Unit of Experience
Knowledge management let's keep simple

You may not even realise that you should manage your organisation’s knowledge, or even know where to start when you realise that it would be of great benefit.

KM is often seen as a complicated discipline, requiring high technology and onerous tools. However, the experience of the UK’s London and West Midlands Fire Services, under the auspices of the European project RIMSAT, demonstrates that keeping simple and sticking to the basics of knowledge management, which are; lesson together with context, can quickly deliver useful outcomes.

The simple concept of a “Unit of Experience” was initially developed as a way of feeding useful experiences into a database. The resulting U of Es have become valuable as a method for disseminating the knowledge contained in them, both for operational use and for training.

As the RIMSAT project draws to a close, these two UK Fire Services have a collection of around 300 Units of Experience available. The collection grows as personnel read them, realise their value, and are prompted to share their own experiences.

Each self-contained Unit includes; a lesson, the context in which it is pertinent and a rationale; allowing each member of the brigades to benefit from the lesson learned, by their colleagues. The experiences often relate to incidents that are rare, making the lessons learnt even more important, as the circumstances in which they occurred may not easily be predicted.

Thus, a simple concept plus minimal organisation has been demonstrated to collect, review and distribute these Units of Experience. This shows that the valuable process of Knowledge Management can be implemented with a simple form based process, and without costly sophisticated technology.

In a time where all organisations in charge of public security are preparing to face terrorist threat, it would be criminal not to organise the minimum knowledge sharing, at least to be sure not to repeat previous errors.

Ben Diamond, Station Officer, West Midlands Fire Service mail Ben.Diamond@wmfs.net
Claude Koemmerer, senior consultant,

Learn more at: Book