Lately, I've been trying to explore the potential of storytelling in capturing and sharing tacit knowledge in the corporate settings. Stories have numerous advantages - they entertain, they are light, they stick in minds of people for a long time since they have an emotional aspect and moreover they are a creative act.
Being involved in the design of a behavioral skills workshop on corporate storytelling for knowledge management, I've been hunting around for interesting stories and games that I could use in the workshops. One game that I found hosted on one of the blogs seemed quite fascinating and relevant.
I ask the participants to think of a time when someone shared important knowledge with them that allowed them to do their jobs better. If they can't think of someone who shared with them, ask them to think of a time when they shared knowledge with someone to help the other person. Give them some examples -- like their favorite uncle who taught them how to ride a bike, like a project manager who gave them the reasons for a decision to the point that they understood why it had been taken, like the time they taught their child how to fry a sunny side up egg. I have found that when people get in touch with their own experiences of knowledge sharing, they begin to see the qualities that are needed to make KM happen. And if they say they are not storytellers, ask them to pretend they are 5 years old. They would all say they can tell a story at that age. Now if the group is large, or even if it is over 6, put them in small groups of 4 or 5 to tell their stories. Then ask the small groups to each talk about what they learned about sharing knowledge through the stories they just heard. Put time limits on the stories (2-3 minutes max) and have them process this for about 10 minutes after the stories are told. To make it easier on everyone, set some ground rules. (1) When someone is telling their story, everyone else listens until they are done; (2) assign a time keeper in each group who will signal when the teller has 30 seconds remaining; and (3) for those who can't think of a story, they will listen carefully to the stories told and allow their minds to remind them of their own story to tell. As facilitator or instructor, it is helpful to give time alerts at the approximate middle of the exercise and then at 1 minute remaining. Be prepared to tell your own story at the beginning to help them see how much can be said in 2-3 minutes. Be sure that you practice your story ahead of time so that it fits the objective and the time limit. I think you will be amazed at how much the group will understand about KS by the end of the exercise.
Madelyn Madelyn Blair, Ph.D.
Pelerei, Inc.Turning Vision into Reality
Would like to know if anyone else has used this game or anything similar in their organizations. Also, how can we measure the effectiveness of such an initiative?