2 Replies Latest reply on Dec 19, 2012 10:47 AM by sbrown

    Capturing knowledge before it walks...


      )_I'm reaching out to see if anyone in this community has ideas on ways in which to effectively capture the tacit knowledge running around our SME's minds, and to do so before they retire. One thought I had was to create communities of "Brain Trusts", highlighting each Sr. member of the organization, using video, podcast, discussions and blogs. I'd welcome thoughts and suggestions!


      Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays all!


        • Re: Capturing knowledge before it walks...

          Hi Scot,


          Dennis Pearce saw your question and sent me a link to it because it's something we have discussed doing in our own organization. I'm looking forward to the responses you receive.


          My experience with capturing knowledge and using it was during my tenure as a Knowledge Manager at the Huntington, WV Corps of Engineers.  A student from Marshall University was working on a dissertation in the early 1980's about capturing knowledge and contacted the Corps to see if he could interview some of the retirees as part of their work.  He managed to capture about 50 audio tapes from 10 different engineers who had worked at the Corps during a really interesting time in it's history.  The student gave the Corp a copy of the tapes and transcriptions from the interviews which sat in a box in the basement "library" for about 20 years until I came across them. 


          My team had just deployed SharePoint, which I was an admin  for, and I thought it would be interesting to set up a site where people could listen to the tapes or read the transcriptions.  I found a picture for each retiree, created a bio and posted an electronic copy of the transcription and had the audio converted so they could be played from SP.  I worked with a couple of the other engineers to create a set of tags we thought people would be interested  in sorting information by.  The combination of pictures, bios, voice, tags, full text search and digital copy provided an easy way for people to view and discover the information.  Many of the locks and dams were built during the 1920's - 1970's, so the retirees gave some perspective to younger engineers as to why things were designed a certain way and any challenges they faced when designing and building.  It gave some great context and made it more "personal" because they could associate it to a face and voice.  The site was very, very successful and was a nice addition to the "drier" paper documents the Corps had for it's history.  The Corps also used the information I compiled any time they had an "anniversary" for one of their sites.


          I wasn't there for the original interviews, but I thought the interviewee did a great job of following a "script" that gathered good details and allowed the interviewees to offer additional information and insight.  From what I gathered, he contacted each person and sent them the script beforehand so they could collect their thoughts before the interview.  Many of the retirees were in their 90's.  It amazed me how much detail they could remember. 


          I think if we were able to do this in our organization now using Jive, I would do something similar with a script but also, if the "SME" has been an active person in our community, provide links to discussions, or any activity where we, they or other people think they provided useful information or "changed history."  I would also maybe provide some interviews from other people about how that person influenced them.  I think there is a lot you can do, but I think a key piece of it is putting some relevance to it for other people.


          I hope you keep us updated on your progress.  Happy Holidays!



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