Knowledge Management

The exchange as well as the generation of knowledge within an organization; may be in the form of databases, best practice seminars, technology fairs, cross-functional teams, e-mails, and groupware.

Focus on the People Side of KM

"I had the experience of Nancy Dixon's first myth - "build it and they will come". I learned from Nancy that "knowledge is generated in the moment through human interaction". Her work clarified to me why the same person may not be so eager to provide information for a database, but jumps at a request to help someone who is pulling on his or her personal experience. Having been on this journey for a few years now, I am starting to view "collecting" as a bottomless pit relative to the more effective and more finite "connecting people" to generate the knowledge they need. I cannot thank Nancy enough for introducing us to her world. It is having a huge impact on our work." - M. Rashad Massoud, MD, MPH, FACP, Director, USAID Health Care Improvement Project, Senior Vice President, Quality & Performance Institute

At Common Knowledge Associates, conversation is our core technology. Because we work with organizations that deal with complex issues where much of the critical knowledge is tacit and hard to get at, we primarily use conversation based processes and techniques to leverage organizational knowledge. We design, teach, and facilitate processes that:

  • Create new knowledge,
  • Transfer existing knowledge, and
  • Produce actionable lessons learned

We help organizations build integrated knowledge transfer systems that include:

  • Clearly specifying the relationship between the strategic goals of the organization and the knowledge to be transferred
  • Characteristics of the target population
  • The type of knowledge involved
  • The intrinsic rewards of the target population
  • Appropriate outcome and process metrics for monitoring the transfer system
  • Processes for senior leadership to monitor and review the metrics
  • Roles and responsibilities of critical players

We treat knowledge transfer as a means to address specific organizational goals, and not as an end in itself.

Nancy Dixon says about herself, “I come at knowledge management from a learning perspective, rather than the more common technology perspective. Although I’m totally enamored with every new piece of technology that comes along, the value I bring to the field of knowledge management is an in-depth understanding of how individuals learn and change through conversation, how they come to know and recall, and how they use language to transfer knowledge. And having written three books on the topic and worked with hundreds of clients, I bring an understanding of how organizations create and retain their knowledge and how that knowledge gets shared and is reused."

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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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