Collaboration – the new old buzz word

It’s a general source of frustration in the Knowledge Hub Team that whenever we go to a conference or event, we always hear at least one person say something like…

“We need to collaborate more.”

“Is there somewhere we can share all this?”

“Where can we work together on this after the event?”

We feel like broken records when we pipe up…

“Have you tried Knowledge Hub?”

Since early 2000 there has been an increasing demand for the public sector to collaborate. With falling investment in local and central government, staff have been constantly challenged to look for innovative ways to save money and become more efficient. Working digitally and collaborating online has been one of the ways, in which organisations can do this.

When people first started talking about digital collaboration, Knowledge Hub – then called Communities of Practice – was probably one of the only options available. Nowadays it feels as though there’s a new all singing, all dancing collaboration platform on offer every week. So, why is Knowledge Hub still at the centre of online collaboration after all this time? And why is it still as relevant as it ever has been – if not more so?

We understand collaboration

We know that genuine collaboration brings a whole range of benefits with it:

  • time and money saved through sharing tried and tested solutions;
  • up to date, relevant knowledge from experts in the field;
  • opportunities to develop and progress ideas and innovation;
  • good practice shared avoiding duplication of work;
  • reduction in carbon footprint through less travel to meetings;
  • relationships built that transcend geographical and organisational boundaries;
  • rapid induction of new staff and development of new skills.

We also know that these things usually emerge over time. Building a digital community that realises these benefits takes an investment of time and effort.

We understand communities

We’ve been running communities for since 1996. Our approach to collaboration is very much based on tried and tested communities of practice methodologies.

We know that communities are based around people and that sometimes, what people say they want to do – collaborate – is not always what they actually do.

With organisations across the public sector looking to embrace the digital workplace, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. The ‘not invented here’ syndrome is no longer an option – it’s just too expensive.

So, we have spent time trying to help community managers encourage collaboration. This is what makes Knowledge Hub different. We have done the groundwork, we have developed our support and technology based on user feedback, enabling all sorts of organisations and people to collaborate, share and learn from each other.

We understand what it takes to make collaborative communities a success

According to Gartner, only around 30% of private online communities succeed. Quite often this is because of a lack of clarity in purpose and members not understanding what’s in it for them. In Knowledge Hub’s case this figure increases to around 70%. This is in large part due to the huge amount of support the Knowledge Hub offers its members.

We believe that to be successful, an online community requires clear purpose, great planning, good leaders, compelling content, lively discussions, regular evaluation and relationships built on trust.

We see this happening everyday in Knowledge Hub, which is how we know public sector collaboration is alive and kicking.

But, don’t just take our word for it. 

"Knowledge Hub is about connecting and sharing in order to improve our knowledge and help us in our day to day work. It's improved our communications 100% and improved our relationships with our community." - Melissa Whittle, GeoPlace LLP.

"Sharing what we are doing has improved and increased our knowledge base, providing us with a way to tap into knowledge and access relevant documents as soon as they become available." - Rob Nowak, West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service.

So, next time someone asks, “Where can we collaborate on this?” You can all be ready with the answer!