A place to share ideas, thoughts,
best practices, and questions about KM in
a government environment
GWU Graduate KM Program
January 12, 2010 at 3:21 pm #89024
Several of you have asked me off line for the name of and a link to the Knowledge Management program I completed in 2001.
It’s offered through George Washington University. It was originally crafted in the School of Engineering (where I took it), by Dr. Michael Stankowsky. At the time, Dr. Stankowsky was the Dean for the School of Engineering. I was a member of the first cohort. From what I can tell by the Web site, it appears that this discipline was successful enough to spawn a lot of good literature and justify the formation of its own school.
I recommend the program as a holistic approach to KM. It provides a good mix of change management, organization design, application of IT, and application of enterprise architecture. I have personally used materials from this program to implement KM programs in four different organizations, and believe it has contributed to my success wearing both CIO and Director titles.
Here is an overview image extracted from one of my old workbooks. It should give you an idea of the kinds of issues (and methodology) taught in this program. Dr. Stankowsky gets credit for creating the model. His students, however, get credit for applying it in the real world. I’m confident that this model has evolved a bit since I first implemented it nine years ago – though I still find it serves as a useful mental framework when evaluating a KM program’s maturity.
January 12, 2010 at 3:24 pm #89040
Do many schools have KM programs? Or is the GWU program pretty unique? I’ve never heard of one and it sounds great.
January 12, 2010 at 3:51 pm #89038
A good question, Steve. A simple Google on “Knowledge Management Certification” turned up 13,700,000 competing pages. I saw Phoenix U and Dominican U in the rankings.
I haven’t really kept pace with developments in the education community for the last nine years (been too busy in the school of hard knocks), but I can tell you that in 2001 when I completed this program, GWU was one of the few, if not, the only program that offered an accredited certification program. There were little programs sprouting up all over, but none that I could find that were actually accredited through a university.
The discipline really took off since then, so I imagine that explains the 13+ million competing Web pages. I bet other schools have good programs as well.
I will caution your readers that it is difficult to tell people that your went to grad school to study Knowledge Management. There is still so much controversy and competing ideas about what KM means, that I tend to avoid the conversation all together – else risk being drawn into yet another “KM means this” discussion, or worse – being quietly put into a mental box by other people as a technologist or something similar. This kind of “box stuffing” often limits the ground you’re allowed to cover until you prove that you’re competent in the full range of business competencies.
That said, I will also say that (as long as you don’t tell anyone what you’re training and background is) completing a holistic program like the one GWU offers does give you a “secret weapon” when engaging an organization. You will understand the relationships between strategy, goals, measurements, learning, culture, technology, communication and outcomes in a unique way. Your perspective always appears to be changing and adapting because you have such a broad picture to draw from. It’s helped me in the board room more times than I can count.
Finally, I believe I really started learning when I implemented my first KM program. I learned more from my second, more from my third, and so on. The most critical thing I got from GWU was the mental framework to organize everything.
January 12, 2010 at 6:35 pm #89036
DM & OP = Intellectual capital needed for decision making (DM) and intellectual capital needed for operations (OP). These are usually two different things.
After SMART goals are identified, I would ask some basic questions to help the team create a simple strategy for finding these intellectual assets. Again, I’ll illustrate with an extract from three more pages of my old workbook.
The first just identifies the assets needed in order to :
The second and third are follow on worksheets to help identify where these assets are in the organization:
Hope that answers the question. Good luck!
January 12, 2010 at 8:09 pm #89034
I personally agree. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the decision making process, how to improve it, and how to best support it. It is probably the thing that was most attractive to me about the Defense Business Transformation program.
The tools provided by statute (10USC2222) are deliberately designed and mandated by Congress to support the decision making process in the DoD. They are not just-add-water solutions, but when used together intelligently, they do provide a good framework from which to hang other important elements (like lessons learned) and ensure things like continuity (time and distance), consistency, coordination, etc.
Note: It took us a while to figure out how to apply these statutory tools in concert to support the decision making process. Now we are challenged to get the word out & get these tools into people’s hands & functional at the local level.
The human-based line of thinking you’re talking about can also lead to some interesting conclusions. At the end of the day, we may (as I often do) find that the intellectual assets we need for both DM and OP are found in unexpected places. In the most extreme examples, the lowest person in the hierarchy may well be a critical linking pin in your organization’s decision making system. Consider Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point.
To this day, I make it a point to round every floor of whatever agency I work for once per week. I visit cubes and offices, strike up some conversations, pop in on others, build trust (the secret sauce of success), cross-pollinate (it’s interesting to see how few sub-groups in any agency simply don’t talk with one another), distribute news, etc. I find amazing things on these rounds.
In a related thought, I think you might also enjoy the Burke-Litwin model. You can Google it for yourself, but I am also attaching a diagram below to illustrate another holistic way of looking at organization dynamics. It’s kind of “squishy” for some people, but it does a pretty good job, in my opinion, at showing the forces at work in an organization – important things to consider when implementing anything.
January 12, 2010 at 8:27 pm #89032
I can see that…Degrees in softer fields like my Master’s in Sociology really throw people off. Even though I feel mine was very useful. Easier to explain MBA or Finance degree
January 13, 2010 at 1:37 pm #89030
I am impressed with your outreach. You’re connection on this and many levels in several venues. Good to have you on the team.
I’m attaching one more, non IT decision making process diagram for your viewing pleasure. This diagram shows how the statutory tools of Transformation can work in concert to support the decision making process.
The underlying implication here is that our current decision making process has natural human limitations. When it comes to applying the hundreds of thousands of constraints (think IT design principles and standards), the complexity of our enterprise has out-paced a room full of decision maker’s ability to manage it using legacy (let’s do some staff work and then get together and chat) techniques.
We need to support our decision makers with both a repository of information and a set of disciplined staff processes that are designed to get accurate and complete information to the decision table at the point of decision making. Enjoy!
April 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm #89028
I’m also a graduate of the program and I use the lessons from the program everyday. KM matters! I hadn’t looked at the “integrative management” slide in a while, but it is still beneficial. Thanks.
April 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm #89026
Joe, Nice to meet a fellow alumni! I wonder if Mike is still using that model or has revised it. My experience with it has left me feeling as though the output box was a little weak. Specifically, I think we could do a better job measuring results in terms other than cost, schedule and performance.
Cost, schedule and performance have become a source of irritation for me over time. Any discussion with these measurements in the center usually results in placing too much emphasis on IT. Without a balance that includes outputs, out takes and outcomes, some people come away from the exercise mistakenly believing – if we could only get the IT product portion of the program fully deployed, that we’d have KM.
This leaves out vital components like policy, organization, training, codification & personalization strategies, changes that must occur with leadership, communications, coordinating mechanisms, operational systems (vs IT systems), resource management, mission, motivation, quality control, etc.
If I were to do it all over again with what I know now, I’d push to expand the measurements section of the model. It should cover more ground.
I tried to do this back in the 2001 time frame with the following “add on,” but I’d be more focused today.
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