Reflective Journal on Experience sharing from Frankie

Huawei is a China based multinational company; it is a knowledge intensive IT solution provider. Like all giant company with numinous locations all over the world, it has its own problem with separated or even unnoticed knowledge resided in different locations, servers, computers, or even worst, resided in different individuals. Such "reinventing the wheel" symptoms are one of the most common issues in KM area. The experience sharing from Frankie is, indeed, very inspiring and very down to earth. Several questions we have discussed during the section is revisited in this essay with more elaborations, hope this can be served as a record of the KMP2P event and, if you find it useful, for future storytelling.

As one of the leader in the IT solution industry, Huawei faces a lot of challenges such as short life cycle of new technologies, high turnover rate of employees, disconnected server in different locations, etc. As the KM manager of the company, Frankie was asked to take the lead of KM for supply chain, while some countries are developed quite well, some are not. Putting your foot in his shoes, what would you do?

Some interesting discussion went on and one thing is remarkable: use matrix to capture the finding and make a clear picture among the wide range of countries, different situations, cases, etc. The KM manager should be able to dig out the sense behind “good” and “bad” and distinguish what works under which conditions.

Knowledge and idea are managed under the framework of KM in Huawei: idea management, tacit knowledge management, and explicit knowledge management. Both idea and tacit Knowledge management are initial form of explicit knowledge. It is remarkable that a clear definition was given in Huawei about explicit knowledge, it is knowledge asset which provide actionable knowledge1) to those in need. The idea and knowledge are supplied from knowledge supplier to knowledge customers, participants suggested that a feedback should occur form the knowledge customers back to the knowledge supplier.

Revisit mental model under the matrix of permanent VS control (Luc 2014)

Mental model is one of the basic principles covered in KM. Mental model compose of knowledge, believe, representative and idea2). Knowledge is conscious, controllable and permanent, where as Idea is also conscious and controllable, but not permanent.

Fig 1 Mental Model 2)

As mentioned Luc, the idea section in mental model is a lab for creativity. Think of the power if creativity can be managed in a company. Idea management was not covered in the seminar, it is an interesting topic we haven't come across in any KM lecture. Maybe it can be the next sharing section topic?

Community of Practice is one of the tools Huawei used to manage tacit knowledge. Huwei believes that 80% of the knowledge can be documented and the 20% left has to be managed by knowledge network3), such as CoP. While the KM persons putting a lot of effort to foster a user friendly environment to the user, promising timely reply, etc, there is a great increase of number to use the CoP form 2012. Guess what happened?

Some of the participants think it is natural for the growth because that’s what should happen in a CoP life cycle, but some disagreed because we cannot take it for granted that growth is natural for CoP. In this case, it doesn’t mean that people will participate even though the CoP can provide promising answer for enquires. Or, even worst, participates did not notice such promising service at all.

What happened exactly is the change from push to pull tactic together with promotion in events and management support. There was a change in culture, from publish oriented to user driven, everyone is encouraged to ask questions in the CoP. The value of CoP is to increase as the number of problems solved by the network, provide quality answers, and build trust among member in the CoP.

Last but not least, what should CoP facilitators do?

Some participate said to move things forward, some said a facilitator needs to have some knowhow about the domain. I did a bit search on the internet and would like to add that facilitator must concern himself with the group process more than the outcome – to make productive discussions and doesn’t lapse into groupthink.4)

An example in Huawei was given with following sequences:

Action By
  • made a general enquire
  • clarify the question with the initiator
  • help to express the question on public space
  • suggest answer format
  • change the format of answers from others
  • send the case to other CoPs which may face similar problems
  • bring the discussion to decision maker

One may say it is too much work, but I agree this is the cost an organization has to pay for running a CoP. There is commitment, manpower, passion involved in a CoP and that’s why Frankie got the comment that they are the group which is closest to a CoP.

Another example is the reuse of previous enquires by replying enquires with related links already existed. This could remind user to search the CoP before making a new enquire as well.

All in all, the sharing from Huawei is very inspiring and I would like to thank Frankie once again for his time and effort. Hope to meet everyone soon in the other KMP2P event.



28 Jul 2014


PS. I would be more than happy to get your feedback and comment via, cheers!

KMP2P (Knowledge Management from Practitioners to Professionals) is initiated and currently operated by MScKM graduates. We encourage interaction among members under an open and fair environment with no discrimination: sharing updated news in the area of KM, offering opportunities for KM practices, creating chances to meet with like-minded KM graduates and promoting KM in the society. Last but not least, we provide platform to practice KM and groom for professionals. MScKM undergraduates and graduates’ participation are entirely optional. Even though we might gain support from PolyU, which will not be liable to any responsibilities nor obligations in this community.


1) actionable knowledge

2) What Managers can learn from great philosophers? Lecture 2: How do we think? Luc de Brabandere (2014)

3) 80/20 rule of knowledge

4) Communities for public health - Advanced Facilitation Guide

Expiry Date: