Innovation catalysts

Domino’s Pizza, a global quick-service restaurant company, understands that workers must be active and engaged in their own learning and development. As described in Introducing PKM to a Corporate Audience, Domino’s learned that “PKM makes learning a real-time activity within the flow of work” but also that “the company needs to clarify what people are allowed and expected to do in terms of learning during the workday.” In addition, information services, and IT security need to be consulted. The job of L&D is to familiarize busy professionals with new tools and realistic examples of how to use PKM at work.

Domino’s focused on helping people in leadership roles to develop PKM practices. This is a good approach as it improves the chances of spreading these habits throughout the enterprise. While the Seek > Sense > Share framework may be simple, it takes time and practice to become a habit. A pragmatic approach for some companies would be to support workers who are already practicing some aspect of PKM. Two identifiable groups are Connectors and Experts.

Connectors are people with many relationships who find it easy to talk to people. The challenge for the organization is to use these skills to improve knowledge-sharing. Connectors can be identified through observation, interviews, or social network analysis. To become knowledge catalysts, connectors need to have good curation skills. They have to know how to add value to knowledge and discern when, where, and with whom to share.

Experts have deep knowledge on a subject but many lack the skills to synthesize what they know in order to share it with a broader audience. It is critical that experts share their knowledge so the organization can make better decisions. This is a leadership responsibility that companies like Domino’s understand. Expertise in a closed room is of little use in a connected enterprise. Experts need to develop skills in working out loud and other sense-making practices. Connectors can help them but first there has to be something to share. Getting experts to share in a meaningful way can take time but first it requires a supportive environment and some basic skills.

If an organization wants to get meaningful results by adopting PKM practices, but does not see how this can be implemented throughout the organization, then an initial pilot should identify two groups: Connectors and Experts. Help these people improve their PKM skills. Get Connectors to add value and be more discerning. Get Experts to simplify in order to share. It will take time and practice but the benefits will be an organization that can use more of its knowledge to make better decisions. More Catalysts in the enterprise may also significantly improve innovation because innovation is inextricably linked to both networks and learning.

PKM innovation catalystRelated post: PKM Roles

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