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Knowledge Management to Support Community Change

Updated: Apr 4

Knowledge management is usually done within an organization. As staff and volunteers come and go, prior institutional knowledge is lost or leaked. New staff and partners don’t have the benefit of earlier learning. By adopting knowledge management processes and practices, organizations can better retain and build upon prior learning. But what does it look like to manage knowledge for an entire community or a multi-sector, multi-stakeholder collaborative? How can we bring the principles of knowledge management into the work of equitable, sustainable community change?

For complex, multi-sector community change work, traditional approaches to knowledge management don't work

Our experience working with changemakers and communities has shown that knowledge management is a key ingredient to sustainable change efforts. Learning together creates shared language and shared values. Content libraries are a great way to collect information from multiple organizations and stakeholders to capture the knowledge of the group. At the same time, we know countless resources—time, money, and creative energy—are spent recreating the wheel over and over again. How many times have we seen initiatives build and rebuild new websites to house content only to be lost when the next new thing comes along?

We believe the healthy, equitable, sustainable communities movement can benefit from shared knowledge management and that it needs a sustainable field-building solution. This is why we created the Community Commons InfoHub. Collaboration and cross-sector work are critical to achieving the change we seek. Our systems of information management must also abide by these principles.

Our Approach

The Community Commons, Community Commons Spaces, IP3 | Assess, and all other tools we create are built on the Community Commons InfoHub database. The InfoHub is a repository of resources, tools, and stories. Designed with connections at the forefront, this database focuses on the relationships between content as much as the individual content itself. When we create a resource library for a partner, we don't simply add the content to a standalone database. Rather, all curated content is added to the Community Commons InfoHub. This means the core Community Commons database grows with each client and each partner benefits from the continued growth of this content. Furthermore, the Community Commons InfoHub is accessible to all. We've built the database on an open-source API. You can include a live feed of content on your website using Connect & Share or contact us for information about leveraging the Community Commons API for your resource library.

Case Study: When the transformative global 100 Million Healthier Lives movement (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and convened by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement) was successfully completed in 2020, the content was migrated to the Community Commons InfoHub. The resources now have a sustainable home and have been indexed and interconnected so they can be discovered by the next group of changemakers. This collaboration adds sustainability to the Change Library, integrates its content to advance shared learning, and amplifies these learnings through positioning for a larger audience. Learn More.

Case Study: The Advancing Equitable Economies Policy Library (Equitable Economies Library) curates policies that address inequities, and provide equitable opportunities and prosperity for all. The searchable, living library of recommended policies was created by The Well Being In The Nation Network (WIN Network), in partnership with Community Commons, through the combined efforts of people with diverse backgrounds. Policies in the Library cover multiple sectors, can be implemented at a variety of scales, and center equity of people by advancing the ideas of organizations fighting against historical, structural racism. The 100+ policies are organized into eleven impact areas that are key in advancing more equitable economies. Created for all audiences, each policy description is carefully written in accessible, easy-to-understand language.

What's Next?

Building on the success and demand for these resource libraries, we've recently developed Community Commons Spaces. These offer a customized lens into the Community Commons InfoHub with your branding and your unique content categorization. Importantly, the content remains in the Community Commons InfoHub to ensure sustainability and increased impact.

Learn More

Are you interested in learning more about how the Community Commons InfoHub or Spaces can help your knowledge management efforts? Complete the form below to schedule a demo!


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