By Tracy L. Sharpe, Public Affairs Specialist, DISA Public Affairs
Information is everywhere. But if it isn’t shared, found or presented in the right manner, it’s worthless.
“You may be presenting information all the time, but the deluge might not be working. [You must] help the information be easier to find, ” said Stuart Timerman, vice director of the Development and Business Center at the Defense Information Systems Agency.
Timerman was a speaker at the 26th Quarterly Federal Knowledge Management Community meeting held June 16 at the Defense Media Activity.
Nearly 50 people attended in person and more than 35 attended online.
The all-day quarterly event has been hosted online and in person at various federal agencies in the Washington, D.C., area for almost seven years.
More than one-third of the in-person attendees participated in the Federal Knowledge Management Community meeting for the first time, significantly adding to the diversity of the community, said Glenora Keeve, a Knowledge Management specialist at DISA and a key organizer of the meeting.
The Federal Knowledge Management Community defines knowledge management as the process of capturing, developing, sharing and effectively using organizational knowledge.
More than 26 agencies sent representatives to participate, including the National Security Agency, U.S. Cyber Command, the Asymmetric Warfare Group, and members of several Army units. Several federal agencies were also represented including the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service.
Participants joined this event in order to improve the collaboration and information sharing for their organizations. Attendees noted that successful knowledge management results in faster decision making, higher employee satisfaction, improved customer service and smoother mission accomplishment.
The community participates in these all-day sessions quarterly and shares information online via the All Partners Access Network. The organization is open to all federal employees and DoD personnel.
One of the hosts, Dr. Robert Hambly, the Knowledge Management specialist for DMA, expressed the most prevalent thought of the day.
“Knowledge management should not be an ‘add on’ or ‘bolt on.’ It’s a discipline that needs to be incorporated in how we do business,” he said.
DMA Director Ray Shepherd expressed pride in his organization’s ability to successfully share knowledge in the form of news articles, images and videos.
Those products are not only for DoD personnel consumption, but also for media requests that share that information worldwide. He reported that in 2016, DMA produced more than 8,000 photos, 1,700 print articles, 900 videos and 300 graphics, and they manage more than 750 DOD websites.
Timerman focused on providing information in a manner most easily found and consumed by those who need it.
“We need to talk to consumers to ensure we give them information and let them know how to retrieve it so they can be more productive,” he said.
Dr. Ed Rogers, chief Knowledge officer of NASA Goddard, also discussed how to better acquire customer needs for any project. He instructed the audience to listen as the first step of knowledge management.
“Listen first to what they are in need of and address the needs,” he said. “Listening and interpreting are what we need for success in our mission.”
Turo Dexter, a Knowledge Management officer at the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transit Administration, credits the federal Knowledge Management Community group with helping drive more effective knowledge management in the federal sector.
“A significant part of our role is to help agencies initiate more formal knowledge management support when they don’t know where to start,” Dexter said.
John Holloway, Knowledge Management lead for the DoD chief information officer, explained the soon-to-be published DoD instruction 8220.a, a DoD policy directive that establishes an organizational definition of Knowledge Management and assigns responsibilities.
Holloway said that successful knowledge management “connects those who know to those who need to know.”
Joe Koseky participated online.
“This has been fantastic … as usual,” he said. “KM is a contact sport, and I’ve got a bucket-full of new contacts to explore.”
Several in-person and online attendees explained research they completed within their organizations to improve knowledge management, developments of working groups and collaborative efforts across the DoD and federal community to improve knowledge management.
Since its inception in 2010, the Federal Knowledge Management Community has worked to develop Knowledge Management best practices for the federal government.
Stan Ford, Knowledge Management officer of the Joint Staff Logistics Directorate, encouraged all DoD personnel interested in enacting change in Knowledge Management to participate in the upcoming DoD Knowledge Management Summit, which will be held in the late autumn.
Details will be released on the APAN Federal Knowledge Management Community page at apan.org.