Setting up and empowering communities of practice
Knowledge and skills of engineers working at KGHM are unique. The physical mining conditions they’re facing can not be found in any other place all over the world. What they’ve learned for many years of practice is not only vital for the company to operate and grow but also dispersed across mines, cities, countries, and continents. How to manage such a valuable resource?
Tacit knowledge is difficult to transfer to another person by writing it down or verbalizing. It constitutes 40% of corporate knowledge. The most challenging in tacit knowledge management is finding people with the right expertise and making their knowledge and advise more available for others. How to find real experts in a company that employs more than 30 000 people?
Network structure & culture
How to manage tacit knowledge and boost innovations KGHM has worked with Network Perspective. The company has built Network of Experts. The aim was to identify experts from different mines and departments with knowledge and skills that allow the company to transfer in intelligent mine: the mine fully automated and managed with sensors and robots.
Because intelligent mine is a very ambitious and long lasting transformation challenge, the company aimed to find specialists and domain experts hidden in every single area of the organization. It is important to keep the process running as people come and go from the company. Networks of Experts are very effective in that. Using snowball sampling method, and knowing only 20 experts at the beginning, the company was able to grow this number 15 times in only 21 days.
How did it happened? The sample group is said to grow like a rolling snowball. With Network Perspective software the first experts were asked to nominate experts through their social networks. In the next step, newly found experts were asked to nominate other experts. The process doesn’t end and people nominated the most frequently are usually the best experts. It’s effective way of finding experts hidden across the organization. Moreover, the Experts’ tacit knowledge was codified by displaying the teams Experts collaborate with. This fully automatic process produced simple but easy-to-understand picture of work and knowledge.
Vital for company transformation into intelligent mining was also setting up and empowering communities of practice. That was the way to connect domain Experts across the organization. Just sitting in one table, they were able to quickly find out which technological projects were duplicated and which actions were exclusive.
The effect? 20 domain Experts were known initially. With Network Perspective the company has found more than 300 experts from different mines in just 21 days. More than 1700 connections of cooperation and knowledge sharing have been mapped and barriers in knowledge sharing across mines have been localized.