Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Not On The Train, April 6, 2005

(Knowledge Management Center)

We had to reorganize everyone’s schedule at home that morning all because I wanted to use the truck. The reason I was driving was because I had a Gala Dinner to go to that night.

I received an invitation to attend the 50 years Gala Dinner of the Persatuan Pustakawan Malaysia at Istana Hotel on Tuesday (April 5). I did not think much of the dinner because all the indications were saying that it would be just a normal dinner. I was in for a surprise. Yes, I know the possibility as our new Knowledge Management Center (KMC) had recently been assessed for the 2005 Library Excellent Awards but I was not convinced that we win anything. On personal note I actually did not mind not getting any award as at least I had had the chance to share my vision with the library community. However, if I considered what my colleagues had gone through to make the vision a reality I would fought tooth and nails to win. Just for my colleagues at the KMC. So, I was there at the dinner for ‘just in case’ as well.

It all started a couple of years ago when I started to talk about knowledge management. In most of my talks, and since I am part of the library community, I always emphasized and certainly believe that the library could be used or transformed to be more ‘knowledge centric’. To be a base for organization’s KM initiatives or programs. Only when I joined the Bank I had the opportunity to put my worth where my mouth is. So with my background and experience in KM I researched on the notion of space and the use of space for learning, and knowledge creation and sharing. I also knew without a proper process and first getting my colleagues to unlearn what they know about running a library it would be almost impossible to achieve what I had in mind. So I embarked on the initiatives firstly to explain what KM and what it means to a library. So we began to recreate ourselves and the way we do things by being more ‘knowledge centric’. Our work used to be collecting, processing and disseminating information but we never used what we know and the information that we processed as knowledge to our advantage. So ‘knowledge centric’ means making the information and knowledge work for us. We changed the way we handle our stakeholders by getting to know them better so as to provide improved services. We had the information on them all the while through various means just that they were left untapped within our systems and processes. With the knowledge of our stakeholder’s information behavior we rearranged the collection to make them more visible and easy to access. We give a proper meaning to all the statistics that we collected and we acted on them effectively. We started to share our experiences and continuously educate ourselves with new things. As soon as we are comfortable with the changes and new processes we began to think of the best way to transform the physical state of the place. This is where the concept of KM would really come in. We practically used the concept to recreate our layout and spaces within the library and get interior designers to translate our vision into reality. The final result is what we now called ‘knowledge spaces’. Space where our users could come to learn through various pedagogies, sharing knowledge with the help of the tools and environment and a space where knowledge accident could happen. In short an effective knowledge space for knowledge creation, use, reuse and sharing. This does not mean that the library collections and services are irrelevant. On the contrary they formed the core to our existence.

This is why I was at the Gala dinner and indeed when it was announced that I was to receive the award for KMC I was a bit surprise and of course glad. I walked carefully to the main stage to shake the hand of our Deputy PM first and then to receive the award from him. I was very please when I received it and the first thing that came to my mind was my colleagues at the KMC. They should have been here sharing the occasion. I am proud of them. The excellence award is called Anugerah Khas Transformasi Perpustakaan which an award for the excellent effort of transforming the ‘old’ library into a knowledge management center not just physically but a total mindshift. This is proven by our changing roles and responsibilities. If you want to know more of what I have written here please drop me an email and you can come for a visit. Now, I have the real thing to share rather than just talking about it.

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