Knowledge Management Cases in Asia/Knowledge Management in a Law Enforcement Unit/Appendix 3: Summary of Interview

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Date
20, March 2007
Time
18:30-19:15
Venue
University of Hong Kong
Interviewee
Mr. A (A)
Interviewer
Carol Wong (C), Eugene Wong (E), Wayne Kwok (W), Sammi Hung (S) and Irene Lee (I)

A: Good evening! We are so pleasant to interview you today. After your talk, we have a general idea on the KM of your organization. So, we would like to have an in depth understanding about the knowledge management of this Asia Law Enforcement Unit through this interview. Shall we start now?

A: Sure.

C: Thank you. As we all know you are the former top official and the architect of the KM project in the Unit. In the KM project, you are responsible for all decision-making regarding the development of KM. In fact, what are the objectives of the KM system of the Unit?

A: Our objective is to let knowledge can be captured, retrieved and updated in the Unit. That is “The systematic processes by which knowledge needed for the Unit to succeed is created, captured, shared and used.” Hence, our KM strategy is the 5-phase implementation plan with codification and personalization. From my power point slides, you can see that there are information-based KM initiatives and people-based KM initiatives adopt on the whole KM development.

C: According to Hansen, the knowledge strategies can be classified as Stock strategy (efficiency- driven business) that is to solve known problems by fast and economical solution, the flow strategy (experience- driven business) that is to solve large, new and complicated problems by existing methods, and the growth strategy (expert-driven business) is to solve large, complex, risky, new and unusual problems by innovative solution. So, among the strategies suggested by Hansen, do you think the KM of the Unit has the characteristics of one of these strategies?

A: I think the strategies are the same, but only in different approaches. For example, the codification maybe consists of three classifications, which is mentioned by Hansen. The codification is to code all the knowledge, which can be coded so it can exchange with other people more easily. It will be the stock strategy you have mentioned because all of the tactic knowledge will become explicit to store. For flow strategies, police officers can find the existing solution from PEAK or ask for senior officers’ advice to solve new problem by Peer Advisor Scheme. Finally, the growth strategy can be matched with our future plan that is CoP of senior management.

W: Which KM initiatives do you think is most significant to the KM development?

A: I think it should be Content Management System (CMS) and search engine. It is because CMS used the common language in the Unit to set up. And it meets the needs of the Unit, it is easy to understand and use by users. Also, it demands are ad-hoc driven so it can enhance the KM concept in the Unit. I do think this can be benchmarked by others.

I: What do you do to change officers’ minds that have a positive attitude to share knowledge with others?

A: Firstly, identification of the knowledgeable people who are already willing to share is very important. For example, members in study group who are willing to share knowledge about the current policies, issues as they have common of interest that is career promotion. Moreover, starting to introduce the benefits of KM and let them experience the convenience of knowledge sharing. Secondly, capturing know-how is not an easy job as people might think if they share the know-how knowledge they will lose the competitive advantages. Hence, management has to nurture the right behavior by reorganizations and rewards for knowledge sharing. For example, the West Kowloon District shares a package including videos about how to deal with late night violence to all EU. They are motivated to contribute next time by rewards.

W: So far, to what extent, do you think the implementation of KM in the Unit has achieved the goal?

A: Actually, the KM project can achieve some objective at this stage. As you know, the KM project only completed the first two stages at this moment. Therefore, the capture of organizational knowledge and team knowledge is completed. However, further developments have to be work on the PEAK, LAB and PAS. So that KM can be developed comprehensively in the Unit.

W: Can you talk more about the Peer Advisor Scheme?

A: This scheme seems to be “asking the homework on the phone”. The advisors include volunteer of senior experts and professional experts. All of them have proper expertise in their related field either academic or experiences. Also, they have high level of recognition within the Unit. It can ensure that their advisors are valid and useful. In fact, PAS already exists in the Unit for a long time. The officers are used to call their co-workers to find or discuss the issue in the Unit. For example, call the friends or colleagues in the Unit to ask about the details of how to apply the overseas training. Also, PAS creates a platform where they feel comfortable asking for and offering help. It is because all of them are familiar with this. So, the officers no need to learn a new system to know how to get the information or knowledge they want. Finally, we have focus group to discuss what subjects of advisor belongs to are needed to match with demand. It can avoid misunderstanding and expectation mismatch within this scheme.

C: Which departments/group of people should responsible for KM in the Unit?

A: I believe KM cut across all daily works and a full-time expert should be responsible for KM because they can have a full picture about what the KM in the Unit is. In the past, Service Quality Wing was responsible for this. In 1998, IBM was engaged as a consultant to review the Unit’s business environment, information strategy and analyze the needs of potential users. Also, we have a management research which about the future KM development and situation of the Unit by external consultant. Then some colleagues who are interested in IT field practiced the KM project. However, we discovered that the system do not fit the Unit. Due to the ad hoc situation, system like legal advisory system is built rather than a KM system. Therefore, I think that there should be some full-time technical staff and police officers to develop the KM project, so that they can focus on the KM development specifically. Therefore in 2003, a knowledge management officer was hired. And the Efficiency Studies Bureau has been formed in the combination of the KMO, a middle manager and senior officer.

E: What is the milestone of KM project?

A: As I said before, we have found IBM and external consultants to design a system for us. However, the result is not so good. Started from 2001, we do the research by our IT colleagues and outsource the system development parts to contractor. So the system can be matched with our actual environment. As a result of the insight gained from the pilot and also taken into account the scale of the project, a 5-phase approach has been adopted for the implementation of KM in the Unit since June 2002. So far, the first 2 phases are completed. The proposed way forward of the later three phases is to develop people-based KM initiatives in the form of Knowledge Sharing Network, which will be the inculcation of a knowledge sharing culture.

S: How the KM system is evaluated? Is there any performance indicators?

A: Up to this stage, there is no performance indicator. I have also thought about the evaluation of the effectiveness of the KM system at the design stage. However, I concern more about the stress of my colleagues. In other projects in the Unit, it is usual to conduct an evaluation but the paper workload would be increased by this. The colleagues need to pay more attention to not only the operation of the system but also the performance or effectiveness. So, they may not pay fully effort because they need to handle the paper work as well. Besides the increase in paper workload, how to measure the success in KM also is a problem. It is because there is no suitable measurement to show the actual performance of our KM system. Therefore, we only count the number of hits as a performance indicator in phase 1 and 2. However, it is surly not the accurate indicator to focus on.

I: What do you think about the future development of KM in the Unit?

A: Now KM on the Unit is information-based. All the knowledge is provided for search. E.g. content management system, PEAK provide information to user with less discussion. They have set a template to store all kind of information. It is a one-way method to transfer knowledge. In the future, the KM should be people-based. For example, CoP in the Unit, it can provide a platform to different level of co-workers to communicate with others. E.g. the officers can be link up in different regions to have discussion on specific matters. Also, their discussion can be based on the past resources from PEAK.