Sunday, October 19, 2008

Share Fair: A perfect space for colleagues to share their KM activities

Knowledge Share Fair provides an excellent opportunity for development workers to share their KM related activities with each other. At IFAD we have had an overwhelming response. We've received 35 proposals and a lot of colleagues are really excited about show-casing their experiences and learning from their other colleagues.

We are very happy with the response. At first we were worried that not too many people would respond, so we started off by targeting colleagues who we knew had something to share. We then posted the call for proposal on our intranet and had an overwhelming response!

This just shows that people in the organization have grasped the fundamentals of KM and what they need is a space to share their learning and experience. We had a similar response, when in June 2008 we organized a KM open-house.

Where does this leave us? I was never convinced that to mainstream KM, you need an incentive system. What you need is to create a space for people to show-case and share their learning and for colleagues to have an enabling environment to systematically do so!!

I really would like to know what is preventing us to create this enabling environment and why is it that people have to wait for such occasions to come forward and why is it that they do not come forward spontaneously?


  1. Hi - do the examples you give show how its possible for an emergent group to give itself permission to organise an enabling environment. Open House days and Share Fairs are great at enabling others, but due to the necessarily limited duration and frequency of big events, can't by themselves sustain this environmental effect. Maybe the organisers of the Share Fair could let others know about how you gave yourselves permission to act; and share your vision for dozens of mini-fares and open houses spontaneously arising after the January event?

  2. Carl, Thanks for your comment.
    At IFAD the Vice-President is the KM champion, therefore, the theory that you need management support is absolutely paramount.

    The KM CoP came up with the idea of having an open-house, the VP gave his full support. He facilitated the whole process and as a result it was a success.

    The openhouse was followed by a debate, where the other members of senior management acknowledged that this was indeed a very useful event as they learnt about all sorts of KM activities which they did not know anything about. This shows that we all suffer from the syndrome "we do not know what we know"!

  3. i think that share fairs and other venues for sharing KS innovations have built-in incentives, helping people realize the value of their KS activities and how they can learn from their peers. Moreover i think these events are a great way to kick-start new converstations, initiatives and innovations. I just met for lunch with two colleagues who work as KS specialists on campus to brainstorm our contributions for the Share Fair. would you believe it's the first time we've ever gotten together to talk about these things?!