Huawei is the largest telecommunications equipment maker in the world, headquartered in Shenzhen, China with 120,000 employees around the world. It has had remarkable growth and successes. Huawei is touted as China’s most globally successful company.
Huawei had twice attempted to implement knowledge management without having achieved the results that had been hoped for. When Huawei contacted Common Knowledge Associates to talk about attempt number three, they knew they wanted to focus on the human side of KM, that is, how to draw on what people were learning through their on-the-job experience and how to spread that knowledge through conversational processes.
Common Knowledge Associates put together a team of top notch KM consultants that included myself Nancy Dixon, bringing expertise in tacit knowledge transfer, Nick Milton, who brought his BP experience and well tested KM processes; Trish Silber, who provided an in-depth understanding of complexity theory; Tom Young, a former BP KM consultant with great implementation experience; and Madelyn Blair, bringing expertise in Appreciative Inquiry and storytelling.
We started our work with Huawei in 2011 and spent several months learning about Huawei’s culture, how they were currently sharing knowledge, and what they wanted to achieve through knowledge management. Based on that understanding we:
At the AI Summit we heard many success stories of KM implementation across Huawei. Probably most important, we heard that the term “knowledge management” is taking on new meaning inside of Huawei. KM no longer stands for a repository rather KM has begun to be viewed as a way to improve processes and to make use of experience so that mistakes are not repeated.
Common Knowledge Associates continues to consult with Huawei in 2013 to assist in fully implementing knowledge management
The subtitle of Nancy’s blog is “Conversation Matters”, which I have not found a compelling slogan. Before she guided us through the Appreciative Inquire summit to develop our knowledge management strategy, I was still thinking of some more scientific way of managing collective knowledge by matrix, curves, formula and not surprisingly, a powerful software.
But after the two-day-workshop, I realized that conversation, face to face, with both telling and listening, is the essence of collective knowledge management. In just two days, my perception of some of my colleagues has been changed forever. I discovered that many colleagues, whom I did not know before, have done a surprisingly good job at knowledge management. All the knowledge management professionals felt our minds were opened, we now know much more about our status quo, our future steps, and knowledge management itself. We, added together, really have more power.
A workshop is not a production line in which materials are fed and products after processing are output. Many results are discovered through conversation, and grown along the conversation. Conversation among real people seems to me to be the only way to process the facts and ideas, and come up with useful deliveries - a task no magic formula can do so far. Conversation REALLY matters."
Liu Xuehui, Knowledge Management Engineer at Strategy Planning Department of Huawei Technologies.
The same recommendation in Chinese
研讨会不是生产线，输入一些原材料，加工之后输出一些产品，很多研讨的成果是在交流碰撞的过程当中才发现的，而且是在对话的过程当中持续发展 “生长”出来的，除了人和人之间的对话，任何现成的公式都不可能运算出这样的结果，对话真的管用。 刘雪晖，华为技术有限公司战略规划部知识管理工程师