Sharing Knowledge: Innovations and Remaining Challengesby Catherine Gwin
The World Bank's commitment in 1996 to become a global knowledge bank proposed broad-ranging internal and external changes aimed at expanding the sharing of knowledge among staff, clients, and partners. While the transfer of knowledge and information had always been a dimension of the Bank's role, the knowledge initiative sought to broaden the scope and raise the profile of this function. The purpose was to improve the quality of Bank operations and enhance the capacity of client countries to achieve development goals.
'Sharing Knowledge' finds that the World Bank has made good progress in establishing the tools and activities to support its initiative, but it has not established adequate business processes and management responsibilities for achieving the strategic intent of making knowledge sharing a way of doing business and empowering clients. Although access to Bank knowledge has improved, improved access does not guarantee that the shared knowledge will be adopted, adapted, and applied. For that to happen, knowledge sharing has to be embedded in work processes.
This review recommends that the Bank take three sets of actions:
- More strategic direction and oversight of the Bank's knowledge processes by Bank management;
- Linking knowledge-sharing activities to lending and nonlending processes;
- Setting monitorable outcome objectives and supporting performance indicators for knowledge-sharing programs and activities, with agreed procedures for monitoring and evaluating Bank knowledge-sharing programs and activities.
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