human development, social justice and sustainable social systems
Participation in Sectoral Knowledge Networks (external knowledge flows)
Why is this important?
While internal knowledge management is focused on generating and sharing information and knowledge within an organisation (between employees), external knowledge flows focus on:
Exporting knowledge to stakeholders who are not directly included in the process of creating and managing organisational knowledge.
Importing knowledge from stakeholders who have knowledge which can inform and improve your organisational knowledge and practice.
Co-creating knowledge with other actors to improve sectoral knowledge and practice.
A key source of external knowledge flows are knowledge networks, which come in all shapes and sizes – from more informal structures such as mailing lists and open-membership forums to more formalised Communities of Practice (CoPs), working groups or member-based networks, such as Caritas Europa. In addition to the organisational benefits which arise from cooperation, knowledge sharing and critical engagement with others, organisations which empower staff to participate in knowledge networks actively demonstrate the value they place on an individual’s role as a knowledge actor in their own right (rather than value derived from their position in the hierarchy).
Desired Outcomes (linked to the Assessment Tool)
The organisation has a KM framework/strategy/improvement plan, which is:
Knowledge and experience are shared through participation in sectoral and thematic networks with a view to improve practice and better influence positive social change, (CIMS 2.8.2 and 4.5.1).
The organisation pro-actively seeks to reinforce its knowledge gaps by acquiring learning from outside the organisation (be it in or outside of the Caritas network).
The organisation applies learning from outside the organisation (be it in or outside of the Caritas network) and supports this in a structured and strategic way.
There is a process whereby the knowledge and learning acquired individually becomes organisational knowledge.
The organisation actively strives to share knowledge it considers important for other stakeholders.
Examples of actions/practices you can implement within your organisation and projects to participate in sectoral knowledge networks
Schedule ‘lunchtime talks’ where individuals relate knowledge gained from their participation in external networks to the work of your organisation.
Ensure staff regularly share information on the work of any external network, either through informal or formal mechanisms.
With colleagues, map the external knowledge networks where your organisation is represented and/or in which one your organisation could, or should be represented
Establish a shared workspace where colleagues can access knowledge and resources acquired through external collaboration.