It has often been said that training is a catalyst for productivity, and a number of Information Technology officers across the public sector put this principle to the test recently.
In doing so, Barbados has now recorded a new cohort of Certified Knowledge Managers (CKM), thanks to a programme facilitated by the Knowledge Management Institute (KMI) and the Human Resource Development Strategy (HRDS).
The CKM programme, which is the flagship certification of the institute, has enabled the public officers to become proficient in creating, sharing and managing information and knowledge, so as to fulfill the objectives of their respective departments.
Speaking on the final day of the workshop at the Ministry of Labour at the Warrens Office Complex, Chairman and Chief Instructor of the KMI, Douglas Weidner, said that he was “very pleased” with the level of interaction among the participating officers.
And, as the public sector moves towards the implementation of knowledge management systems, Mr. Weidner mentioned some key areas of the workshop, which would be critical to this transition.
“One area in focus was the concept of doing ‘squirrels’, which is our metaphor for small projects – sometimes called ‘quick wins’. It’s essential for change management that you get people’s attitudes towards doing small projects, if you’re getting them wrapped up in this whole concept of moving into the knowledge age,” he explained.
Following the four-day workshop, students were required to complete an open book examination, which falls under the purview of the KMI’s certification process.
“The exam is a mandatory part of the certification programme… After the first time if they [students] fail it, it gives them some prompts as to the areas of weakness, so that they can go back and study and retake the exam….
“It’s okay to make some mistakes, as long as you learn from them. That’s part of the knowledge age”. Chairman and Chief Instructor of the KMI, Douglas Weidner
“It’s okay to make some mistakes, as long as you learn from them. That’s part of the knowledge age,” Mr. Weidner pointed out.
After acquiring the certification, the Chief Instructor explained that the KMI created an environment to support the continuation of knowledge, by establishing a knowledge hub.
According to him, this platform was used to recruit experts from around the world, who made presentations on key topics relating to Knowledge Management. With this forum, graduates are able to access the one-hour presentations remotely, and keep abreast of developments within the discipline.
During an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service on the final day of the workshop, public servants Daledrey Barrow of the Office of the Attorney General; and Stig Merritt, of the Office of Public Sector Reform, shared their perspectives on the entire training experience.
Ms. Barrow, who described the KMI workshop as “intensive” but very impactful, made reference to Mr. Weidner’s teachings on ‘squirrels’, and agreed that working towards a series of ‘small wins’ over time, can eventually make a substantial difference.
“In terms of impact, think small wins. Although you can have a project or goal that you’d like to achieve over the years, if you use small projects that take less than three months and continuously improve upon them, you can eventually reach your goal of change within the department on a large scale,” she maintained.
On this premise, Ms. Barrow also emphasised the importance of setting realistic goals for oneself and the department, in order to cultivate an environment which allows for true achievement.
Meanwhile, Mr. Merritt regarded the training opportunity as “well-timed” and a very good experience overall.
He stated: “I think that this is very timely because right now we are in the knowledge age, and this knowledge management course is pivotal for us in the public service…. If we can share just a little bit of the Senior Information Officers’ knowledge right across the board, we would do well to move forward.”
Some of the other government departments represented at the workshop included the Human Resource Development Unit of the Ministry of Labour; the Training and Administration Division; the Data Processing Department; the Barbados Defence Force; the Immigration Department; and the Barbados Statistical Service.