are having a meeting to develop a knowledge strategy. We have not had a knowledge strategy and we think we need one now as we get ready to be publicly traded on the stock market. Could you come to our three day meeting and help us figure out what makes an effective knowledge management strategy?”  

To obtain the diversity of thought they needed at the meeting, they invited representatives from fifteen MAKE (Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise) winners to speak on the first day of the meeting. Each of them spoke for only 15 minutes. After each presentation time was set aside for small group discussions – not Q&A - but pairs or trios talking together to make sense of what they had just heard.

The second day was devoted to a Knowledge Café (some times called the world cafe) where the Ecopetrol managers worked in small groups to incorporate what they had heard the first day. The Knowledge Café questions were, “What are the critical areas of knowledge that Ecopetrol needs to manage?” and “What KM processes should we focus on to manage that knowledge?”
Those had made presentations the day before also participated in the knowledge café, moving from table to table along with all the managers. After six rounds of the knowledge café, with managers listening to and building on the ideas of other managers from different parts of Ecopetrol, the group began to coalesce around twelve knowledge areas and had also developed ideas about what KM processes would be most useful.

The third day was Open Space where participants selected which of the twelve topic groups they wanted to join, based on their own expertise and interest. The goal of each group was to set up action plans for that critical knowledge area. By the end of the third day the Open Space groups had a plan to implement each of the initiatives they had agreed upon during the Knowledge Café discussions the day before.

Ecopetrol had a knowledge management strategy after three days of convening and conversation – one that 100 top managers were committed to. 

Four years later they had 25 Communities of Practice, had held 30 expert meetings to share practices and solve technical problems  and help 19 technological environment forums to generate new opportunities to enhance the business strategy of the company. And they has been nominated for  the MAKE award.

The Latest From Nancy's Blog

What Clients Say

"Nancy provides strategic insights to ConocoPhillips. Her ideas spawned our knowledge sharing program (still flourishing today). She was instrumental in getting our execs onboard: a company that connects and operates like a global company would drive business value..."

Dan Ranta
Director, Knowledge Sharing, ConocoPhillips

Read More Testimonials

"I am impressed by Nancy’s work on knowledge transfer and sensemaking. Her recent work on collective sense making, harnessing collective wisdom to handle organizational complexity, is ground breaking and fascinating..."

Eric Tsui, Professor, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and
VP Hong Kong Knowledge Management Society

Read More Testimonials

“I know that Nancy understands better than anyone the difference between mere talking and real communication. She is expert at helping groups of people speak listen authentically and intelligently as an important step toward shared understanding, effective problem solving, and innovative thinking..."

Don Cohen
Managing Editor, NASA ASK Magazine

Read More Testimonials

"HEMA Academie is the largest online academy in the Netherlands, we made the course "Common Knowledge Organizational Learning" because of an interview with Nancy. She is gifted with a special kind of energy and has the power to analyze complex problems as an enthusiastic team player..."

Drs. Helma van den Berg,
Head of production, HEMA Academie

Read More Testimonials

"Working with Nancy, I've seen first-hand the power of collective sensemaking. Bringing analytic tools to bear provided new insights into interdependent activities, overall system functioning, and leverage points. Collective sensemaking helps teams work smarter."

Mike Silver
SVP of Corporate Operations, HealthInsight

Read More Testimonials

"Nancy pulled off a great feat at the US Army KM conference. She got the whole room talking, all 200 of them! It broke the mold of presentation after presentation. The feedback was overwhelmingly, "Let's do more of this at the next conference."

COL Charles Burnett
Deputy Director, Center for Army Lessons Learned, Fort Leavenworth, KS

Read More Testimonials

"Her approach to collective sensemaking drives how we teach knowledge management, facilitate communities of practice, and coach highly effective teams of leaders. There is no better way to create competitive advantage in the 21st Century knowledge environment."

Mike Hower
Chief Learning Officer, Strategic Knowledge Solutions, Inc.

Read More Testimonials

Recent Client Successes

The US Army KM conference had a very traditional format, three or four speakers in a row, with a few minutes of Q&A then on to the next speaker. Working with the conference design committee, we introduced interaction opportunities spread throughout the conference that made a huge difference for participants...
Read More

Ecopetrol, the largest company in Colombia, held a Technological Environment Forum to build a knowledge management strategy for the company through the work of more than 100 leaders. The Forum contacted Nancy and asked her to come to help them understand effective knowledge management strategy...
Read More

Huawei had twice attempted to implement KM without having achieved the results that had hoped for. When Huawei contacted Nancy, they knew they wanted to focus on the human side of KM, drawing on what people were learning through their on-the-job experience and how to spread that knowledge...
Read More

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement is a leading innovator in health and health care improvement worldwide. I have had the pleasure of consulting to IHI, particularly in the area of “spread” for over 10 years. But until recently IHI has not had a knowledge management program or staff...
Read More

We were able to help save the knowledge developed in the canceled NASA Constellation project. Working with NASA’s Dave Lengyel, we brought together engineers from all 10 NASA centers to develop a knowledge capture strategy...
Read More