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Alphabetic List of All Methods

(Total = 49)


Method Name Method Abstract
Action Learning Action learning is an approach to solving problems. It involves taking action and reflecting upon the outcomes and results as a feedback mechanism that helps improve the problem-solving process as well as the solutions developed by the community or team. The action learning process includes:
  1. a real and important problem (usually complex),
  2. a diverse problem-solving team,
  3. a process that promotes curiosity, inquiry, and reflection,
  4. a requirement that conversation or talk be converted into action and, ultimately, a solution,
  5. a commitment to learning.
In Action Learning, the groups or teams are made up of between six and eight people who meet together regularly over a reasonable time period and ‘present’ and collectively work on problems faced in ongoing practice.
Action Research Action research is research initiated to solve an immediate problem or a reflective process of progressive problem solving. It is normally led by individuals working with others in teams or as part of a "community of practice" (CoP) to improve the way they address relevant issues and solve problems. There are two types of action research:
  1. participatory action research and
  2. practical action research.
Action research involves actively participating in a change situation, often via an existing organization, while simultaneously conducting research. It can also be executed by larger enterprises, assisted or guided by professional researchers with the aim of improving their strategies, practices and knowledge of their environments. Designers, researchers and other stakeholders work with each other to propose new and different courses of action in order to help their community or communities improve their work practices.
After Action Review After Action Review (AAR) is a simple process used by teams to capture the Lessons Learned from past successes and failures. The goal is to improve future performance through post-mortem reflection. It is an opportunity for organizations and teams to reflect on a work such as projects, activities, tasks, and events with the intent to identify opportunites for future improvement. AAR can also be employed in the course of a project to learn while doing, as a form of Stop and Reflect before moving on to next work steps.
AARs are intended to be carried out with no intent to blame others. The United States Army used the phrase leave your rank at the door to optimize learning and the use of the AAR process. Some teams document the review results while others prefer to emphasize the no-blame culture by having no written record.
AAR is a form of group reflection where articipants review what was intended against what actually happened, why it happened and what was learned from the experiences. One member of the group facilitates by documenting results and sharing with the group.
Anecdote Circles Anecdote Circles is a narrative technique, similar to focus groups, that is facilitated with the intent to elicit short anecdotal stories, rather than opinions or judgments. The stories are collected in hopes of revealing what is really happening in your organization and in hopes of highlighting what stakeholders view as being valuable. Anecdote circles are used to gain insight and new perspectives on old or existing ways of doing work.
Appreciative Inquiry Appreciative inquiry (AI) is a knowledge development model that is intended to engage stakeholders in self-determined or self-prescribed change. It is attributed with revolutionizing the field of organizational development and was a precursor to the rise of positive organization studies and the strengths based movement in American management.
AI was developed at Case Western Reserve University, in its department of organizational behavior. It started with a 1987 article by David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva who felt that the overuse of problem solving hindered social improvement, implying that what was needed were new methods of inquiry that would help generate new ideas and new models for how to organize people and work.
Appreciative Inquiry is about the coevolutionary search for the best or most qualified people in enterprises, and the relevant world around them (such as subject matter experts that exist outside the enterprise). In its broadest focus, it involves systematic discovery of what provides life to living systems when they are considered to be most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms.
AI involves the art and practice of asking questions intended to strengthen a system’s capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential. It involves the mobilization of inquiry through the crafting of the unconditional positive question, often-involving hundreds or sometimes thousands of people. In AI the challenging task of intervention or intervening gives way to the speed of imagination and innovation. Instead of giving way to negation, criticism, and spiraling diagnosis, there is discovery, dream, and design. AI seeks to build a constructive union between a whole people and the massive entirety of what people perceive to be past and present capacities. For example: achievements, assets, unexplored potentials, innovations, strengths, elevated thoughts, opportunities, benchmarks, high point moments, lived values, traditions, strategic competencies, stories, expressions of wisdom, insights into the deeper corporate spirit or soul-- and visions of valued and possible futures. Taking all of these together as a gestalt, AI deliberately, in everything it does, attempts to work from accounts of a positive change core and it assumes that every living entity or system has many untapped and rich and inspiring accounts of the positive. Bind the energy of this core directly to any change agenda and changes never conceived as possible are suddenly and democratically mobilized.
Apprenticing An ancient and timeless methodology for transfering knowledge from masters to students through the use of one-on-one (1-on-1) teaching and learning. In this methodology, the master or teacher transfers knowledge to the student or apprentice and provides customized and often subjective feedback with the intent to teach the student about outcomes. There is an ongoing feedback loop where the master teaches, the apprentice learns, the master criticizes and teaches corrections, and the student applies such learned corrections, until the loop ends and the apprentice becomes a master, him or herself.
Brainstorming Brainstorming is a means of stimulating a group of people to generate new and unusual ideas. The process is normally split into two phrases:
  1. Divergence and
  2. Convergence.

During the divergent phase, everyone agrees to withold judgment such that all ideas will be treated as valid. During the convergent phase, the participants use their judgment but do so in a constructive and positive manner. In other words, they seek out what they like about ideas before finding the negatives in them.
Brainswarming A variation on the mind mapping methodology that claims to specialize and focus on creativity. Brainswarming uses visual representation to quantitate, diagnose and improve creativity for problem solving.
Business Analysis Business Analysis is a knowledge discovery, collection, classification, organization and analysis process that drives the development of Business Requirements. Requirements are then handed off to specialists who focus on architecting and designing solutions to meet said requirements.
Because most modern businesses run on systems that have business logic embedded withing them, Business Analysis has become a subset of Systems Analysis. (Refer to Systems Analysis for more information.)
Card Sorting Card sorting is a methodology used to help design or evaluate the information architecture of a web site. In a card sorting meeting or session, participants organize relevant topics into labeled categories that make sense to them and then prioritize these groups in order of metrics such as impact, cost and quality.
Coaching Like Mentoring, Coaching is a methodology that focuses on the human transfer of knowledge through teaching, criticism, action, feedback and repeating the process. Unlike Mentoring which usually focuses on knowledge transfer between one person to another single person (or a very small group of a few people), Coaching often applies to finding ways for teaching larger groups of people, simultaneously, even though it can also be applied to groups as small as an individual person.
Conversation Mapping Conversation Mapping, which is a variation of Mind Mapping, is the simple process of planning out a conversation, such as an email stream or a phone call, before your initial engagement with that person. The methodology has been practiced for many decades and arguably perfected by the marketing (e.g. telemarketing) and sales (e.g. telesales) industries, where marketing and sales scripts are prepared in advance of the actual conversations, in hopes of having prepared options for objection handling. The methodology later became adopted by various customer support organizations that prepare call scripts for support calls. The methodology often involves the use of conversation decision trees and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
Data Engineering Data Engineering, which is separate from but intersects with Data Science, is the very complex practice of methodically applying processes, tools and technologies to solve data, information and knowledge problems. Unlike many theoretical methods, Data Engineering always focuses on producing tangible outputs that can be delivered, operated, supported and (most importantly) continuously improved.
Data Engineers often have a very wide array of knowledge related to many different data processing and manipulation technologies, understanding how and when to use them, how to connect them together, how to package them, how to deliver them, how to operate them, how to support them, and how to optimize them. Most importantly, Data Engineers spend a great deal of time understanding funding, costs, and Return on Investment (ROI) for data related solutions (both software and hardware solutions).
Data Science Data Science is the methodology or practice of exploring and working with data to discover and calculate new data or data that is not normally achievable through human labor. In addition to all forms of data processing, common sub-areas of Data Science include but are not limited to practices such Data Analytics, Informatics, Predictive Analysis, Machine Learning, Reporting, Data Visualizing, Info-Graphing, Semantic Data Analysis and Processing, and Natural Language Processing (NLP).
Like most scientific areas of practice, Data Science often includes a tremendous amount of trial and error, much of it which may not lead to usable outcomes. For those outcomes that are usable, it is common to work with Data Engineers to commoditize them and apply them to broader and more resuable problem domains.
Dialogue Mapping Dialogue Mapping is a variation on Mind Mapping that specializes on the decomposition and analysis of conversations or dialogues, between two or more people, with the intent to learn and identify new ideas for solutions. Refer to Mind Mapping for more information.
Future Backwards Future Backwards is a form of retrospective analysis that attempts to understand things like events perceptions and outcomes that occurred in the past in order to understand how the past may influence the future, either positively or negatively.
Gamification Gamification is a method based on the psychological theory of Reward and Punishment that creates a competitive environment between activity participants or workers. Successes are publicly rewarded and failures are publicly punished. We commonly see the personification of Gamification in video games, in business help desk centers, and in sales organizations.
Idea Capture Often referred to as the professional discipline of Idea Management, Idea Capture is a methodology for systematically collecting, decomposing, analyzing, planning for, and delivering solutions for ideas.
Induction Training Induction training is a form of introduction for new starters in order to enable them to do their work in a new profession or job role within a business (or establishment) Training can be systematic or unsystematic training. Induction training is systematic training. It is usually performed for Human Resources development.
Interviewing Interviewing is a human interaction method that allows the person conducting the interview to collect knowledge through an iterative process of question asking and answer gathering. Interviewing is often a component of other human-centric KM methods.
Knowledge Cafe A Knowledge Cafe is a means of bringing a group of people together to have an open, creative conversation on a topic of mutual interest to surface their collective knowledge, to share ideas and insights and to gain a deeper understanding of the subject and the issues involved.
(See World Cafe for more information.)
Knowledge Fair A Knowledge Fairs is a face to face event where participants set up displays to share their knowledge initiatives. Knowledge Fairs can be public or private (within an enterprise). They are intended to be free-flowing, open, flexible, and non-hierarchical. Participants can see what is what is shared, can interact with each other, can provide feedback, and can learn from each other.
Like other fairs, KFs are designed to have booths, stands and tables where people can walk to and congregate.
Knowledge Mapping A variation on Mind Maps or Mind Mapping, Knowledge Mapping takes a visual approach to decomposing a relevant topic into its dependenancies, sub-dependences and relationships. Relationships are sometimes semantic and can be categorized and grouped for organization.
Knowledge Mapping often leveraged Post-It notes until advanced digital Mind Mapping software was made available.
Knowledge Market A Knowledge Market is synonymous to a Knowledge Fair.
(Refer to Knowledge Fair for more information.)
Lessons Learned Lessons Learned is an explicit variation on Post-Mortems. Work is performed, after an activity is completed, to collect and create reusable lessons about that activity that can be passed onto others who may perform the same or similar activities in the future, with the intent to make future work more efficient and effective than past work.
The explicit outcome of a LL method is one or more documents (paper or digital) called a Lesson Learned, which is published to broader communities for reuse.
Liberating Structures Liberating Structures is a method which is intended to facilitate creativity or the creative process.
Mentoring An ancient and timeless methodology for transfering knowledge from masters to students through the use of one-on-one (1-on-1) teaching and learning. In this methodology, the master or teacher transfers knowledge to the student or apprentice and provides customized and often subjective feedback with the intent to teach the student about outcomes. There is an ongoing feedback loop where the master teaches, the apprentice learns, the master criticizes and teaches corrections, and the student applies such learned corrections, until the loop ends and the apprentice becomes a master, him or herself.
Mind Mapping A methodology that visually decomposes a topic, such as an idea or a problem, into organized dependencies, subdependencies and relationships.
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Narrative Capture Narrative capture is a loose but iterative means of capture, decomposing, and analyzing stories. It is very much like story-telling, where narratives can be short or long.
Narratives are thought to contain burried knowledge that can be surfaced through conversations that explore them more deeply.
Oral Histories Oral Histories is variation on Storytelling that relies on oral transmission of stories, from generation to generation, over very long periods of time. Examples include but are not limited to, family stories, culture histories, legends and myths. Unlike documented history, Oral Stories are not always documented and, when they are, there are often multiple story permutations because of story-drift, when being passed from person to person. It is very much like the game called Telephone, which is played by children.
Pause and Learn Pause and Learn is a methodology created and used by the U.S. NASA agency. A Pause and Learn (PaL) session is an intended time for reflecting among fellow community or team members. A PaL session usually focuses on recent events, as pausing should occur shortly after the event that is intended to be decomposed and analyzed for learning. PaL is very much like mini-Post-Mortems, where many smaller Post-Mortems are performed often and after many individual project activities, rather than waiting to perform on big Post-Mortem at the end of a project, where much knowledge can already be lost.
PaL is simple to implement and requires a small time commitment. Typically, a facilitator from outside the team is brought in to guide the discussion over a period of one or two hours. The primary benefit of the session is the participants' own learning and reflection. Reports are not required and the environment is one of non-attribution.
PaL practices are naturally embedded in modern Agile project management methodologies, such as Peer-Programming, SCRUM, and eXtreme Programming.
Peer Assist Peer Assist is a technique used by project teams to solicit assistance from project stakeholders, peers and subject matter experts regarding a significant issue the team is facing.
Peer Assists (or PAs) are part of a process of what British Petroleum (BP) calls learning before doing, which is about gathering knowledge before embarking on a project or piece of work.
A PA meeting usually lasts from half a day to 2 days. Both the project team and the peers discuss the project and potential issues or concerns with the intent to provide solutions.
Post Implementation Review See Post-Mortem Analysis (PMA).
Post-Mortem Analysis Post-Mortem Analysis (or just Post-Mortem) is the process of taking time to analyze activities and events for knowledge (such as Lessons Learned), after the activities or events have occurred.
A weakness of Post-Mortem Analysis is that knowledge can be lost between the time the activity or work is performed and the time that it is analyzed for knowledge. However, it has been proven as an effective means of capturing knowledge for human labor situations, where the labor cannot be stopped so that the laborers can document their work as they go along (e.g. fire-fighting).
Pre-Mortem Analysis Pre-Mortem is a method that waits until starting new work before analyzing past work for things that can positively or negatively impact the intended new work. The criticism of the Pre-Mortem methodology is that a significant amount of critical knowledge can and is often lost between the time the old work was completed and the new work is intended to begin... sometimes years. This leads to the further criticism that: If you have time to perform a Pre-Mortem, now, you could have applied that same time to perform a Post-Mortem at the time the old work ended, so as to capture fresher knowledge.
Randomized Coffee Trials A Randomised Coffee Trial or RCT is used to randomly connect people in an organization and give them time to meet, have a coffee, and talk about whatever they wish. Clearly it is not about sharing coffee but about spending a short period of time speaking with each other wiht the intent to share knowledge. An RCT can be run in a wide variety of ways that can range from highly information (e.g. just undocumented conversation) to highly structure (e.g. using note taking, decomposition and analysis tools).
Retrospect See Post-Mortem.
Reverse Brainstorming Reverse brainstorming is a way to bring a new perspective to idea generation that can be especially helpful when a team is cynical about a project or lacking energy. If you have members of your team who are hostile or worn out, this approach can take advantage of the hostility or fatigue.
Reverse Mentoring A method where the Master learns new things about his or her area of expertise through the questioning performed by the Apprentice. Through questions, the Apprentice provides the Master with new and different perspectives for looking at his or her craft through the eyes of a novice.
River Diagramming River Diagramming is a methodology for developing aggregate data flow views, between people and/or systems. A common example of such a view is a Sankey Diagram.
NOTE: Because the development of tools like Sankey Diagrams yields the same intended results, River Diagramming as a methodology is rarely spoken about or used. A more widely accepted methodology is Systems Analysis (or Data Analysis).
Sense Making or Sensemaking A distinctive and powerful approach to organizational knowledge management. Sensemaking is about what is and what it is knowledge, and about what can usefully guide the design of knowledge management systems.
Sensemaking is distinguished from the traditional decision-making view of a manager, which assumes that he or she faces an independently knowable environment and prospectively chooses courses of action in order to achieve certain purposes. Sensemaking, in contrast, assumes that a manager faces an equivocal situation and must retrospectively impose a sense of order on said situation. Sensemaking also assumes that the equivocal situations people encounter in organizational life are the result of their own previous actions.
Shadowing Shadowing is synonymous to the methods Apprenticeship or Mentoring. Refer to Mentoring for more details.
Social Network Analysis Social network analysis (SNA) is the mapping and measuring of relationships and flows between connected entities, such as but not limited to people and systems, which exist to facilitate socialization between people. The nodes in the network are usually represented by people, roles, and groups (or communities) while the links show relationships or flows between such nodes. Often relationships are also semantic, having descriptive meanings that provide contexts for connections between entities.
Stealthstorming Stealthstorming (STELTH) is a method for decomposing and analyzing a problem or idea for solutions options. It sometimes manifests itself ascovert decisions and actions in an organizatio,n aimed at ensuring the implementation of innovation in a manner that goes unnoticed by others, usually leadership. Stealthstorming is considered an under the radar approach for getting to results. NOTE: Many leaders often frown upon this methodology.
Storytelling Storytelling is a timeless and ancient methodology for passing knowledge from one person to one or more other people, specifically by conveying narratives or stories, either short or long. Stories can be communicated orally or via media (e.g. paper, slates, etc.). Modern Storytelling has included digital capture of stories through digital media.
Systems Analysis Systems Analysis is a knowledge discovery, collection, classification, organization and analysis process that drives the development of Systems Requirements (e.g. Hardware Systems and Software Systems). Requirements are then handed off to specialists who focus on architecting and designing solutions to meet said requirements.
Because systems exist to enable and facilitate businesses and because systems have business business logic built into them, Systems Analysis is considered an analysis superset that includes Business Analysis.
The World Cafe A method that uses seven design principles and a simple method, the World Cafe is a considered to be a powerful social technology for engaging people in conversations that matter, offering an effective antidote to the fast-paced fragmentation and lack of connection in the modern world. Based on the understanding that conversation is the core process that drives personal, business, and organizational life, the World Cafe is more than just a method, a process, or technique. It is considered to be a way of thinking and being together, sourced in a philosophy of conversational leadership.
Value Network Analysis Value Network Analysis (VNA) is a methodology for capturing, understanding, using, visualizing, and optimizing:
  1. internal and external value networks and
  2. complex economic ecosystems.

The methodology includes visualizing grouped and categorized sets of relationships from a dynamic whole systems perspective. VNA is often used for determining the value conversion of financial and non-financial assets, such as intellectual property and intellectual capital, into other forms of value.
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