Mind tree case study
How does MindTree create, develop, and sustain communities of practice? b) What role do they play at the company? Answer: a) MindTree encourages employees who share a common passion to form groups or communities for learning, knowledge sharing, business development, or self-development. People passionate about any particular topic have to attend a workshop to prove his/her commitment to the topic.
If selected, these volunteers, called “Champions”, are allowed to form and lead communities. Each group is led by multiple champions, who want to take on the role and are passionate enough to reach out to others. The selected community champions then determine the process by which other employees, who have a commonality of purpose, become part of the community. Members collectively and collaboratively determine their community’s objectives, and champions then drive the group toward meeting those objectives.
The basic objectives of the communities are learning and knowledge sharing. Champions are responsible for sustaining communities by ensuring that their communities make progress on their goals, while motivating people to think and act on their own. When the objectives of a community are fulfilled, it is either closed, or morphed into a different community or transitioned to a higher level of maturity from community of interest to capacity building. b) The IT-BPO industry is a fast changing industry. The knowledge intensive products provided by the industry mature over time and become commodities. As stated by Soota, MindTree is a combination of consulting-led IT-services business and intellectual property-led R&D-services business.
The IT-services business has a lot of intellectual capital in tacit and un-codified form. The R&D services require unique solutions for different projects and therefore the relevant knowledge can not be codified. Both the businesses are closely knit through a matrix structure of employees. Successful codification strategy needs commoditization of expertise in different areas in the IT services as fast as possible and move it to scale and reuse. To achieve this objective, MindTree needed to bring people together to communicate knowledge and capture the same with the help of technology. Knowledge sharing became possible with the formation of different communities of practice.
This platform also enabled the employees assigned to the R&D business to have improved communication for knowledge sharing. These communities enabled knowledge sharing and collaboration through social interactions, brainstorming, solving problems, sharing techniques, comparing successes and failures, and keeping abreast of market and technological trends. Community group members were able to share market research data and customer feedback. They were able to have better understanding and take the community’s perspective on new technology and new ideas to the prospects and customers, thereby, increasing the chances for cross selling and building a long term relationship with them. Increased learning through communities also helped to reduce the need for registering for online courses. 2.a) What is Bagchi hoping to accomplish as the Gardener? b) What is your assessment of the Gardening process?
Answer: a) As the Gardener, Bagchi is hoping to improve self-awareness and expand the leadership capacities of the top 100 people at MindTree by engaging with them in a series of one-on-one discussions about their “personal-professional” issues. The objective of these one-on-one discussions was to unlock their hidden potential. Expanding the firm’s leadership capacity beyond the founding team is critical to achieve the $1 billion revenue target. b) Assessment of the Gardening process:
•The process will increase the leadership capacity required to achieve the strategic objective of becoming a billion dollar company. Therefore, the Gardening process is not just in alignment with the firm’s strategy, but it is actually co-creating the strategy for the organization by unlocking the hidden potential of the employees. •The Gardening process is also independent of the organization’s other processes. Bagchi does not report to anyone and nobody reports to him. The discussions between Bagchi and the employees remain private and do not affect the employees’ performance appraisal or any other process. Rather, the process aides in knowledge sharing as it improve the leadership qualities of the employees.
•The gardening process consisted of six steps, designed to identify leaders and take them through a process of self-discovery and reflection. Those prospective leaders were guided by a series of questions and the process ends with the formulation of a plan for the future. •All the six steps of the gardening process are identified by the start and end of certain actions.
•The gardening process is certainly a positive step towards improved knowledge management. Enabling change and shift in mindset would lead to knowledge creation for innovation and motivation for knowledge
sharing and collaboration.
•The gardening process is handled only by Bagchi. In case of absence of Bagchi due to unforeseen circumstances, the process will get hampered. Therefore, I recommend Bagchi to form a team to handle this process. 3.a) How does the 5*50 initiative alter the roles and responsibilities of the knowledge management (KM) function? b) What changes would you propose? Answer: The overall objective of the 5*50 initiative was to get new ideas from the employees to expand the firm’s business. Earlier KM at MindTree was building KM infrastructure.
However, “intrapreneurship” required for the 5*50 initiative needs expansion of the leadership qualities of the firm beyond the founding team. The Gardening process is a step forward in this direction. The KM function has to support initiatives like the Gardening process in order to achieve the goal of becoming a billion dollar company. In other words, KM has to co-create strategy for the firm. To get new ideas, the company has to enable its employees to interact and share knowledge with fellow employees, partners, customers, suppliers and academicians. “Customers are included as possessors of important knowledge about the business and are potential contributors of ideas for improved operations and innovation.
1” The KM infrastructure would now also encompass partners, customers, suppliers and academicians to enrich the knowledge of the business. Advancements in IT have to be exploited to get the maximum benefit from KM by encompassing all these stakeholders. All the stake holders mentioned should not just be integrated with the KM system by IT enabled infrastructure; they should also be allowed to have more discussions with the employees, so that tacit knowledge, that can not be codified can be shared.
The stakeholders should be allowed to become part of certain communities, attend meetings, seminars and give lectures and share their experience. Focusing on external stakeholders would enhance knowledge creation and sharing that is required to bolster the intellectual capital upon which the company’s prosperity depends.
1. G. Anthony Gorry and Robert A. Westbrook, “Customers, knowledge management, and intellectual capital”, 6.
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