“There is nothing new under the sun” becomes a popular proverb among business consultants. The proverb describes that we actually don’t need to much invest resources (e.g. time, cost, person, etc) in trial and error process during finding out the ways or methods to solving business problems due to the fact that somebody out there maybe have ever done it. What the business consultants have to do first is look for the solutions from variety of resources, such as: colleagues in the same office or in other affiliated firm offices who have ever conducted the similar assignments, working papers of previous similar assignment, experts books, academic journal, etc.
There are reasons not to re-invent “the wheel”. In common assignments, the business consultants are always targeted to execute and complete the works as soon as possible without sacrifice the quality of service. Learning from sources who share their knowledge and experiences will save much time, and then the available remaining time can be utilized to improve or add more value the delivered work. What the great is that frequently the advance knowledge from other affiliated consulting offices at overseas (Of course from developed country such as: US, England, Australia, etc) are utilized or sold at developing countries, like Indonesia, hence a transfer of advance knowledge is being a benefit in this knowledge sharing process.
The prominent accounting and business consulting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), is really aware with the power of knowledge sharing. The firm developed a portal web to consolidate the knowledge spread among its hundreds of firm offices around the world. Consultants from any offices are encouraged to upload their work, research, sample of marketing materials, proposal, etc, into the web portal, and then all of those documents are available to be downloaded by other consultants. Through this web portal, the PwC Consultants from Indonesia are easily able to learn the methods invented by their colleagues in other offices. The portal then becomes powerful media to facilitate knowledge and product improvements in PwC Indonesia. Commonly, accounting and consulting firms which have affiliation with other firms at overseas will have such knowledge sharing database.
Our people (refers to Indonesia people) must learn from what other groups, like above consulting firm, have done in appreciating and managing the knowledge sharing. Our current national profiles have completely reflected that we need development of knowledge, and as explained by our proverb above “there is nothing new under the sun”, we don’t need to invent the things by ourselves since some body has ever made it. What we just need actually is the sources where we are able to get desired knowledge and then focus on our efforts to improve those existing knowledge.
In Indonesia, many people are not as lucky as internationally affiliated consultants, therefore some breakthrough actions should be started from the people who “have” the knowledge in order to contribute in knowledge improvement for our communities. Here are the proposals:
Open the Library of Universities or Schools for Public Access
Various books are available in universities’ and schools’ library. Especially in university’s library, we will found a large number of books from any fields due to the fact that many universities have various faculties, e.g. politics, economics, law, health, engineering, etc. It is our understanding that the books provided by the university administrator to facilitate its students. However, let us imagine the impact of pioneering the knowledge sharing through opening those libraries for public access, either for free or for charge, maybe in weekend when the libraries are not utilized by its owners.
By little arrangement on its cost necessity, membership policy, security of university’s asset, etc, this idea will no be difficult to execute. It’s true that there will be extra efforts from university to realize this idea, but that is why university is established, “To share the knowledge”.
Optimizing the Information Technology (IT) to Develop Knowledge Database
Some Indonesia web portals, e.g. http://www.hukumonline.com and http://www.ortax.org, have been pioneering in managing the knowledge sharing through utilization of web technology. Hukumonline.com administrator (again, it is private and non-government initiative) put their efforts to develop and update a database of laws and regulations which have ever been issued by the government (a party who actually is responsible to provide such regulations database to public). Ortax.org does the same thing but they focus on taxation area.
The efforts like those 2 (two) web portals should be disseminated and prioritized to some areas which are critical for Indonesian development, for instances: knowledge database for small medium enterprises (SME), knowledge database for English learning, knowledge database for Democracy Improvement, knowledge database for Law Awareness, etc. Those entire databases which are considered important can be developed through “checklist” format which ease Indonesia to understand it.
Initiatives to Establish Community Libraries
This is not a new idea. Before this article, many people had already been touched to help unfortunate people through establishing public libraries by their own resources (to say that it is non-government initiatives). This initiative doesn’t need a huge cost actually, with only tens of books and no need of specific room, the public library can be established and located at garage, home porch or public hall. Of course the public library will be more realizable if the initiative is executed by the neighborhood association (Rukun Tetangga/Rukun Warga) and becomes the community’s project. If there is a public library in each residence, we believe that kids who live in or around the residence will be more facilitated to obtain the useful knowledge. ***end***