Ensuring that innovation, best practice and learning are shared widely across an organisation is everyone’s business, but all too often this important knowledge gets lost in departmental silos and doesn’t reach the people who need it. To put it another way: people don’t know what they don’t know – sometimes across the whole organisation.
NHS librarians are ideally placed to bring knowledge management (KM) to the forefront. We have contact with colleagues across all levels and in all departments within the organisations we serve. By the very nature of our work, we usually know who’s interested in what, who’s got a high-impact project on the go, what research is being undertaken and who the go-to person is for any particular issue. More importantly, we have the skills to foster the connections required to get knowledge, learning and innovation to flow through our organisations. You could say that we are at the heart of organisational knowledge sharing – and if we aren’t, then we should be.
As one of the project groups in the first cohort of the Knowledge for Healthcare Leadership Programme, we were tasked with setting up “a knowledge management initiative for LKS staff to enable knowledge sharing to drive innovation at trust level”. Widening the brief somewhat, we have devised a model to enable NHS librarians to take KM forward within their organisations. From engagement to knowledge capture, from a suggested structure for an innovations database to the story of a successful KM initiative at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, the aim of our model is to inspire and encourage.
At the start of the project, we were all new to KM and were on a steep learning curve. We have all learnt a lot on the journey, trying out different KM tools and sharing our results along the way. We have realised that tackling KM is a worthwhile and even enjoyable activity, that it is possible, and not at all as complex or frightening as you might think. We have made new connections within our respective organisations, demonstrated the impact of KM activity and raised the profiles of our library and knowledge services. We hope the model will drive forward the mobilisation of knowledge, the sharing of success, innovation and best practice and the creation of meaningful connections for the benefit of the NHS as a whole.
Now it’s over to you! Please take a look at our KM Model and let us know what you think – we’d be delighted to have your feedback.
Kaye Bagshaw (Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison Day (Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) email@example.com
Tim Jacobs (The Christie NHS Foundation Trust) firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Johns (Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust) email@example.com
Carol McCormick (South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) firstname.lastname@example.org
Ayo Ogundipe (Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust) email@example.com
Samantha Unamboowe (Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust)firstname.lastname@example.org