Knowledge Leadership at State

Effective use of the Department's knowledge resources is important and urgent on numerous levels -- the success of American diplomacy, the Department's leadership of the foreign policy process, the efficiency of its organizations, and individual job satisfaction. The Knowledge Leadership initiative recognizes that the Department’s knowledge base is an important asset that deserves purposeful management. Just as important, it provides new means of communication and collaboration that give Department personnel a sense of shared ownership and change and expand the way they employ knowledge resources in their work.

Knowledge management reforms in State received an important stimulus from the war against terrorism. The Overseas Presence Advisory Panel report that followed the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 recommended that the Department establish better knowledge management processes. The commissions that studied the 9/11/01 attacks and the issue over intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq also made clear that the U.S. Government as a whole needed to do better at sharing information and collaborating.

Accordingly, IRM’s Office of eDiplomacy developed the knowledge leadership initiative in 2003 after examining nearly two dozen public and private sector organizations with successful knowledge management programs. The Under Secretary for Management approved the strategy, which aims to strengthen the Department's leadership of foreign policy formulation at home and implementation abroad with our diplomatic partners by putting the Department's knowledge resources at the disposal of personnel whenever and wherever needed.

This initiative calls for better ways to find information, network with others, and share knowledge – in essence, to encourage and enable Department personnel to securely and effectively find and contribute knowledge anywhere, anytime. There are four main components in the Knowledge Leadership framework:

  • Collaboration across geographic and organizational boundaries through the use of self-forming, self-managing online communities;
  • Better access to knowledge resources;
  • Better access to expertise;
  • Widespread use of IT tools that build knowledge-sharing into the daily workflow.

IRM’s Office of eDiplomacy has designed, developed and supports a suite of widely used platforms and programs that serve one or more of these goals. These include Corridor (access to expertise), Diplopedia and Enterprise Search (access to knowledge resources), and Communities @ State (collaboration across geographic and organizational boundaries).  The Current provides access to knowledge resources inside and outside the Department of State and promotes collaboration and communication via Corridor and Communities @ State. All the tools make use of versatile, up-to-date information technology that enables Department personnel to find information and connect, communicate and collaborate securely and effectively with colleagues worldwide.