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Improving Organizational Learning In The Wildland Fire Community Learning Organizations and Knowledge Management.

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Presentation on theme: "Improving Organizational Learning In The Wildland Fire Community Learning Organizations and Knowledge Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 Improving Organizational Learning In The Wildland Fire Community Learning Organizations and Knowledge Management

2 Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center (LLC) Mission Objectives –Improve performance, safety, and efficiency –Improve organizational learning –Share knowledge –Promote organizational change

3 Learning Organizations A learning organization is skilled in creating, acquiring, interpreting, transferring, and retaining knowledge, and at purposefully modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.

4 Wildland Fire The LLC goal is to bring multiple agencies together as a learning organization Wildland Fire Learning Organization

5 A Litmus Test for Wildland Fire Does our organization: –Pursue a defined learning agenda? –Avoid repeated mistakes? –Capture critical knowledge before key people leave? –Act on what it knows? Is our organization open to discordant information?

6 The Basis of the Learning Organization Strategy Transfer Knowledge, not just information. Knowledge leads to better, safer decisions. Better-informed. Knowledgeable. Wiser decisions.

7 Knowledge Is The Capacity To Act Repositories of information (such as libraries) are necessary, but not sufficient. Repositories themselves do not have the capacity to act. Information becomes knowledge when it is learned well enough to be put into action.

8 Knowledge Leads to Safer Decisions Timely access to knowledge is key. Proactive knowledge transfer is another key.

9 Proactive Knowledge Transfer Requires networks of key people –Subject Matter Experts –Knowledge Activists –Opinion Leaders How does it get done? –The key people introduce specific practices that promote learning in the organization.

10 Communities of Practice Informal groups of people with similar work- related activities and interests Can belong to multiple agencies or reporting structures Community members transfer and retain knowledge naturally, organically

11 Communities of Practice, contd. Can be defined at many levels. Wildland Fire Examples (In order of Increasing specificity): –Incident management –Operations management –Air operations –Helibase operations

12 How Organizations Promote Learning 6 critical tasks * that successful learning organizations do: 1.Collecting intelligence 2.Benchmarking 3.Examine past experiences and learn from them 4.Experiment with new knowledge applications 5.Solve problems in a systematic way, through Communities of Practice (CoPs) 6.Transfer knowledge through multiple venues *Each task is a process, containing a sequence of steps. See Backup slides for details.

13 The Role of the LLC Providing an effective way to identify, preserve, and distribute the existing knowledge is an important step toward the Centers objectives.

14 The LLCs KMS Project Part 1. Begin by creating a Knowledge Management System prototype in a pilot area Part 2. Extend the pilot to other geographic areas and communities of practice

15 Knowledge Management System A successful Knowledge Management System (KMS) must focus on people and enabling technology– a hybrid approach. –Build Community of Practice (CoP) networks –Build infrastructure to facilitate knowledge collection and sharing

16 Part 1: KMS Pilot Project Focus is on an area with a high probability of success: –Rx Fire Community of Practice (CoP) –Working in hazardous fuels reduction –Benefiting the Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI) –In the Great Basin.

17 Components of a Successful KMS 1. Content Creation: What do we know? –Collecting the explicit and tacit knowledge that already exists in the community 2. Content Management: Who needs to know it, and how can we deliver it? –Using people and technology to facilitate knowledge transfer through all possible avenues documents, videos, formal & informal meetings, etc. 3. Success Measures: Have we made a difference? –Taking benchmark measurements and tracking continued progress

18 Creating the KMS 1. Content Creation. –Identify CoP leaders and Subject Matter Experts. –Apply content creation tools After Action Review (AAR) SME interviews, advice, & reviews CoP surveys Incident Report Analysis Data mining software AAR Rollups

19 Creating the KMS, contd. 2. Content Management. Develop the technology that supports the communities of practice and content creation

20 Creating the KMS, contd. How do you go from content creation to content management? –Knowledge maps Show how knowledge moves through the community Identify sources, barriers, gaps –Process maps Ideally, how should LLC fit into the flow? What can the technology support? Strike a balance

21 Creating the KMS, contd. 3. Success Measures Across agencies, observe changes in: – Consistency of Process Pre- and post-program surveys about consistency in applying practices. – A Better Safety Record In the long-term, a learning organization will develop best practices, leading to standardization and ultimately, a better safety record.

22 Beyond the pilot project Part 1, pilot project – first half of 2004 Part 2, expansion -- after 2004 –1 st step: Replicate in another geographic area (still Rx fire) –2 nd step: Replicate in another CoP –And beyond…

23 Summary A learning organization recognizes inherent knowledge and uses it to improve The LLC wants to help interagency wildland fire become a learning organization Effective knowledge management can help us reach that goal LLC is kicking off a new knowledge management project, focusing on both people and technology –Part 1, in 2004: Great Basin, Rx fuels reduction, WUI –Part 2: Expand to another area, another CoP



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