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.

Train-the-Trainer for KM Professionals

"Nancy Dixon has played a pivotal role in helping us to develop a new vision of the role of knowledge management in our global health care improvement work.  In 2011, she designed and led a “Health Care Improvement Knowledge Management Deep Dive” for us that brought together world class knowledge management experts and health care improvement leaders for a thoughtful conversation on what strategies and lessons from outside and inside health care can be brought to bear on managing knowledge for health care improvement. The meeting set us on a new course within our own project and was also extremely valuable to the other participants, who came from groups like USAID, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Johns Hopkins Center for Communications Programs, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente.  Since then, when I run into people who participated, they invariably bring up the Deep Dive and comment on what a seminal event it was for them." - Lani Marquez, Knowledge Management Director, Quality and Performance Institute, University Research Co., LLC (URC)

Speaking at KM conferences, I have noticed two categories of attendees. In one category are the familiar faces that have been implementing KM for years, they come looking for what is new – where is KM going?  The second category is newly appointed KMers who have just been given the task, often without much preparation  - they come wanting the basics.

Common Knowledge Associates offers in-house training for both groups.

Preparing KM Professional for the next level
We offer a one day seminar for experienced knowledge professionals who want to take KM to the next level. We show how KM can inform strategy and policy.

The quintessential example is GM.  Starting about 2000 GM put together a vibrant KM program. At one point GM had 138 best practice teams and 33 centers of expertise working with identified subject matter experts. The KM program produced over 5000 best practices that impacted both quality and schedule and led to millions in cost avoidance. In 2008 KM was alive and well at GM. In the summer of 2009 GM filed for bankruptcy. Why didn’t KM save General Motors? GM was brought down by a flawed strategy, but an organization’s strategy is clearly a product of the knowledge that exists within its walls. The knowledge existed within GM to develop a more competitive strategy. But between 2000 and 2008 knowledge management did not help GM bring that organizational knowledge together in a way that could have saved it from bankruptcy.

Knowledge Management has the capability to address an organization’s very difficult and complex issues. That knowledge does not reside in individuals nor even in the executive team – but the knowledge does exists in the collective. The knowledge management task is to bring together the collective knowledge of the organization to bear on complex issues. This seminar explores cases in which collective knowledge has been brought to bear on organizational issues.

KM Basics provides an understanding of KM from all three eras as described above, with special emphasis on the second area.  This three day workshop includes the proven KM processes of: Peer Assist, AARs, Knowledge Harvesting, constructing useful Lesson Learned, Communities of practices, and Developing Knowledge Assets. These processes are supported by a set of principles or “big ideas” that once internalized, allow the participants to tailor the basic processes and to invent new processes for their organization.

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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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