The Right Way to Brand Knowledge Management Initiatives

Lauren Trees's picture

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of sitting in on the first site visit for APQC’s current Collaborative Benchmarking study, Putting Knowledge in the Flow of Work for Real Results. The site visit featured representatives from a large, global organization talking about how their firm encourages employees to share knowledge and embeds collaboration in processes, workflows, and day-to-day operations.

One of the things that struck me about the organization’s strategy was the way each of its KM initiatives has its own clever branding. For example, a program that captures stories from employees is represented with a butterfly logo because it enables the cross-pollination of ideas and information. The organization also relies on fun activities to promote the transfer of knowledge. Many KM approaches involve employees forming teams and competing to generate innovations and solutions. The most unique aspect of the organization’s program is that it uses theater, asking employees to share knowledge by writing and performing skits about important issues.

While some of the organization’s approaches might be uniquely adapted to its culture, many more have broad appeal and align with what APQC has seen at other organizations. In our last study, Engagement and Participation for Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration, one of the findings was that best-practice organizations brand knowledge sharing approaches and tools creatively, using appealing language and activities to boost employee interest. I just published a new article, Brand Knowledge-Sharing Approaches and Tools Creatively, describing how ConocoPhillips, Baker Hughes, Fluor, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland use branding, contests, and games to generate excitement around KM. We also have an article from 2010 called Making KM Fun that touches on these issues.

How does your organization insert creativity and fun into KM? Let us know by commenting below.

6 Comments

MCyr's picture

Hi Lauren, Thanks for the stimulation, is the Brand Knowledge-Sharing Approaches and Tools Creatively available for everyone? Mike

Lauren Trees's picture

Mike,

The branding article I mentioned is part of our member-only content library. However, the other article I posted (Making KM Fun) is available to everyone, and the full research report on which the branding article is based is available for sale to nonmembers. You can download a free overview of the Engagement and Participation for Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration report here, or you can purchase a copy at this link.

Lauren Trees, KM Knowledge Specialist, APQC

Elsie's picture

Hi Lauren,
The knowledge management initiative and strategy you highlighted above supports what is called the codification or technology-centric approach which is explicit knowledge. This approach is called “people-to-documents” and is also “integrative” because the knowledge is documented and stored in a particular system and later retrieved by those who need it.

Elsie's picture

Good Day Lauren,

I like the idea of “Putting Knowledge in the Flow of Work for Real Results” and encouraging employees to share knowledge on daily basis operations. This will in turn benefit to the organization positively because the knowledge will be stored in a central repository and later used by those who need it. This is a conversion of tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is called personalization or process-centric approach and explicit being codification or technology-centric approach.

Elsie's picture

Hi Lauren,
I have learned that other organisations use incentives and rewards to motivate employees who participate in knowledge sharing. What do you think about this?
I think it is a good idea to use incentives and rewards to motivate employees who participate in knowledge sharing. Employees become excited and motivated when their hard work and effort is recognised. Employee recognition can be done in many ways such as:
• Incentives and rewards;
• Acknowledge employee for good work; and
• Award employee
I remember in the year 2007, my previous employer and the customer I was servicing awarded me for good customer service. It was quite a great achievement to receive two awards at the same time from different perspective and I was extremely proud of myself. Both awards came with incentives and rewards. I must say being recognised by the company and the customer motivated me a lot and kept me going.
Apart from getting an award, we use to have spread sheet that display the performance of each and every employee. The spread sheet showed the total number and percentage of calls resolved by the employee within the SLA (Service Level Agreement). Employees who performed at their utmost best were recognised.
All I am saying is that employee recognition plays a major role and it contributes positively to the organisation and the employees.

Elsie's picture

Good Day,

People with positive attitude share knowledge whilst the ones with negative attitude hardly share knowledge. (Callahan, n.d.:). It is possible that employees with negative attitude will not share knowledge hence it’s very much important that the organisation and employees maintain a positive attitude.
According to O’Dell & Hubert (2011:129-142) there are three main ways to guide the norms and behaviour of employees:
• “Lead by example;
• Brand aggressively; and
• Make KM fun”

Lead by example
“We have found that organisations with successful KM programs have leaders from the CEO to mid-level management that regularly reinforce the need to share and leverage knowledge at every opportunity”. (O’Dell & Hubert 2011:130-134). A company by the name of Fluor is seen as re-enforcing knowledge sharing culture very well. The executive at Fluor regularly “promote tools such as online portal and communicate the importance of knowledge sharing in speeches and reports”. (O’Dell & Hubert 2011:130-134).

Brand aggressively
Constant communication via e-mail, reports and meeting etc. (O’Dell & Hubert 2011:130-134).

Make KM fun
When fun is introduced in the working industry employees gets excited, innovative, creative and cooperative. (O’Dell & Hubert 2011:130-134).