How do you facilitate learning and knowledge sharing between organisations?

In order to facilitate learning and knowledge sharing, whether within or between organisations, the following principles apply: it should be driven by DEMAND; a conducive ENVIRONMENT is needed; people’s CAPACITIES may need to be developed; and appropriate TOOLS should be employed.

DEMAND: Learning and KS should respond to practical needs and concerns, and should not be based on assumptions. Assessing learning & KS needs not only helps identify key areas to focus attention, but can also build demand where there is little awareness of how KS can help. Understanding demand should be a continuous process.

ENVIRONMENT: The following elements can help to build a conducive environment for learning and sharing:

Promote the value of learning, and encourage it to be rewarded
Recognise that power relationships can present barriers to learning
Promote trust
Ensure continuity of organisational commitment to learning and KS
Encourage a common vision and collaborative culture
Provide leadership, particularly leading by example
CAPACITY: People need to have the time, resources and skills to learn and to share their knowledge. Learning is not something you do alone, so networking and partnerships are complementary elements.

TOOLS: An appropriate mix of tools should be developed and applied to enable learning and sharing (visual, word, etc). These might include face to face as well as online interaction, databases of lessons learned, communication technology including email, and other KM processes such as peer assist and after action review. Technology should be considered an enabling, not an essential element.

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