Video Collection: Critical Knowledge Transfer

You are surrounded by knowledge in your AEC firm. If you reflect for a few minutes, you’ll likely agree that not all of that knowledge is equal. Some knowledge in your firm is commoditized and easily replaced when people leave the firm. Some knowledge is outdated, wrong, and/or irrelevant, not missed when experts retire. However, there is another category of knowledge which comprises unique, hard-won, experience-based knowledge, which is essential to the success of your firm today, and in the future. Knowledge Management professionals call this “Critical Knowledge.” Critical Knowledge is the high-hanging fruit in your firm, located deep in the brains of your wisest people.

From September of 2016 through April of 2017 Knowledge Architecture sponsored an eight-month research project into Critical Knowledge Transfer. Dorothy Leonard, Chief Advisor of the Leonard-Barton Group and Professor Emerita of the Harvard Business School, led four firms—Shepley Bulfinch, SMMA, Dewberry, and HGA—in this project.

Below you will find Knowledge Architecture’s Critical Knowledge Collection, a boxed-set if you will. This KA Connect talk collection shares the individual experiences of each participating firm, as well as a deeper dive by Dorothy Leonard into the theory and practice of Critical Knowledge Transfer.

By watching these talks we hope you will walk away with a well-rounded perspective of the complex challenge of transferring Critical Knowledge, various Critical Knowledge Transfer strategies, and inspiration to move forward more effectively with Critical Knowledge Transfer within your firm.

Enjoy!

Experiments in Critical Knowledge Transfer at Shepley Bulfinch

Jim Martin of Shepley Bulfinch at KA Connect 2017.

In the fall of 2016, Shepley Bulfinch embarked upon an initiative to identify pockets of scarce, important, and hard-to-replace knowledge within their practice. Jim Martin shared lessons learned from the discovery process, approaches for capturing critical knowledge, and tactics for disseminating it to others in the firm.

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Posted: October 18th, 2017 | Filed under: Insights | Tags: | Comments Off on Video Collection: Critical Knowledge Transfer

Enhancing Technical Learning with KM Strategies at BWBR

“We don’t have 20 years to develop a 20-year architect.”

BWBR, a Minneapolis-based design firm, faced a converging set of business challenges over the last few years, including:

  • the retirement of their long-serving technical director
  • an influx of new talent direct from the college classroom
  • an increase in the complexity of their projects
  • accelerated project schedules driven by client demand, industry competition, and technological disruption

Sound familiar?

Enter the Landmark Learning Series—a wildly successful, grassroots technical learning program—created by BWBR to help bring architects and designers with less than five years of experience up to speed on the fundamentals of designing and documenting buildings.

Dan Hottinger and Stefnee Trzpuc share their behind-the-scenes story of creating the Landmark Learning Series in their KA Connect 2017 talk, Teach Them How to Fish: Enhancing Technical Learning with KM Strategies.

If capturing and sharing technical knowledge is a top priority for your AEC firm, you won’t want to miss this talk.

Teach Them How to Fish: Enhancing Technical Learning with KM Strategies

Dan Hottinger and Stefnee Trzpuc of BWBR at KA Connect 2017.

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Posted: August 29th, 2017 | Filed under: Insights | Tags: | Comments Off on Enhancing Technical Learning with KM Strategies at BWBR

Featured Video: Knowledge Management 101

In his KA Connect 2016 talk, Christopher Parsons shares his vision for the future of Knowledge Management in the AEC industry, which is based on Knowledge Architecture’s client work with over 90 leading AEC firms and producing seven KA Connect conferences on AEC Knowledge Management.

Watch this video to learn what knowledge management is, why it matters, and strategies for managing knowledge and building knowledge management teams.

Smarter by Design: A Knowledge Management Manifesto for the AEC Industry

Christopher Parsons of Knowledge Architecture at KA Connect 2016.

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Posted: April 18th, 2017 | Filed under: General, Insights | Tags: | Comments Off on Featured Video: Knowledge Management 101

How Shepley Bulfinch Improved Knowledge Sharing through Measurement

AskFinch Defining Moment

The Defining Moment

In 2014, Mark Finneral, a director and technical architect at Shepley Bulfinch, logged over 177 questions and answers in an excel spreadsheet.

Mark was a magnet for questions because he is both technically savvy and a “nice guy.” Folks from both inside and outside the firm asked him very detailed, technical questions. While he was more than happy to answer the questions, he was starting to become concerned that the value he was providing to other project teams was coming at the expense of his utilization rate on his own projects. Perhaps even more concerning to Mark, was the the fact that only the people who asked him questions got value out of the face-to-face exchanges. (Well, Mark found the exchanges personally valuable as well.)

When the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) at Shepley Bulfinch learned about Mark’s spreadsheet, they realized they had a problem, which led them to ask the following questions:

  1. Is the quality of answers people are getting dependent on who they know and where they sit?
  2. Are we answering the same questions over and over?
  3. Are we learning from the experience of others?

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Posted: November 11th, 2016 | Filed under: Insights | Comments Off on How Shepley Bulfinch Improved Knowledge Sharing through Measurement

Drew Wiberg on Building Knowledge Strategies with Search Data

Trying to manage knowledge without a strategy is like trying to sit at a table without a chair. In this video from KA Connect 2016, Drew Wiberg will methodically walk you through how he used search data to build a knowledge strategy for Eppstein Uhen Architects.

Take notes as Drew outlines the four legs of his knowledge strategy:

  • Search: Improve the reach of search queries and control preferred results
  • Navigation: Use Navigational Queries to inform efficient intranet design
  • Content: Identify and fill gaps in the knowledge base with new content
  • Education: Make educated guesses on the training needs of your firm

Don’t end up like Ichabod Crane, without a seat at the table. (I know that doesn’t make sense to you now, but Drew will cover how his experience with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow relates to knowledge strategy in the first minute and a half of his talk.)

Building Knowledge Strategies with Search Data

Drew Wiberg of Eppstein Uhen Architects at KA Connect 2016.

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Posted: September 6th, 2016 | Filed under: Insights | Comments Off on Drew Wiberg on Building Knowledge Strategies with Search Data

3 Myths about Content Marketing in AEC Firms

We asked the panelists in the Trends in Web Communications Panel Discussion at KA Connect 2014 to describe the biggest myths about content marketing in AEC firms. Here’s what they had to say.

Myth #1: Content Marketing Generates Immediate Results

“The time it takes to get from committing yourself to offering original content and trying to make that content become meaningful and valuable to the time you’re going to see substantial business outcomes from it can be quite long.

Usually we tell clients it is a three-year window before you start to see the types of business outcomes that you really would like to get from a [content marketing] effort. You’re building something that’s long term and sustainable. I think that sometimes clients are looking for a quick win that’s somehow going to replace their trade show effort or something. They’re expecting that same kind of short-term marketing model, short-term outcome, and it’s just not really the way it works.”

Jason Mlicki, Rattleback

Myth #2: Content Must Be Perfect to Be Effective

“I would say another major myth is about quality [of content]. In certain industries, AEC, probably law firms, the myth is that it’s got to be perfect, excellent quality and you can’t release it until it is.

And then in other industries, consumer products and other things, it can just be anything. ‘Just throw some content out there! It’ll get shared! It’ll go viral! Yaaah!’

So the myth is on both ends of the spectrum, but it’s about the quality of the content. The nature of your industry is going to dictate whether your myth is on one end or the other, but the reality is somewhere in the middle.

It should be of good quality, obviously, excellent quality, but the reality is that it doesn’t have to be exactly probably what you’re thinking it needs to be.”

Bill Shander, Beehive Media

Myth #3: Content Marketing Is Primarily about Generating Leads

“I think it’s important that you don’t think of [content marketing] as sales. The more information you can give out to the community, the more you can share—that’s where the value is. You don’t want it to be too salesy.”

Jaron Rubenstein, Rubenstein Technology Group

“A couple of years ago, I put together a survey of firms that were marketing with content and the prerequisite was that they were actually using that model and were funding it and we were looking at outcomes.

The firm that was the most successful out of the entire audience was a firm whose core web objective was educating and informing. Their entire objective for their website was to educate and inform the clients they want to do business with.

The firms that were focused on generating leads (which in my mind is just the outcome and yield of quality content) had worse performance. It kind of comes down to your fundamental objective needs to be about this kind of open authenticity of, ‘We’re just trying to help.’

As long as you’re just trying to help, at some point, client activities start to happen. But the moment you start trying to accomplish some tangible business objective—you want leads, you want opportunities, you want revenue—the whole thing kind of just doesn’t work as well as it could.”

Jason Mlicki, Rattleback

Want to Learn More?

Watch individual talks from our panelists and the full panel discussion on the KA Connect website:

Posted: September 25th, 2014 | Filed under: Insights | Comments Off on 3 Myths about Content Marketing in AEC Firms

Get People Commenting the Old-Fashioned Way with Synthesis

Get People Commenting the Old-Fashioned Way with Synthesis

A simple intranet idea. Pass it on.

Posted: June 25th, 2014 | Filed under: Insights, Intranet Ideas, Synthesis | Comments Off on Get People Commenting the Old-Fashioned Way with Synthesis

Crowdsource Design Precedents with Synthesis

Crowdsource Design Precedents with Synthesis

A simple intranet idea. Pass it on.

Posted: May 27th, 2014 | Filed under: Insights, Intranet Ideas, Synthesis | Comments Off on Crowdsource Design Precedents with Synthesis

The Connected Practice

The Connected Practice

Knowledge Architecture believes that architecture and engineering practices who integrate research and development, thought leadership marketing, and knowledge management will sustain a competitive advantage over their more siloed competition.

These early adopters exploit emerging technology, such as social media, by leveraging their existing investments in analog processes, tools, and culture. They understand the value of seamlessly moving between digital and analog worlds, and they invest their financial and human resources accordingly.

The success of this all-of-the-above approach to knowledge and information management lies not simply in creating documents and organizing databases, but also in connecting people and ideas.

We believe the future belongs to these practices. We call them Connected Practices.

Posted: May 2nd, 2012 | Filed under: Insights | 1 Comment »

“Beyond Marketing” Social Media Webinar now on YouTube

The presentation starts at the 5:20 mark.

You can download the original PowerPoint file I used here.

Have fun!

Posted: April 9th, 2012 | Filed under: General, Insights | 2 Comments »