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As with any other organization, ADB has its challenges when it comes to managing knowledge, promoting learning, and embracing change. In 2009, a series of staff interviews, workshops, and desk review on knowledge management revealed 10 of the most prominent challenges to learning ADB faces and the steps that could help overcome them.
Respond to donors' agendas on knowledge management and learning
ADB is not immune from increasing donor expectations that development organizations should work smartly as well as hard.
Deliver on Strategy 2020's commitment to provide knowledge solutions to clients
Strategy 2020 identifies knowledge solutions as one of five drivers for change but ADB is still some way away from translating this intention into practice.
Ensure leadership support and encouragement for knowledge management and learning
Staff members need clear, supportive messages and mandates on knowledge management from their manager to prioritize activities in this area.
Overcome organizational "silos"
ADB is a large and complex organization. Attention needs to be placed on overcoming structural obstacles that can lead to a "silo" mind-set.
Mobilize knowledge from inside and outside ADB
Staff members need to appreciate knowledge flows better, recognize that knowledge assets can be found or cultivated inside and outside ADB, and leverage these to satisfy client needs.
Strengthen links among the knowledge services of ADB
ADB would benefit from a more integrated system that covers economic and sector work, research, learning and development, and the marketing of publications.
Position and resource knowledge management and learning as a crosscutting issue
The cross-cutting nature of the knowledge management function should be considered in securing the best location and increased resourcing for it.
Create incentives for staff involvement in knowledge management and learning
ADB's performance management system hinders staff members from committing time to knowledge development and learning. The issue of incentives should be addressed to make real progress.
Build understanding of and capacity for knowledge management and learning-from day one
Understanding of what knowledge management means and why it is important is limited among staff members. The development of this understanding should begin as soon as a staff member joins ADB.
Maximize learning from evaluation
ADB has taken some interesting initiatives to leverage greater learning from its evaluations, but the balance between accountability and learning would benefit from an increased focus on the potential for learning.
The challenges may be considerable in scope but they are not insurmountable. ADB has identified specific and practical steps to overcome each one.
|Strengthen links among the knowledge services of ADB||
|Position and resource knowledge management and learning as a crosscutting issue||
|Build understanding of and capacity for knowledge management and learning||
|Create incentives for staff involvement in knowledge management and learning||
|Maximize learning from evaluation||
|Respond to donors' agendas on knowledge management and learning||
|Deliver on Strategy 2020's commitment to provide knowledge solutions to clients||
|Ensure leadership support and encouragement for knowledge management and learning||
|Overcome organizational "silos"||
|Mobilize knowledge from inside and outside ADB||