Panagora’s President Speaks on Knowledge Management at George Washington University

Betsy Bassan, Panagora’s president and CEO was a guest speaker on at the Knowledge Sharing and Management in International Development spring seminar series sponsored by the George Washington University’s International Education and Educational Technology Leadership Programs, aimed at exposing students to the growing importance of knowledge management in development.

Ms. Bassan focused on the pragmatic elements of building a knowledge management culture into existing institutions. This included a knowledge management effort at a major division of a large consulting firm.

In that setting, knowledge must be stewarded from start to finish of the project cycle – proposal development, into project implementation, and finally closeout when the ongoing knowledge sharing with the development community culminates.

Ms. Bassan also spoke about creating communities of practice within a major professional association in international development, the Society for International Development – Washington Chapter. As president of SID-Washington, Ms. Bassan led the effort to create virtual communities of practice among SID’s twenty some Work Groups, allowing sharing across organizational lines and types, on best practices and lessons learned in both thematic and regional areas.

Ms. Bassan noted that knowledge stewardship is a behavior change within organizations and among individuals – technology can assist us, but the culling, using, and sharing of knowledge depends on each of us – and therefore building a culture of knowledge management must be treated like a communications campaign, buttressed by clear and straightforward work processes and incentives linked to success and recognition.

In closing the session, Professor Ryan Watkins noted that Ms. Bassan’s pragmatic focus helped breathe life into the theoretical readings the class has been doing and made for a particularly participatory and engaging session.