the link

the link: getting you connected

Archive for the ‘collaboration’ Category

Pugh & Prusak’s 8 Design Dimensions and the RELACSIS Network

leave a comment »

A Framework for Knowledge Network Effectiveness

A Framework for Knowledge Network Effectiveness by Katrina Pugh and Larry Prusak

Designing Effective Knowledge Networks by Katrina Pugh and Larry Prusak is both relevant and timely for me and the work I am doing with public health-related knowledge networks. (Pugh, K., Prusak, L. Designing effective knowledge networks. MIT Sloan management review 55.1 2013: 79-88. MIT Press. 18 Dec 2013.) I work to build and nurture sustainable knowledge networks and communities of practice that are focused on strengthening health systems in various regions and countries. Over the past five years of working with these groups, I am drawn to how planning and design facilitate desired behaviors and outcomes. While plans serve as a blueprint for constructing a knowledge network, these eight design dimensions by Pugh and Prusak inform its architecture:

The Eight Design Dimensions of Knowledge Networks

  1. Leaders’ shared theory of change
  2. Objectives/outcomes/purpose
  3. Role of expertise and experimental learning (a.k.a. “the expert-learner duality”)
  4. Inclusion and participation
  5. Operating model
  6. Convening structures and infrastructures
  7. Facilitation and social norm development
  8. Measurement, feedback and incentives

I choose to examine RELACSIS, a network that joins health information system professionals based in Latin American and Caribbean countries. The purpose of RELACSIS is to “generate a mechanism to articulate the regional efforts that contribute to the improvement of the HIS among the participants in the Network.” While members share their health system strengthening efforts via discussion boards and annual meetings, knowledge sharing activities and collaboratively developed products, such as guidelines and courses, are key outputs. After understanding practices that strengthen the health system, the network mobilizes human and financial resources to member countries to fill knowledge gaps. According to Pugh and Prusak’s types of knowledge network goals, RELACSIS works towards coordination.

According to Pugh and Prusak, a goal with a coordination outcome “leverages members’ existing knowledge activities through its structures, incentives and norms.” For example, RELACSIS leverages knowledge activities through working groups, member recognition and constant communication. Members submit questions and insight in working groups. They are recognized for their best practices and achievements at annual meetings. Members stay in constant communication through email, Skype and discussion boards between annual meetings.

As a result of coordinating activities, RELACSIS has influenced measurable change in member country health systems. For example, Mexico adopted an electronic system to assist coding causes of death developed by the United States. After Mexico implemented the system, health officials shared their experiences with Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Uruguay and Venezuela. Through RELACSIS, the countries developed work plans to implement the system with assistance from the Mexican health officials. Technical assistance delivered to Chile resulted in a centralized, electronic coding process and changes to encoders’ job functions through integration of data analysis and assessment activities.

Behaviors are “those that are conducive to outcomes: cohesion, demonstration of trust, connection sharing, using a common technology platform and making investments in collaboration.” Members of RELACSIS connect through discussion boards on the RELACSIS website and conduct Skype calls to discuss and implement their annual work plans. In conversations I have had with the Network leaders, they have emphasized the importance the discussion boards play: they keep all questions and answers in a central location and link members to knowledge sources. Trust is not established virtually. According to Pugh’s Trusting in Us, member of display collaboration in a way that sacrifices individual goals for the common good. This behavior is one of five in a functioning network. RELACSIS members invest time to collaboratively develop training materials, coding systems, and provide technical assistance.

Following annual meetings, members of RELACSIS apply concepts and methods they learned. Working groups discuss key implementation challenges and solutions via the website’s discussion boards. This is a systematic feedback loop that sustains collaboration, and peer-support. According to Pugh and Prusak, members who voluntarily use a working platform (such as discussion boards) have a distinct behavior of a functioning network.

In my observation, much of RELACSIS’ success can be attributed to commitment displayed by the network’s leaders. The leaders listen to member’s greatest collective challenges and work to make connections to technical know-how that exists in the regions. I also commend the leadership for continuously identifying and inviting practitioners into the network who can not only contribute, but also gain new knowledge. These conditions, established by leadership, trigger the networks dynamics, and set behaviors into motion.

In conclusion, RELACSIS’ facilitates behaviors and lead to desirable knowledge network outcomes such as coordination, learning, local adaptation, and support of individual members. Consistent strategy, structure, and tactics should perpetuate the network’s effectiveness.

Strategic
  1. Leaders’ shared theory of change
The core team of network leaders model desired behavior by using the online discussion boards and make regular contact with members.
  1. Objectives/outcomes/purpose
The networks purpose, desired outcomes and objectives were initially defined at a launch meeting in Lima, Peru in 2010. These are documented and displayed on the website.
Structural
  1. Role of expertise and experimental learning (a.k.a. “the expert-learner duality”
Leaders are clear about establishing a safe environment for even experts to express knowledge needs and for the learners to share bold possibilities. After each presentation in the face-to-face meeting, the floor is open for discussion and deliberation.
  1. Inclusion and participation
To my knowledge, different profiles for different levels of participation do not exist. Participants are invited based on their involvement in strengthening their country’s health information system.
  1. Operating model
Working groups work toward solutions between annual face-to-face meetings. Decisions are made in country teams, regional teams and among core leadership.
  1. Convening structures and infrastructures
The network utilizes annual face-to-face meetings, Skype, and web conferencing software to convene.
Tactical
  1. Facilitation and social norm development
I am not aware of specific facilitation approaches that are used. Per my understanding there is a strong collaborative and knowledge sharing tone that begins with core leadership and echoed throughout the network.
  1. Measurement, feedback and incentives
A newer network member, representative from Trinidad and Tobago, won a prize at the annual meeting for his presentation about the country’s electronic health management information system. The award was an incentive for his contribution. Every quarter, the following statistics are collected: cumulative number of listserv registrants, number of threads, number of posts, and number of contributors. These help measure interest in the network and discussion topics.
Advertisements

The Reunión: Network Collaboration in Practice

leave a comment »

IMG_2909

members working together to identify components of their national health information systems that they would like to make a priority.

This week, I had the unique opportunity to join the V Reunión de RELACSIS in Mexico City, Mexico that brought 80 people together from 25 Latin American and Caribbean countries. Attendees were mostly public health professionals who determine how best to implement practices that will strengthen and improve their country’s health systems. Many components of the health information system were discussed from electronic patient record keeping, to medical coding, to national epidemiological data.

Health Information System – a set of components and procedures organized with the objective of generating information that will improve health care management decisions at all levels of the health system –Lippeveld et al. 2000

The most lively discussions were prompted by exchange of how-to knowledge — how records are kept; how coding is taught; how epidemiological data is collected; and how to communicate data to policy makers. This was a meeting of professionals who share ground-truth experiences. Presenters equally shared practices that worked well and not so well, mentorship experiences and standard operating procedures.

See V Reunión RELACSIS meeting presentations

I had the pleasure of witnessing true knowledge management in practice that incorporates people, process and technology.

First, the right people were in the room. The participants share a common passion to build systems that will eventually afford the best care to their country’s populations. They also share common practices from epidemiology to statistics, and from information management to demography. Discussions are facilitated by dedicated health information system specialists. They also serve as the networks champions, who advocate for country-led health system development.

IMG_2856

the network updating itself.

Second, RELACSIS follows the classic, cyclical knowledge management process:

  1. Knowledge generation – Countries implement interventions to close system gaps found in national health system assessments.
  2. Knowledge capture – Countries capture health system strengthening experiences in the form of posters, conference presentations, and publications. Professionals within the network who possess specific expertise are identified so that they can be contacted by countries who demand certain knowledge for development.
  3. Knowledge synthesis – Learning materials in various subject mattes (i.e. ICD-10 coding, communication) are developed by network members for network members and their colleagues.
  4. Knowledge sharing – Members share what they have learned and practices that work via the network website and at the annual face-to-face meeting.
  5. Knowledge assessment – Approaches and techniques to strengthening various components of the health system are documented and shared for countries to reference in their development process.

Lastly, RELACSIS leverages technology to share and collaboratively develop information products and provide ongoing mentorship.  Between face-to-face meetings, the network joins virtually to discuss action items identified in the agreed upon work plan. The network used a mix of communication platforms including discussion forums on www.RELACSIS.org, Skype, Illuminate, email and phone. The website is hosted and programmer is based at el Instituto Nacional de Salud Publica in Cuernavaca, Mexico and the content manager is based in Argentina.

IMG_2892

the RELACSIS web programmer and content manager/graphic designer

Working virtually has proven to be quite effective. For example, an online learning tool was developed collaboratively with participation from the Commission National Classification of Diseases and PAHO representatives of Argentina, Collaborating Center for the Family WHO International Classifications in Mexico, the Ministry of Public Health of Uruguay, and PAHO/WHO and MEASURE Evaluation of the United States of America. The course is designed to raise awareness of and provide medical training in proper cause of death documentation in Spanish-speaking countries.

IMG_2874[1]

Screen shot of an interactive course collaboratively developed virtually for the RELACSIS network

In my opinion, RELACSIS serves as an excellent model of South-to-South, country-led health system development. Many global health pros are scratching their heads on how to achieve this. RELACSIS members identify strengths and weaknesses of national health information systems, learn lessons from member countries, set development priorities as sub-regions, then agree on work plans as one networked region. Human and financial resources found in national health and multi-lateral agencies are identified to help put the work plan into action.

It is important for me to emphasize that RELACSIS is not to be defined by its website, or its face-to-face meetings. It is a network of people who share a common practice and are working together towards a common goal. The rich knowledge exchange is the very essence of this community.

As a knowledge manager, I find the RELACSIS experience to be refreshing and motivating. This network demonstrates how coordination among subject-matter experts, based in “South” countries, who lead health development efforts is totally possible.

Overwhelmingly, participants agreed these efforts could not be possible without political will, commitment and passion to succeed.

…innovation comes from social scenes, from passionate and connected groups of people” said Kevin Kelly in a September 2010 conversation with Wired on “Where Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.

For your reference, here are a couple links to background reading on health system strengthening in Latin America and the Caribbean and the RELACSIS network:

IMG_2905[1]

Two members of the MEASURE Evaluation team knee-deep in HIS and KM

I would like to thank my colleague, Beatriz Plaza, for extending a meeting invitation to me, and for consistently contributing her RELACSIS experiences to the annual MEASURE Evaluation Community of Practice Moderators’ Summit of which I lead.

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

November 15, 2013 at 12:19 am

Free Web-Based Applications For Business

leave a comment »

I had such a good time with my good friend @nkanagat during our recent photo shoot. I recently received a request for photos to be posted to a conference website. I scrambled, looking for photos, and to no avail had none that were up-to-date. Luckily, photog extraordinaire, @nkanagat was available.

Leah’s professional photos

We both value web technology, cloud computing, new gadgets and most importantly free web-based applications. During our photo shoot, we pretty much had a mini-dance party, while we streamed a Pandora station I shared called, “Leah’s Dance Mix.”

Using Picasa, we warmified the photos and made other very minor adjustments (extraordinaire). The photos were then uploaded to Dropbox, which we absolutely love for file sharing, as we both travel domestically and internationally for work.

I emailed three photos in .jpg format to the person who initially requested them using gmail, shared the photos with my Facebook friends, tweeted them and shared the Picasa Web album and am now blogging for you! Wah la! Free file sharing and business has been conducted!

twitter post

This file sharing process was so quick, low cost and fast! All of the communication and file sharing platforms are free and available for us to use! I encourage you to continue to use applications to carry out your work that are web-based and low cost.

I incorporate these platforms into my work so that I am able to keep my overhead costs low and offer competitive pricing to my clientele.

Enjoy the photos, and if you need to use any, please send a quick email for permission to leah [at] leahdgordon [dot] com.

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

May 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm

innovation comes from social scenes

with 2 comments

Illustration: Jason Holley

Illustration: Jason Holley

“…innovation comes from social scenes, from passionate and connected groups of people” said Kevin Kelly in a September 2010 conversation with Wired on “Where Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.”

we often think of innovation as the result of one idea by one genius, however an idea can be thought of as connections in our brains and among people – the result of ecologies and networks, kelly explains.

as a knowledge management strategist and supporter of communities of practice in both the private sector and in global health, i find this conversation fascinating as the term “innovation” has just about become a “buzz” word. this article redefines innovation and forces me to recall the birthplace of a ideas so they may be used to improve practice.

social innovation has afforded small business owners the ability to engage with whom they serve like never before. the social web provides an opportunity to create a community around your product or service. the community of people surrounding your product or service makes your offering greater. without the people, without the ecological framework of ideas, how much can you improve on your own?

engage, my friend. make connections. innovate.

about kevin kelly

about steven johnson

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

October 28, 2010 at 2:58 pm

the six word challenge

with 3 comments

i will be attending “exposure,” a speed-networking event at world overcomers christian church tonight at 6:30pm to meet local business owners and professionals!

i’m not too sure what to expect since this is my first “speed-networking” event, so i tried to prepare as much as possible. i have a ton of business cards ready and i nailed down a description of my consultancy down to six words: “i create PR and communication strategies.”

i may just borrow #3 from a list of responses to a recent challenge to describe advertising agencies in six words.

in the spirit of being concise and to the point, i challenge you to describe your blog, company, consultancy or whatever you are/do in six words!

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

March 26, 2010 at 8:35 pm

improving global health by employing knowledge mangement

leave a comment »

knowledge management functions can and should be applied among public health practitioners in developing countries to help improve their practice. in this paper, i encourage programs to create connections with similar programs so that health workers can exchange best practices and lessons learned.

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

February 17, 2010 at 11:29 pm

:30 exclusive interview at scienceonline2010

with one comment

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

January 18, 2010 at 5:45 am