The previous post was about KM should be doing now, at the start of this COVID-19 Apocalypse, this post is how they can help the organisation prepare for life after Coronavirus.
How long is this going to last? No one really knows at this point estimates are anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Some analysts suggest that we will have periods of tighter controls and looser controls, but first we need to “bend the curve” and stop this exponential growth. Even when a vaccine is developed, testing and then manufacture is going to take many months.
How can KM help moving forward?
In part this depends on whether the organisation sees KM as a “keeper of historic records and events”, i.e. more on the document/information management, lessons learned side of things, or whether they are seen as key enablers of collaboration, sharing, learning, creating new knowledge. Hopefully it’s the latter not the former.
What we know is that there is going to be uncertainty for a while, and we’re not sure what things will look like once we’re on the other side of this. How do we prepare for that?
By being adaptable and self-aware.
These things are ultimately up to the individual, not the organisation, and yet, the organisation can help. In particular HR, KM, and managers all have a role to play in encouraging employees to learn these skills and to become/be self-aware.
Give employees the opportunity to learn, to try things out, to reflect, to ask questions. Wait, that sounds like knowledge management! It also sounds like quality management (plan-do-check-act), trial and error, being agile, and several other modes of learning/being.
Mostly it sounds like encouraging creativity. And what group are known for their creativity?
So, what can we learn from artists? (Learning from other disciplines, that sounds like KM, too.)
First artists have an artistic attitude, they are curious, passionate, confident, and resilient. And then they refine and hone these skills through their artistic practice: perceiving, reflecting, playing, and performing.
Pausing for a second, we were all once creative, but our creativity was educated out of us:
On psychological tests of creativity:
Only 5 percent of people 18 and older registered in the “creative” range?
Among 17 year-olds, 10 percent scored “creative.”
But among 5 year olds, more than 90 percent demonstrated the creativity to suggest innovative ways of looking at situations and the ability to dream up new ideas. Source:
So, we were all artists/creative at one time and we’ve unlearned it. What do we do about it?
We develop an art/creativity practice. Except, we are doing it for another reason, we are doing it to re-learn something we lost. We are re-learning so that we become whole again, so that we can apply it in other areas of our life, because it’s been missing. We are doing it to help us be more successful in our careers, to bring us more balance and satisfaction. We are doing it to be more sustainable.
Back to the original question: How can the KM program help?
One of the motivations for doing KM has been about knowledge creation, some organisations have focused on that as a primary reason for their KM or a secondary reason for KM.
Knowledge creation takes space, it takes questioning, it takes trial and error, as well as collaboration and all those other Artistic Attitudes and Practices that were mentioned above.
To give people a sense of that, of what it feels like, what works and what doesn’t in a safe, supported atmosphere is key. So, in this case, we do, in fact, use art/creativity as a metaphor, as a means to an end.
How does it feel to experiment with different art supplies, or different creative modalities, e.g. poetry, music, to name two, although there are lots more? When people have these kinds of experiences, in a safe supportive atmosphere, it gives them confidence and resilience that transfers to other areas of their lives.
KM Programs should be working with HR to facilitate this experience and the building of these skills and abilities. There are benefits to the organisation as well as the individual–it’s a Win-Win.
But, it’s not a straight-line, the accountants will hate it, however, it is necessary if we are going to come out the other side of this and be able to move forward with whatever the future holds for us as organisations and individuals.
Note: If you want to see/read more about what is possible by adopting an artistic attitude and practice, read, “Creative Company” by Dirk Dobiéy and Thomas Köplin. You can find more info and get a copy, here.