A topic which recently gained some importance in the business sector is a solid knowledge management. Even though aware, there are still a lot of companies and organizations which rely on a no-knowledge-management policy. Well, it might consume a lot of time and money in the beginning but especially with the decreasing duration of employers staying in the same office it becomes more and more important. If it is important in the business sector, what about the development area?
I think it is similar if not even more important there. Let us take for example a conglomerate of environment-protecting organizations from different countries. These organizations decide to set-up a co-operative platform where they upload their activities and the outcome. Maybe also the laws and policies in their specific countries to make it easier for the other organizations to understand the context. How could they help each other?
Advocacy is an important point. Maybe the people in country A have really good lawyers and political analysts and can help the people in country B – even though they have different laws – to implement a certain project because they did something similar in the past themselves. Victories and failures could be shared in order to prevent each other from making the same mistake twice (because the who makes a mistake is not stupid but the who makes it twice is). At the same time best practices (national/ international) can be developed and distributed.
At this point, information gains a lot value. At this point most projects might stop. Information and communication is facilitated by an online platform and from time to time these people meet to discuss issues which are difficult to discuss via Internet.
Why stop there? Why not further educate the people? E-exclusion can be fought with mobile phone network solutions or the establishment of Internet café’s (or bother for that matter) and media competency has to be advocated and educated so that these information are not useless because of the lack of knowledge to apply them. Then everything people need is time to gather and analyze information in order to create their own knowledge or to apply the existing knowledge to their knowledge. May be these people are the next starting a campaign or raising funds in order to fight the pollution of their local river?
So why not share knowledge? Wikipedia does a good job in sharing knowledge and information. The Internet in general does a good job in sharing knowledge and information. Thus, why do I argue? Because only that knowledge is shared which has already been created from the information available. Only because I work for an environment NGO and know how to read governments’ figures and what to do with them does not help any one. My knowledge (the product of information mediated with my analytical mind) has to be made available first. The agenda would look like the following:
1. Gathering and writing down existing knowledge in an institution/ one’s mind
2. Co-operate with others to improve the knowledge (your own and the later published)
3. Educate people how to use information and create their own knowledge
4. Publish your knowledge
5. Hope that people take your knowledge as information and mediate it to enhance their own knowledge
Money is power. Knowledge is power. If you share money, you have less. If you share knowledge, you still have the same amount of knowledge (even though, and here I have to be honest, the value of the knowledge might decrease because the amount of people having this knowledge is higher)