Client Successes

Knowledge Management From the Ground Up with IHI

Molly Fubel, Director of Knowledge Systems, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) spoke about my work with IHI: "Nancy has been a great sounding board as our global nonprofit worked through ways to share and effectively use knowledge. While building our knowledge processes, if we struggled with an approach, she was able to remind us of the latest research on knowledge management and provide concrete examples of how others have dealt with similar issues."

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), an independent not-for-profit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 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. 

Like many organizations that recognize the need for making better use of their knowledge, IHI started by building a portal and implementing SharePoint. Molly Fubel, the KM Director, was given that task, but recognized that KM was much broader than the technology. She asked Common Knowledge Associates to conduct two assessments for her in order to gather information to show upper management the possibilities that could be put into place to truly leverage IHI’s knowledge.

The first task was to research what KM activities other non-profits  had put into place. I conducted a detailed study of 13 non-profits to determine:

  • Their staffing for KM
  • The KM strategy that informed their thinking
  • The KM activities in place for both internal and external stakeholders
  • Where they hoped to take KM in the future.

I found that, like IHI, many non-profits were just at the beginning of thinking about KM. I saw that even with minimal resources, some were effectively sharing knowledge.  I wrote a blog post about some of the findings of that study.   

The second task was an internal assessment of the knowledge sharing processes currently in place at IHI and what knowledge was needed but unavailable. One of the most interesting findings from the internal assessment was the recognition that as an organization with a well deserved reputation for   innovation, staff prided themselves in coming up with new ideas, an value that worked against the reuse of existing solutions.

The two reports taken together provided sufficient data for IHI management to make a decision about the resources to allocate to KM

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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

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"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

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“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

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"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

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"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

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"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

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"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.

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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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