Dr Peter Brown: How KM helps English Institute of Sport to Deliver World Leading Performance

The English Institute of Sport (EIS) formally invested in Knowledge management after the London Games in 2012 with the appointment of Dr Peter Brown as the Head of Performance Knowledge
 
The EIS is one of the world’s largest providers of sport science and sports medicine to Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. EIS has recognised the need to facilitate, capture and exploit the knowledge and expertise of their members, and under the leadership of Dr Peter Brown, has invested a lot of time and effort into a functioning knowledge management process.
 
 
The key driver behind the EIS’s KM effort is the ability to connect their teams across science and medicine disciplines, sports and geography so that all GB sports apply the latest cutting edge knowledge and insights to make a performance impact. 
TallyFox Tallium is there to help them achieve these goals and we have asked Dr Brown for an interview to introduce our readers to their successful process and its benefits.
 
TallyFox: Can you describe your knowledge sharing process? What is the facilitator?
 
Dr Peter Brown: The main facilitator of knowledge sharing is face to face conversation facilitated by the subject matter expert line managers, personal networks, the knowledge team and integration with HR policies and processes. However, there are many situations where face to face sharing is impossible – picture a practitioner on a training camp at the top of a mountain in the Pyrenees! Either way, we use the CYNEFIN framework to help people determine the task oriented domain their knowledge or performance problem may reside and streamline the appropriate knowledge response. If the problem is in the simple domain then we have loads of best practice documents and standard operating procedures stored online. If the situation is more complicated then our file storage system allows teams to access case reports. 
 
 
However, the complicated domain also requires rapid searching of our colleagues' subject matter expertise and here is where TallyFox comes in. TallyFox Tallium allows us to search, refine and identify the right people we need to connect with to solve our performance questions. Similarly, in the complex space, Tallyfox Tallium allows us to locate the experts and post a question to the network of expertise to aggregate the most appropriate anecdotes, stories and signposts to form an effective solution. 
 
TallyFox: What are the biggest challenges of this process?
 
Dr Peter Brown: The biggest challenges much like any organisation is time. Time working with the athletes, time away from athletes, time on training camps, time at competitions, time to learn and develop. There is not enough time in the day! So we have to be clever in our approach to sharing know-how by integrating it into current systems and processes. The second biggest challenge is geography, we are all over the UK and the world, so being able to connect teams across the land, water and time zones is really important. 
 
 
TallyFox: How are you addressing them?
Dr Peter Brown: There is definitely a challenge to keeping everyone updated with everything and connecting everyone at any time. Tallyfox provides a great platform to do this, the use of this platform within our network means we can all be up to date with the latest science and medicine, case studies, stories, research projects, professional development and performance questions posted by others and so on. There are also a number of more central governance tactics which we are adopting. 
 
 
TallyFox: Can you tell us more about these tactics?
 
Dr Peter Brown: These additional tactics include working very closely with HR and Learning and Development teams. Specifically ensuring there is a common thread of knowledge management elements slicing through everything a member of staff does from job application, induction, appraisals to promotion and leaving, in this regard the work of Dr David Griffiths of K3 cubed has been incredibly useful to help me understand the most appropriate knowledge strategy in the high-performance sports world. In addition, there are three key ingredients to our KM success. Firstly, the formation of a bespoke mental model to help steer individuals and teams’ knowledge effort and providing bespoke resources to enable these which was co-developed with the workforce at the coalface. Second, is an employee-codeveloped KM competency framework which is embedded within their professional frameworks setting the knowledge behaviour's bar incredibly high and strives for future proofed excellence. Finally, is a Performance Knowledge self-assessment and planning tool which allows any team to benchmark and develop a proactive and anticipatory strategic plan to maximise their teams and cross-team know-how. 
 
 
TallyFox:  What are the benefits of investing in a KM system in your case?
 
Dr Peter Brown: KM systems are as good as the knowledge put in, the ease of finding that again and the ability to connect people to move it forward. In addition, the KM system provides a legacy to performance questions and research. There can't be many performance questions which we as a network have not previously solved (certainly in the simple and complicated domain) so having the ability to ask the network a question and see what comes back is an incredible efficiency step for us and provides a searchable legacy for future members of the team.  Our teams have posted and answered an amazing variety of questions from magic socks to ear plugs, from breathing techniques to injury and rehab recommendations and from reading updates to the best apps. A recent user who leads a medal winning GB Science and Medicine and posted a question on the platform team mentioned to me that “I needed a quick solution to my performance problems that I knew little about and I know would have a performance impact on our athletes, the mixed response to published articles and personal experiences was great – it gave me all I needed to know and who to connect with within the same day”. 
 
 
TallyFox: Why have you chosen Tallium? What challenges do we solve/help solve for you?
Dr Peter Brown: Pretty much every function of Tallium solves a problem for us. The ability to be in the loop with Institute developments, the ability to share informal knowledge which is not necessarily suitable for our knowledge storage servers, connecting the network on all aspects of science and medicine, advertising and booking into development opportunities, finding subject matter expertise and so on. 
 
One key strength is the ability to have independent groups within the platform where communities can join up and work on a particular project, develop knowledge and push the boundaries of key topic areas, or very simply and quietly just stay informed of what our guys are doing in their areas. A common sentiment of feedback from practitioners is “I knew the expertise was out there, I wasn’t sure where to start looking”. The key to remember is that true knowledge sharing comes through face to face personal interactions and exchanges and it's important to note that no KM platform can replace this – however, Tallyfox Tallium provides a slick and quick way to get to this point. 
 
There have been many occasions where a performance question has been asked on the platform and the numerous answers that have poured in have been a simple as “I know this, give me a call”. This is just as great as an answer and it's up to my team to make sure some kind of final response/outcome of this is captured on Tallium to help the next person. 
 
On their website, the English Institute of Sport say: "At the EIS we think of ourselves as the team behind the team, delivering a range of performance-impacting solutions to Olympic and Paralympic sports." We couldn't be more proud to be the ones to help them do that. Find out more about them in their video.
Images courtesy of English Institute of Sport and Cognitive Edge
 

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