Large international non-governmental organizations face extra challenges in knowledge sharing and organizational learning.
- They pursue important goals that are simultaneously urgent and elusive, such as maintaining peace and security in conflict zones; alleviating poverty, hunger and disease; or building sustainable economic and political structures in transitional or post-conflict societies.
- NGOs often operate in harsh or hostile environments and with constrained resources, ad-hoc multicultural teams and complex interdependencies between actors and agencies.
- The largest of these organizations achieve economies of scale by operating globally in diverse locations.
- NGOs typically enjoy exceptionally committed employees, leading to strong informal networks, but internal and external dynamics can create highly bureaucratic organizational structures that discourage use of formal knowledge-sharing systems.
- Above all, NGOs constantly need to demonstrate results based on intangible outcomes.
I will be leading a workshop at KMWorld 2010 called KM Platforms and Programs in International NGOs on Monday, November 15 from 1:30-4:30pm at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, DC. My colleagues and I will bring lessons learned from three prominent organizations: the Open Society Institute, Oxfam Great Britain and UN Peacekeeping.
We are inviting other NGOs to bring their experiences to share in an interactive, facilitated session and collaborate on shared sense-making and knowledge creation about effective knowledge and learning strategies optimized for their activities.