E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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KM Insights – Capturing Knowledge

Yesterday Tom shared an interesting weblog post referencing another article from Jeff Oxenford on Capturing Knowledge. While Jeff has shared a follow-up weblog entry (Congrats on the success of your daughter and her friend, Jeff!), I thought I would just comment on a couple of lines that Tom mentioned and which, I think, reflect quite clearly the success of the story on capturing knowledge:

“One moral of the story for me is that kids can teach us a lot about knowledge. How they go about learning, attempting to capture knowledge, and their willingness – and actual passion – for sharing”

Indeed, you may think from those comments and Jeff’s weblog posts that one good way of inspiring and capturing knowledge is through the usage of stories, i.e. storytelling. It has been mentioned elsewhere, and quite extensively, by other experts on the subject, storytelling can be a very powerful means of capturing that knowledge that, in some other cases, may have quite a lot of reluctance from the people who may not be so sure about sharing what they know in the first place. Just the very nature of using storytelling as a way of sharing those knowledge nuggets can certainly inspire people to take the initiative and share their experiences. Much more interestingly, you will also notice how each time that people embark on sharing that piece of knowledge through a story, there are a couple of factors that will contribute into making capturing knowledge much more effective and successful (From Jeff’s second weblog post on the subject):

Enthusiasm and clear explanations – Most importantly they did a great job explaining the project to all who asked. Their excitement was obvious as well their understanding of the subject matter

Exactly, at the end of the day, it is all about your passion and your enthusiasm to share that piece of knowledge with others and perhaps storytelling will be one of the key successful factors to make it all work. And while there maybe plenty of options out there to help capture those stories I think that one of those tools / options that should not be ignored is weblogs. Yes, indeed, weblogs are very good at capturing those knowledge snippets that can then be shared with others, more than anything else because they already have got that enthusiasm and passion connotations by their authors, the webloggers themselves, and therefore they are a lot easier to share and harvest than whatever other repositories. So if you are thinking about building a Knowledge Management system make sure that somehow there is a way of capturing those stories / knowledge snippets and if you can implement a weblogging offering it may well be your best shot. Although I wouldn’t think that relying entirely on such system would be good enough. One thing would be capturing knowledge and the other would be Intellectual Capital harvesting and reuse, but weblogging would certainly be a very good first step into building up that ideal KM System around it.

Here is also another post on Jack’s weblog over at Knowledge Jolt with Jack dealing with the same subject and which I think fits in nicely as well: Capturing Passion, from which I would just take out the following ending quote:

“Letting people talk (or write) about the things they are excited about is a great way to communicate and share what they are doing. This also implies that people are passionate about what they have done.”

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