Interactive Facilitation

The cliché is, “The most interesting part of the meeting was the breaks.” Common Knowledge Associates designs meetings that are as interactive as the breaks!

Innovative Approaches to Change

Before Nancy 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-summit, 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. - Liu Xuehui, Knowledge Management Engineer at Strategy Planning Department of Huawei Technologies.

70% of all change efforts fail! That failure rate has been consistent for decades in spite of the availability of extensive research, books (thousands) and courses on managing change.  The long-held advice on change is to have strong leadership on board, a clear vision, enrollment, rewards, and training events designed to get the message across. Leaders seek “buy-in” to predetermined solutions.  It is a selling strategy with leaders in the role of salesmen and employees as the targets of the pitch. 
Our approach to change at Common Knowledge Associates  turns that around.   We draw on the wealth of interactive large group processes to structure change initiatives.  These include, Appreciative Inquiry, Future Search Conferences, Open Space Technology, World Café, Conference Model and Real Time Strategic change. 

The elements that all of these approaches have in common are:

  • The forums are a mixture of small and large group interactions. The small groups provide the opportunity to participate that often does not exist in large groups. Yet the large group is critical to contain the sense of the whole.
  • Widening the level of involvement to include, those who know (that do the work), those who care (who are impacted by the work), those who can (who hold the resources)
  • In these forums measures are taken to reduce the effects of hierarchy because such effects have an acknowledged tendency to limit dialogue.
  • The forums exist over an extended period of time, often several days, allowing individuals to build the trust and respect for each other that can accommodate challenge. 
  • The forums are forward looking, not rehearsing the past, but focused on the future.
  • Attention is given to bringing together diverse perspectives and interpretations often inviting in customers,  suppliers, and other stakeholder groups.  

New ideas become visible and old ideas are open to influence when groups of people are gathered in the same room.

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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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