Build a knowledge sharing system and use it to level up your whole organization
Picture XVIII century Poland, the Age of Enlightenment. King Stanisław the Second, as a patron of the arts and learning, has a habit of organizing Thursday Lunches where artists, intellectuals, architects, politicians and statesmen share their learnings about matters of importance to the country and the world.
- Weekly or biweekly presentations by various team members about subjects of interest to them and the group.
- A team wiki or internal blog to hold recordings, slides and additional materials and make them available for future readers.
- Someone like you -- a facilitator to encourage & support presenters, crowdsource and suggest the right topics and make sure recordings are captured and published.
I have co-created or paticipated in four such systems and now I look for opportunities to help install it whenever I can.
- Understand which needs a system like this is likely or unlikely to serve.
- Sell the idea to your team and your organization's managers.
- Start small and iterate to improve quickly.
- Accumulate unexpectedly great results over time.
Then you will make it concrete:
- Select the first 3 candidates for presenters and outline how you can help them overcome resistance to presenting.
- Chose the most appropriate method to record the presentations & capture workshop materials.
- Set up a space where the presentation materials will accumulate over weeks and months.
You might have some concerns. That's quite natural. Here's a quick FAQ to address the most common ones:
Q: What if no one wants to present?
A: Be ready to deliver the first presentation yourself. Invite external speakers (which is a good option from time to time regardless). Slowly encourage people to take on the mantle themselves.
Q: Will it be worth the time?
A: Preparing a presentation does take some time and having a dozen or more people attend even for an hour can add up quickly. But consider the alternative: creative knowledge workers need high quality input to perform at their best and need great communication skills for our highly-complex work to flow smoothly. If you don't create opportunities for people to learn and shine they will find other places that do.
Q: Will it completely change everything?
A: It might! The key is being consistent with it over time.
If you have any questions about knowledge sharing systems and this workshop specifically or creative knowledge work more generally or if you'd like to share your story don't hesitate to email me!
Are you ready to join?