Sharing ideas, tips and lessons learned from mobilising knowledge

Published on 30 November 2022, by Alison Day, Hannah Cochrane, Stacey Richards, Preeti Puligari and Helen Watts

Mobilising evidence and knowledge, Best practice

#KNOWvember22 is a great opportunity to share ideas and tips about knowledge mobilisation activities. At the Sharing Good Knowledge Mobilisation Practice webinar, we heard from colleagues sharing the lessons learned from the work they had been involved with. The session was themed and this is the first in a series of three blog posts that will share the lessons learned from the first theme.

Knowledge Mobilisation and Events

Each of our speakers used an After Action Review template to reflect on their work, capture and share lessons learned.

Hannah Cochrane at University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust has a key focus within her role to support and facilitate the mobilisation of knowledge.  This has led to the development of several knowledge mobilisation initiatives such as facilitating a regular forum, holding quarterly Randomised Coffee Trials and tailoring support for internationally educated nurses.  In the session, Hannah shared the work she has been doing to capture knowledge from colleagues before they leave or change roles.  The aim was for the Knowledge Specialist to conduct a structured interview with each colleague who was moving on to support the transfer of knowledge between teams.  

Knowledge Capture Interviews After Action Review

What was supposed to happen?

  • The development of a project to support effective handover in teams.​
  • A meeting with managers to promote the process.​
  • A survey to identify the types of knowledge to capture from leavers.​
  • The development of interview questions from HEE template and survey.​
  • A commitment from Education Team Leads to participate.​
  • The facilitation of interviews with department  leavers, by the Library’s Knowledge Specialist.​
  • A process to gather feedback  to inform and develop the service.​
  • A sustainable process in place to ensure continuity of work.

What actually happened?

  • Project development within a QI Silver programme.​
  • A presentation to Education Department managers.​
  • A survey of manager’s knowledge needs from leavers.
  • Development of a questionnaire and the ‘output’ template.​
  • An encouraging response, most managers committed to using the service, though it was unclear whether all leavers were referred to the library.​
  • The knowledge Specialist undertook interviews with department leavers. ​
  • Feedback was solicited but not always submitted.​
  • A request to develop an eLearning module for management training.​
  • A meeting with HR, to introduce the project.

Why was there a difference?

  • Some managers may not have informed the library about leavers because: ​
    • There were time constraints, or a heavy workload.​
    • They had forgotten about the service.
    • They preferred to keep processes ‘in house’.​
  • If the results were not as expected, they may have been reluctant to feedback.​
  • There was a recognition of the potential to develop as an eLearning tool and a process to gather experiential knowledge in teams.​

What can we learn from this?

  • Demonstrating and promoting the benefits of sharing leavers’ corporate knowledge and best practice  - an example interview may ‘sell’ the process more successfully.​
  • Speaking to those who have not taken part or given feedback for more information.​
  • Proactively contacting leavers to arrange interviews.​
  • Using staff stories to illustrate the challenges of taking on a new role.​
  • Assessing effectiveness - peer-reviewing the process.​
  • Sustainability – developing continuous feedback and review.

The Living Library

Helen Watts from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust shared helpful tips about running a Living Library, including template documents from the toolkit she has developed. 

A Living Library works like a standard library where visitors can browse the catalogue for available titles, choose the book they want to read and borrow it for a limited amount of time.  The only difference is that the “books” are human.  Each “book” volunteers to take part in the library and share their story. 

From running a couple of Living Library events with partners across Bristol, Helen identified the following lessons learned:

  • Create aims and objectives for the event to share with everyone involved and use for press releases and promotion
  • Link your Living Library event to a larger event e.g. Health Information Week
  • About 10 books is a good number but this will depend on your focus, venue size and availability of your volunteers
  • Hold a meeting to explain the purpose and recruit your volunteer “books”
  • Ask volunteer “books” to write a biography of approximately 150 words to form the catalogue
  • Find a venue with space to accommodate your books and borrowers – you will need an issue desk, waiting area and quite areas where conversations can take place.  Take time setting this up and thinking about your layout
  • Prepare a registration sheet so borrowers can be issued with a library card and agree to abide by the Living Library rules
  • Create a timing record sheet of who is borrowing which book when
  • Develop some evaluation forms
  • Ensure facilitators can be easily identified wearing badges or themed t-shirts
  • Create table signs for each book explaining their role
  • Publicise widely
  • Have as many people on hand to help as possible

You can find out more about Helen’s experience of running a  Living Library event in the Health Information Week Blog.

Participating in the FabChange 2020 and 2021 Campaigns  

The FabChange campaign of sharing change stories was promoted as part of the weLearn programme at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.  This programme aims to share best practice, research, innovation, and quality improvement across the organisation.  Preeti Puligari and Stacey Richards walked us through their role in collecting and sharing Fab stories.  The campaign was promoted, and a generic email address was set up to receive submissions on the shared template.  With the help of the communications department some of these were recorded as video clips.  The stories and videos were collated on the Trust intranet, a report shared within the Trust and submissions uploaded to the FabChange website.  In 2021 an impact survey was conducted to see if the changes were sustained.  

 What was learnt?  

  • Campaign details from FabChange comes out at short notice so adding the FabChange event to the annual calendar of recurring activities helps to get planning and promotion in early enough  

  • Sustaining interest is hard.  Once changes have been made some teams revert to business as usual – the follow-up survey helped to remind people about the change they had made.  

  • A new person leading the initiative can bring new thinking and new approaches to campaigns such as these  

  • Linking learning and change ideas in with other Trust work such as the weLearn programme deliverables, helps to improve how the learning is shared within the organisation and is purposeful to the Trust objectives  

  • New platforms and communities such as the Beneficial Changes Network can help knowledge about the changes to be spread more widely 

After hearing the three presentations a short Espresso Café was held to discuss the learning and consider what ideas or tips could be taken and applied elsewhere.  The discussion covered the benefit of aligning events to organisational priorities, making use of contacts and champions, and using events to make better connections within the organisation.  Knowledge capture was seen as something that could really help new starters and living libraries were regarded as having many potential uses including for recruitment or at careers fairs.  For all knowledge mobilisation events senior stakeholder buy-in was agreed to be a key to success.   

You can view all of the slides shared in the session here KNOWvember22 Sharing Good Practice 231122.pdf