seek > sense > share for cities

Two years ago, a number of members from UCLG (United Cities & Local Governments) participated in a personal knowledge mastery workshop. This was part of the organization’s search for “practical solutions to fulfill the citizen’s demand” acknowledging that “learning cannot be conducted alone but has to be part of partnerships”. One result was an initiative between Mozambique and Brazil that embraced my seek > sense > share framework in a unique way (PDF pp. 44 – 47).

“The methodology used throughout the project and the role of partners is described using Harold Jarche’s ‘Seek, Sense, Share’ learning framework as it seeks to facilitate the sharing of complex knowledge and foster a network built on trusted relationships.

Seek: Identify Partners, Cities, Technical and Political Leaders, and People
“The objective was to bring the actors together through triangular cooperation built around Brazilian cities’ experiences and expertise, European support and Mozambican leadership.”

Sense: Building Content and Results
“This methodology was an eye-opener for many mayors, who thus had a better understanding of the role and work of their technicians, which led to higher levels of trust.”

Share: Disseminate Results and Evaluate the Process
“Additional outreach included a blog to share the results and to connect to other stakeholders; a newsletter; radio interviews provided by Brazilian mayors; and strategic connections to other events and meetings in Brazil.”

On 13/14 October I will be attending the UCLG World Summit in Bogota, and presenting the keynote for the learning agenda. My topic is the importance of continuous learning. I am planning to focus on a few core ideas.

  • How cooperation enables knowledge to flow in networks.
  • The need to develop emergent practices to address complex problems by sharing implicit knowledge.
  • How knowledge management in networks is a combination of individuals practicing PKM, self-forming communities of practice, and organizations as curators.
  • How a triple operating system for organizations can help find new knowledge, develop competitive knowledge, and share lessons learned.

A key question to be discussed is why is this type of continuous learning important for member organizations of this ‘network of networks’. What should be done differently? In smart cities need smart citizens, I discussed this in further detail, concluding that a smart citizen is a connected one: to communities of practice, social networks, the physical community, and to society. Helping citizens engage intelligently is a role that cities can play. In addition to creating space, opportunities to develop skills and abilities should be supported. Cities should be encouraging citizens to seek new connections and knowledge, make sense of these in a disciplined manner, and share their knowledge. Smart cities need smart citizens, and those in leadership positions should set the example.

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