Fall 2013
Issue Map
The Public Manager

Knowledge Management—Building Intellectual Capital

Sunday, September 15, 2013

From the changing role of public-private-academic partnerships to emerging technologies and the importance of capturing and transferring knowledge, all types of organizations face knowledge management issues.

This Forum brings together knowledge management (KM) experts from the public and private sectors and academia to deliver a wide spectrum of ideas on how KM can have a profound impact on creating a more effective workplace.

Edward J. Hoffman and Jon Boyle note that federal organizations face unprecedented challenges developing employee talent, complicated by the retirement of workers who possess knowledge gained through decades of experience. This article addresses how the culture at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration helps its technical workforce find and use the knowledge required to achieve mission success in a highly complex and unforgiving environment.

Bill Kaplan examines the workforce turnover and knowledge loss challenges faced by government organizations. He also introduces key concepts for the leadership and workforce in these organizations to use to mitigate the risk of knowledge loss and to develop a clear knowledge capture and retention strategy for their organization.

Jeff Biala's article explains that through the early 2000s, various crises catalyzed the formation of and experimentation in effective information exchange in various domains, such as health and law enforcement. Advances in health information technology allow seeding real-world experiments to see what works. Law enforcement has made advances through coordinating criminal intelligence and pursuing a common national framework for sharing information. The article compares the two domains and describes what we can learn from each.

Tessi Tzavaras Catsambas and Elisa Knebel examine the U.S. government-funded global Treat Tuberculosis program, which includes provisions to make research more cost-effective and addresses ways to reach all appropriate health researchers. The article describes how the KM and communications teams convinced research leaders to adopt an e-learning product that brought simplicity, clarity, and cost effectiveness, enabling an important complex message to be heard by more stakeholders.

Bill Brantley uses the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's revamped website to describe how to build a knowledge management system featuring gaming, document management, and project management tools to help employees collaborate and share knowledge more effectively.

Denise Bedford writes that academia and the public sector have had a strong partnership dating back to World War II. The federal government has provided funding to encourage important academic research, awarded scholarships to promising young scholars to embark on public sector careers, and invested in federal workers' intellectual capital growth. The financial climate of the past decade has limited continuing this supportive role, offering both challenges and opportunities. When viewed through a KM lens, this climate presents an opportunity for academia to give back to the public sector through collaborative projects, research, and learning.


My article is about the challenges of integrating a new generation of workers into a workplace comprising three generations of employees. The massive hiring of new air traffic controllers in the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration serves as a case study.

Marion Georgieff writes that after a brief analysis of the various federal KM authorities, readers may be surprised to find out that as the KM practitioner of their organization, they are standing on someone else's KM turf. After reading this brief analysis, that "someone else" may simply ask them to step aside.

Adrian Walker tells of a spreadsheet model used to make the case for certain fiscal policies was later found to contain errors. An emerging technology can help us use social networking to avoid such errors; it supports the writing of models in executable English web pages. When a model is run, there are English explanations of the results, showing step-by-step calculations and the supporting data. The explanations can serve as audit trails or plans.

Charles Engle addresses issues encountered during the last months before retiring, including attempts to transfer his tacit knowledge to co-workers.

From the changing role of public private academic partnerships to emerging technologies and the importance of capturing and transferring knowledge, this issue explores issues all types of organizations are facing today.

About the Author

Giora Hadar is knowledge manager of organizational effectiveness at the Federal Aviation Administration.

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