Demonstrating the value of knowledge exchange

Imagine you are new in post and having access, literally at your fingertips, to the latest thinking and challenges faced in your work area. As well as (or instead of in many cases) traditional learning methods, you can take charge of building and improving your own knowledge and stay ahead of the field. Similarly, imagine you’ve been in post for years and having a trusted place to go where you can share your concerns and get support from peers who you value and can rely on.

A well facilitated, active and vibrant group on Knowledge Hub creates social and informal learning opportunities. Members say this “online collaboration tool” provides ways of working that progress the pace for developing knowledge. Through discussion forums, document sharing, collaborative wikis and other features, a group connects its members with each other and to relevant information, knowledge and expertise.

Groups provide a central location for many professions to come together and exchange what they know and learn from each other. The need for knowledge retention has fast become integral to how we work, as it’s essential to avoid specialist knowledge being created and lost.

Sharing knowledge and resources is second nature for many groups and the library and wiki is used to store all of the documentation and information for their work area. Groups offer a means to “capture everything we know” and the “useful and informative tools” available provide solutions without having to email or telephone lots of different contacts when you have a query.

The flexible group functionality provides a way to build a collection of resources and track all content, some of which may be quite old but still very useful to members both new and existing in post. The knowledge retained allows members to progress without “spending hours researching” because “a lot of answers are there, somewhere on Knowledge Hub”.

Building knowledge resources

Robert Johnson facilitates the Concessionary Travel (England) group, which is used as a self-help tool for their core 89 local authority stakeholders to dip in and out as they need to. “The ability to retain discussions, effectively as a frequently asked questions type resource is particularly useful.” While group members can discuss issues of pertinence to them at that time, they can also use the archived threads to “develop a stronger understanding of the policy area as a whole.”

Learning on the job

For members who are the only employee in their specific profession within their organisation, Knowledge Hub allows them to communicate, improve and innovate with others doing the same role. Rebecca Staddon, Taunton Deane Borough Council, joined the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) group to exchange views and gather knowledge on relevant subjects when she first became a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Officer. “What I like most about Knowledge Hub is being able to pick the brains of people who have had involvement in CIL for longer than I have and have greater knowledge and understanding of CIL. When I first became a CIL officer I found it useful to access this wealth of knowledge.”

Solving problems together

Geoplace UK facilitate a number of groups and Melissa Whittle lead facilitator of the GeoPlace Authority Contacts Group uses it daily as an “insightful tool”, which plays a fundamental part of her role. Melissa mostly values the “time saving qualities” the group brings to her and its 766 members. “Once a problem arises they can post it up and within a short time frame someone has the answer! This saves an awful lot of time and effort and the knowledge transfer is invaluable!” The Geoplace UK led groups have created collaborative connections with real outcomes, and this has given Melissa access to conversations she would not have come across. 

With thousands of knowledge exchanges being made every day helping to build better communities and improve our public services, it’s no wonder that Knowledge Hub has become an essential resource to help get the job done.

Don’t forget to join in #OurDay on Wednesday 26 November to celebrate the great work carried out by our unsung heroes of public service. Find out more in the OurDay group.

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