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Evaluating Information & Knowledge Services Using Narrative Techniques - a case study Nerida Hart Chair, Knowledge Management Division Special Libraries.

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Presentation on theme: "Evaluating Information & Knowledge Services Using Narrative Techniques - a case study Nerida Hart Chair, Knowledge Management Division Special Libraries."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evaluating Information & Knowledge Services Using Narrative Techniques - a case study Nerida Hart Chair, Knowledge Management Division Special Libraries Association Information Online 2009 Nerida Hart Chair, Knowledge Management Division Special Libraries Association Information Online 2009

2 Presentation Outline  What was this project all about?  Potential solutions  What are narrative techniques?  Knowledge & Information Services approach  How K&IS used narrative techniques  Limitation  Results  Conclusions  What was this project all about?  Potential solutions  What are narrative techniques?  Knowledge & Information Services approach  How K&IS used narrative techniques  Limitation  Results  Conclusions

3 Background 2005  managing a special library (knowledge service) with approximately 40,000 clients  5 agencies being serviced - FaCS, Centrelink, Child Support Agency, Social Security Appeals Tribunal, Indigenous Affairs  > 40 staff grouped into 5 service delivery sections 2005  managing a special library (knowledge service) with approximately 40,000 clients  5 agencies being serviced - FaCS, Centrelink, Child Support Agency, Social Security Appeals Tribunal, Indigenous Affairs  > 40 staff grouped into 5 service delivery sections

4 What was the problem we needed to solve?  We were due for the dreaded review !!!!  How did we prove our worth within our client groups?  Time to do this was limited and we didn’t want to boil the ocean but concentrate on our biggest value add service - “research services”  We were due for the dreaded review !!!!  How did we prove our worth within our client groups?  Time to do this was limited and we didn’t want to boil the ocean but concentrate on our biggest value add service - “research services”

5 How did we go about proving our worth…  Library statistics only measure input and output and we needed to show how we contributed to client outcomes  Need to cater for emergent benefits (the real benefits of the research service)  What were the real experiences of our clients  Need to encourage good practices and disrupt poor practices  Looking for ways of continuously improving products and services  Library statistics only measure input and output and we needed to show how we contributed to client outcomes  Need to cater for emergent benefits (the real benefits of the research service)  What were the real experiences of our clients  Need to encourage good practices and disrupt poor practices  Looking for ways of continuously improving products and services

6 Potential methodologies  Surveys - great for the number devoted managers who need ‘hard’ evidence  Focus groups - can be manipulated  Interviews - time was against us  Narrative - excellent - would give us ‘depth’ but which narrative technique to use  Surveys - great for the number devoted managers who need ‘hard’ evidence  Focus groups - can be manipulated  Interviews - time was against us  Narrative - excellent - would give us ‘depth’ but which narrative technique to use

7 Cynefin Complexity Framework

8 Why Anecdote Circles as a narrative technique?  Anecdote circles use anecdotes of personal experiences of workers to gain evidence of what is really happening in a complex organisation  They are more open-ended than focus groups and allow for the unexpected.  Focus groups are more concerned with opinions and judgements than anecdotes which are more concerned with personal experiences  Anecdotes reveal the values and behaviours of the staff – make sense of the organisation’s culture  Anecdotes link events in a meaningful way  Anecdote circles use anecdotes of personal experiences of workers to gain evidence of what is really happening in a complex organisation  They are more open-ended than focus groups and allow for the unexpected.  Focus groups are more concerned with opinions and judgements than anecdotes which are more concerned with personal experiences  Anecdotes reveal the values and behaviours of the staff – make sense of the organisation’s culture  Anecdotes link events in a meaningful way

9 Components of Narrative Approach using Anecdote Circles  Employing Narrative approach required dividing the work into 4 phases:  Preparation (1/2 day)  Discovery – Anecdote circles (90-120 minutes each)  Sensemaking (1 day)  Intervention Design – using complexity principles (i.e. action planning and implementation) (1/2 to 1 day)  Employing Narrative approach required dividing the work into 4 phases:  Preparation (1/2 day)  Discovery – Anecdote circles (90-120 minutes each)  Sensemaking (1 day)  Intervention Design – using complexity principles (i.e. action planning and implementation) (1/2 to 1 day)

10 Knowledge & Information Services Approach Project was part of project management certification for a staff member  Parallel survey – as a control group  Narrative – use of anecdotes  Full skills and knowledge transfer from our consultants Anecdote Pty Ltd (www.anecdote.com.au)www.anecdote.com.au Project was part of project management certification for a staff member  Parallel survey – as a control group  Narrative – use of anecdotes  Full skills and knowledge transfer from our consultants Anecdote Pty Ltd (www.anecdote.com.au)www.anecdote.com.au

11 Use of Narrative in K & IS  Preparation:  Identification of themes:  Client information seeking behaviour  Quality  Accuracy and authenticity  Client experiences with research staff  Preparation:  Identification of themes:  Client information seeking behaviour  Quality  Accuracy and authenticity  Client experiences with research staff

12 Discovery  Discovery – Anecdote circles  Four sessions including one regional session  28 participants in total (6-12 per session)  All sessions recorded and transcribed  Anecdotes extracted from the transcripts  All participants were not personally identified in the report  Discovery – Anecdote circles  Four sessions including one regional session  28 participants in total (6-12 per session)  All sessions recorded and transcribed  Anecdotes extracted from the transcripts  All participants were not personally identified in the report

13 Survey results vs Anecdotes “ We were thinking about FaCS policy priorities. The bibliography the library sent me, at very short notice, was concentrated on sources like the OECD and other government publications, because I think there was an acknowledgement that it we were going to try to introduce it to our Department we had to have sources that would be credible.”

14 Anecdote example : Depth of Information “When I got the material it was not really what (I wanted). In the end I didn’t use very much of what was suggested to me. Given that I didn’t go back and define more closely and try to work it through with the person… so it was a time factor more than anything else. I would have gone back. In the end it was easier for me to go the way I did go.”

15 Sensemaking  Sensemaking  One day workshop  Used an independent facilitator  Objectivity  Distancing ourselves from the results and emotional involvement  Enables future credibility  Identifying themes, behaviours and archetypes  Sensemaking  One day workshop  Used an independent facilitator  Objectivity  Distancing ourselves from the results and emotional involvement  Enables future credibility  Identifying themes, behaviours and archetypes

16 Interventions / Action Planning  Interventions  Marketing for greater awareness of our services  Follow up after research completed  Clarification of client research requirements  Revamping parts of our intranet site  Enhancing our role as an information and knowledge sharing catalyst (connectors)  Interventions  Marketing for greater awareness of our services  Follow up after research completed  Clarification of client research requirements  Revamping parts of our intranet site  Enhancing our role as an information and knowledge sharing catalyst (connectors)

17 Limitations  Geographic dispersal of the clients  Getting the numbers and timing right – availability of participants (Welfare to Work priorities of FaCS and Centrelink)  Christmas looming  Convincing our clients that this was important – benefits to both us and them  Geographic dispersal of the clients  Getting the numbers and timing right – availability of participants (Welfare to Work priorities of FaCS and Centrelink)  Christmas looming  Convincing our clients that this was important – benefits to both us and them

18 Conclusions  Benefits to K&IS and our clients:  Tangible evidence of K&IS contribution to core business through real examples of time saving, authenticity of information, contribution to the big picture goals of the client agencies  Skills and knowledge development of K&IS staff  Stronger relationships with K&IS clients and increase in return business  Improvements in our training methods for K&IS clients  Improvements in research processes which then benefits the client groups  Benefits to K&IS and our clients:  Tangible evidence of K&IS contribution to core business through real examples of time saving, authenticity of information, contribution to the big picture goals of the client agencies  Skills and knowledge development of K&IS staff  Stronger relationships with K&IS clients and increase in return business  Improvements in our training methods for K&IS clients  Improvements in research processes which then benefits the client groups

19 References  How to run this process www.rkrk.net.au www.rkrk.net.au  Anecdote Pty Ltd www.anecdote.com.au www.anecdote.com.au  Dave Snowden’s Cynefin Framework www.cognitive-edge.com www.cognitive-edge.com  How to run this process www.rkrk.net.au www.rkrk.net.au  Anecdote Pty Ltd www.anecdote.com.au www.anecdote.com.au  Dave Snowden’s Cynefin Framework www.cognitive-edge.com www.cognitive-edge.com

20 Questions and Comments Contact details: nerida.hart@lwa.gov.aunerida.hart@lwa.gov.au Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/neridahartwww.linkedin.com/in/neridahart Skype: Neridahartau


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