Dennerlein Sebastian, Kaiser René, Barreiros Carla, Gutounig Robert , Rauter Romana
Knowledge Strategies in Organisations – a Case for the Barcamp Format
Proceedings of the 16th European Conference on Knowledge Management, ACPI, Udine, Italy, 2015
Barcamps are events for open knowledge exchange. They are generally open to everyone, irrespective of background or discipline, and request no attendance fee. Barcamps are structured by only a small set of common rules and invite participants to an interactive and interdisciplinary discourse on an equal footing. In contrast to scientific conferences, the program is decided by the participants themselves on-site. Barcamps are often called un-conferences or ad-hoc conferences. Since barcamps are typically attended by people in their spare time, their motivation to actively engage and benefit from participating is very high. This paper presents a case study conducted at the annual Barcamp Graz in Austria. Within the case study, two field studies (quantitative and qualitative) and a parallel participant observation were carried out between 2010 and 2014. In these investigations we elaborated on the differences of the barcamp to scientific conferences, inferred characteristics of barcamps for knowledge generation, sharing and transfer in organizations and propose three usages of barcamps in organizations: further education of employees, internal knowledge transfer and getting outside knowledge in. Barcamps can be used as further education for employees enabling not only knowledge sharing, generation and transfer via the participating employees, but also for informally promoting a company’s competences. With respect to internal knowledge transfer, hierarchical boundaries can be temporarily broken by allowing informal and interactive discussion. This can lead to the elicitation of ‘hidden’ knowledge, knowledge transfer resulting in more efficient teamwork and interdepartmental cooperation. Finally, external stakeholders such as customers and partners can be included in this process to get outside knowledge in and identify customer needs, sketch first solutions and to start concrete projects. As a result of the case study, we hypothesise as a step towards further research that organisations can benefit from utilising this format as knowledge strategy.