Innovative contribution to organisational knowledge management strategy: a team action learning initiative

The paradoxical requirements of knowledge sharing and information security bring various knowledge management (KM) issues that affect both individuals’ day-to-day work and the overall organisation’s performance. This was the basis of a case study tackled by a team from Loughborough University. The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is an organisation that combines knowledge and expertise from partnerships with academia, industry and the UK government, in order to deliver innovative low carbon solutions. Operating within a complex governance structure, the organisation works to meet the expectations of various stakeholders, comply with legal parameters of its membership model (to protect its unique knowledge and arising intellectual property), deliver innovative solutions many of which are of a competitive nature, and, disseminate this knowledge effectively and on time. Thus, the management of both, ‘knowledge sharing’ and ‘information security’, is an operational challenge for the ETI. The aim of the KM initiative was to (i) understand the current knowledge sharing and information security practices at the ETI and (ii) identify ways of improving knowledge sharing within and beyond the organisation. The KM initiative consisted of the development of an innovative and creative Action Learning (AL) approach through which ETI project teams combined their knowledge and experiences to identify their organisation’s current knowledge sharing and information security practices and collectively devised practical solutions. Thus, through the combined effort of its project teams, the ETI was able to learn effectively and efficiently as an organisation about its challenges and the subsequent changes required, incorporate these in its KM strategy and initiate relevant changes to improve its KM. In addition to the value and benefits it has brought for the ETI, this innovative initiative has made methodological, theoretical and practical contributions to and received excellent feedback from international KM and AL communities.