Using knowledge management to drive business results was a central topic at the recent quarterly meeting of federal agency knowledge professionals.Participants tour Fort Meade.
Photo Credit: NASA/Susan Snyder
Approximately 85 knowledge professionals representing 26 U.S. federal agencies attended the 26th Quarterly Federal Knowledge Management Community (FKMC) meeting held June 16 at Fort Meade Army base in Maryland. Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) and longtime FKMC member Bill Balko and Defense Media Activity (DMA) Knowledge Management Specialist Robert Hambly hosted the meeting. More than half of the participants attended in person and the rest joined virtually via web conferencing.
Driving Business Results
Business-driven Knowledge Management was the theme of the meeting. John Hovell, KM Expert and BAE Systems Organizational Development Lead, presented “Business Approach to KM: Case Study from BAE Systems.” Hovell’s presentation highlighted the importance of demonstrating an organization’s return on investment into KM through effective problem-solving and performing at less cost than the amount of revenue being generated through the KM function.
Hovell said knowledge management is “part of our culture and part of our DNA” at BAE Systems, where knowledge ambassadors throughout the organization are innovating, connecting, and sharing knowledge as a way of doing business.
He covered the four-step knowledge transfer process — also used by the Project Management Institute — that has helped the organization gain success:
- Develop knowledge transfer process (team-based knowledge retention).
- Create knowledge transfer plan (list of questions in Excel).
- Document and share (answers to knowledge transfer plan questions).
- Practice and innovate (actually do the work).
BAE Systems approaches challenges, not with answers, but with questions, according to Hovell. He said three standard questions are asked to facilitate knowledge flow within the organization:
- Who knows whom?
- Who knows what?
- Who does what?
Hovell said using those questions as the basis for working through challenges is the core of BAE’s KM strategy.
Meeting organizers modified the format for the June quarterly meeting to accommodate more speakers and shorter presentations, generally running about 15 minutes each. Highlights include:
- Defense Media Activity Director Ray Shepherd and Deputy Director Bernard Koelsch discussed KM and the flow of information in DOD. Shepherd said one of the major challenges is making the high volume of content — hundreds of videos and thousands of photos and articles produced every year for a single website — fast and easy to find. Koelsch noted that the knowledge community needs to increase emphasis on user experience and visualization of information.
- Stuart Timerman, Vice Director of the DISA Development and Business Center, said he thinks the biggest challenge the knowledge community faces is making it easy for people to remember where to get knowledge that’s been captured.
- NASA Goddard Space Flight Center CKO Ed Rogers presented on “Measuring Success of Knowledge Efforts at NASA.” Rogers encouraged KM professionals to listen carefully to what people are asking, and provide the means, tools and processes to help them find meaningful answers to questions.
- Jeff Varney, American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC) Advisory Services Director, provided a demonstration of the APQC MOSAIQ knowledge management tool, which provides companies and organizations a process-centric way to organize and share relevant knowledge, and connect metrics and knowledge content effectively.
- John Holloway, DOD CIO, Information Enterprise/MPE-IS Architecture and Engineering, presented an “Introduction of DODI 8220.a”and gave an overview of the DOD KM policy.
- Stan Ford, Joint Staff, Logistics Directorate, Knowledge Management Officer, provided a preview of the Department of Defense Joint KM Summit, a three-day forum to facilitate ongoing KM efforts, inform senior leaders, and build inventory of KM resources. The event is tentatively scheduled the second week in November.
Agency updates and tours of Fort Meade rounded out the day’s activities. Participants were provided with a tour of the DMA facility, which included a visit to multiple television studios where various DOD branches can easily and quickly broadcast updates and key messaging globally to troops and leadership. The tour group also met print and social media specialists in the facility who spoke about satisfying the changing communications needs of the military.
The next FKMC meeting is scheduled September 22. FKMC quarterly meetings provide practitioners an opportunity for networking and collaboration, and to share agency updates. FKMC has more than 230 members representing over 40 U.S. government agencies and is open to all federal employees. If you are responsible for your government agency’s knowledge management initiative and would like to learn more about joining the community, contact Susan Snyder, NASA CKO Office.
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