Narrative Inquiry, oral history and knowledge sharing

Knowledge exists on a spectrum. At one end we have explicit knowledge which is easy to write down and access from written materials and towards the other end we have tacit knowledge which is highly subjective and difficult to access.

Storytelling and conversation is one of the more effective ways to surface and explore tacit knowledge. It is also a fantastic way to ensure that the shared knowledge sticks: stories which are vivid and meaningful are simply more likely to be remembered and acted upon.

Story sharing can also help organisations to retain their vibrancy, sharing stories of successes and help people to understand and frame their work as meaningful.

If you are interested in storytelling for knowledge sharing in organisations, join our webinar by Thaler Pekar, an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of organizational narrative, leadership storytelling, and persuasive communication.

Learn more and buy tickets here.

And if you want to learn more


This webinar is part of the series for Knowledge Network Online, the international knowledge sharing group for professional services KMers. Learn more and how to join us here.

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Serendipity, connection and coffee – an interview

My recent chat with Michael Soto about random virtual coffee connections.

Have you had any successes with virtual coffee connections? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below.

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Global support and community

In these difficult times I’ve been wondering how I can use my knowledge about knowledge sharing, conversation and community to help support my own community of Knowledge people.

I’ve already set up some random virtual coffees and if you want to join the second wave next month, let me know.

Now, thanks to a great idea from my colleague Katherine Thomas of Free Range Lawyers, I’m going to arrange some *planned* virtual coffees.

So, if you work in Information, Knowledge or Learning and want a bit of support from a peer who (mostly) doesn’t compete with you, drop me a line and I will do my best to pair you up with someone of a similar background/role from a different area of the world, so you can share experiences and support each other with no strings or fallout. No pressure on either party, just two friendly people who understand each others’ pressures, with less of the worry about spilling the wrong beans.

And of course a different geographical outlook might spark some new ideas too.

If you want to join in, email me (helenerussell@theknowledgebusiness.co.uk) or comment below with a few short details – 1) Info, Knowledge or Learning? 2) Country? 3) Sector? 4) Frontline or Senior Leader? – so I can pair similar people up.

And, most importantly, I need you all to share the heck out of this idea, so we have plenty of people from all over the world involved.

Free and no strings of course.

Stay home, stay well and make new virtual connections!

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KNUK online – a covid-19 update

I’m very excited that we have the lovely Alison Day online next week, talking about the knowledge sharing and learning frameworks they use in the NHS and how she influences leaders to improve decision-making with evidence and knowledge.

If you are an existing member of KNUK, you should already have heard from me with the details, but if you are one of those who comes along to the odd session or someone who’d like to come along but has always been too far away, or someone thinks this is the perfect time to join such a lovely community, read on

In the light of covid-19, for the time being, I’m combining all my KNUK in-person groups with the new online one and instead of 5x 2-hour in-person events, I’m going to be running 10x 1-hour online events instead.

I’m gradually contacting all those who were planning to speak at in-person events and hunting down some other people to speak, so the programme is “emerging”.

If you are already part of KNUK you should have had your invitation this morning and you don’t need to do anything more, just log in on 1st April at 12.30.

If you would like to join for the year, there is still time, drop me a line and I’ll invoice you (it’s £265 for one person for the year) and send you the log in details.

If you would like to book for individual sessions, you can find them on Eventbrite.

Any questions, drop me a line.

Hope to see you all there.

Stay home and stay well everyone!

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Tiny bit of help…

… to keep you connected in difficult times.

Strange to think that in my last newsletter in February I was sharing ideas for helping the elderly tackle loneliness by connecting more and how we could learn from this to improve networking inside businesses. And now I’m cancelling workshops and conferences and we’re all trying to avoid personal contact.



I guess the main thing to remember in these difficult times is that connection isn’t discouraged, just actual physical contact, and the fantastic thing about living now, is that there are many ways to connect with people using technology.

To help out anyone working virtually who wants a bit more connection, I’ll be running some more virtual coffee connections/RCTs (if you want to know what this is, have a look here). If you fancy joining in, email me and I’ll add you to the list, then I’ll do a random connection next Monday (23rd). It’s entirely free and no strings, just to help out the knowledge community. Previously I’ve done this for knowledge lawyers, but this time it will be for *anyone* on the list who wants a virtual coffee and chat with someone else.

And don’t forget although the in-person workshops are cancelled, all kinds of virtual stuff is still happening – the bookclub, the virtual KNUK and the online school – and there is likely to be more online soon (especially the virtual school at Teachable).

And all the in-person KNUK meetings will join up with the virtual group until the all-clear sounds. I’m just rearranging things at the moment.

Stay well, stay safe and stay connected.

*Update* I connected everyone who asked to join in on Monday 23rd March. If you fancy joining a second wave, perhaps around the end of April, let me know (comment below or email me).

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Working from home in difficult times

In these difficult times, a lot of people who don’t usually work from home will be having to give it a go or manage teams trying it out for the first time.

My colleague in the Law Consultancy Network, Katherine Thomas, has kindly released an ebook. She’s had it in the pipeline for a while, as agile working is a specialism of hers, but has put in the extra hours to get it to you now, when you really need it.

It’s available from her website directly, without any sign up.

Also, if anyone needs any help with implementing remote working, she’s making available some free 45 minute consultations. There are no strings, she just wants to help if she can (I can vouch for that, she’s a lovely person!). Get in touch with her here. Although she’s based in Australia, she’s making time available which suits most time zones.

And for my own customers, I’m working to add many of my workshops onto my online school. There’s just one there at the moment, but I’m working on them!

https://theknowledgebusiness.teachable.com/courses

Stay safe!

Quotation: However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. Stephen Hawking
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It’s what you learn ….

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Life after life

My bookclub (my fiction club, not my knowledge & learning club) is reading “Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson. If you don’t mind some spoilers, there is a great discussion on the BBC World Book Club here.

And last night I watched Groundhog Day, with Bill Murray (it’s on UK Netflix at the moment).

Why am I on about these two?

For me, it’s an incredibly seductive idea – to be able to relive days, having more time to experiment and learn, to be free from any negative results longer term and having the opportunity to change and adapt and grow.

In the real world, the best we can hope for is to learn from our mistakes (and only make new ones).

Bill Murray and the groundhog have had enough!

I can’t offer you an infinite number of lives, but I can ask if you need to include some post-action reviews and reflective learning projects as part of your KM strategy?

You can read more about AARs (After Action Reviews) here.

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Happy to chat benches

I’m always encouraging firms to build some serendipity into their networks.

It helps to widen knowledge sharing, build trust and improve cross-selling – happier, more knowledgeable workforce, better sales – what’s not to like?

I saw this article last year on BBC Wales all about “Happy to Chat” benches, which are being installed around the world in order to tackle loneliness.

It made me wonder if anyone had tried something similar to improve connections inside their organisation? Somewhere in a communal area like your in-house café perhaps, or outside your offices to connect with the wider community? If so, how’s it going?

What do you think? Could your staff strike up a conversation with a stranger?

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We can re-build it …

If you are a person of a certain age, you’ll remember the 6 million dollar man.

Goodness I loved that programme when I was a kid.

I found myself saying “We must rebuild it” the other day (meaning the whole of an organisation’s KM strategy) and suddenly this intro flashed into my mind.

Sometimes KM is like being those surgeons.

We need to rebuild our service and product delivery using our KM knowledge so that it is “better, stronger, faster”.

It’s not a single thing that needs to be done to improve things. It isn’t *just* a database or *just* an online learning platform. Our KM strategy needs a balance of projects to improve creativity and learning, collection and use/re-use of knowledge, and connections between people.

Just like the bionic man’s bionic eye may be great, but it is considerably better alongside his bionic arm and legs. The combination is better than the sum of the parts.

What programme from your childhood is like your KM strategy?

Kings and queens of use/reuse? Congratulations, you’re the Wombles!

Want more ridiculous but vaguely funny metaphors? Follow the blog (button at the top right) or sign up to the fortnightly/monthly-ish news or come along to a training event.

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