Building and Maintaining a Knowledge Transfer Toolkit

Keith February 23rd, 2011

Many large organisations have subject matter experts with a deep knowledge and understanding of business-critical information. This knowledge needs to be conveyed to a target audience in another area of the organisation, mostly comprised of staff with a lower level of technical expertise. In traditional organisational structures, content management, intranet, communications and training are often located in separate silos. Yet all of these areas provide tools that assist in knowledge transfer – the desired end result is an informed audience.

This splitting of functions can lead to inefficiency, duplication of effort, confused messages and errors. Other critical factors impacting effective knowledge transfer are maintenance of the currency and accuracy of content, as well as the problem of knowledge hoarding.

In this article, a strategy for building a complete knowledge transfer toolkit will be described. This toolkit includes a range of individual elements, comprising content management, communications, learning and multimedia elements, coordinated as a managed program. Approaches to maintaining the currency and accuracy of content, dealing with knowledge hoarding and the relevance of social media principles will also be addressed.

I have written here many times about the “toolkit” approach we used in my work at Telstra (2000-2008). This has been covered in a number of presentations that I have delivered, including at the 2010 CPA Congress. I wrote an article about it in 2009, and it was originally documented in a Case Study by Andrew Mitchell, also available on this site.

I have now published a more detailed article on the toolkit, chapter three in the book TIMAF Information Management Best Practices – Volume 1, issued in November 2010. The book can be ordered on the TIMAF site. A copy of my article is now available for free download from this site here.

This is the most complete description of the approach we used that has been published to date. (The team at Telstra is still using the same principles today.)

The TIMAF approach is to break the practice down into a number of steps. I have used – no, not ten, but eleven steps, as follows:

  1. Establish a knowledge transfer team
  2. Build a program management framework
  3. Start small; think big
  4. Deal with knowledge hoarding
  5. Provide a central knowledge library
  6. Develop content access methods and taxonomy
  7. Provide other tools
  8. Maintain content accuracy and currency
  9. Engage the audience as part of the maintenance process
  10. Use social media principles
  11. Review and refresh

Have a read, and see if this approach would work in your organisation. I value your feedback!

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