Date of Award

5-2011

Embargo Period

3-23-2012

Degree Name

Master of Design (MDes)

Department

Design

Advisor(s)

Suguru Ishizaki

Abstract

In many small to mid-size nonprofits, a large amount of knowledge and information is confined to local folders, hard copy formats or even specific people, making it inaccessible to those who could benefit from it. This informal practice causes duplication of efforts and prevents the organization from maintaining critical knowledge and learning from past experience.

Partnering with The Center for Victims of Violence and Crime (CVVC), a Pittsburgh-based human services nonprofit organization, I applied human-centered design methods to identify their specific informal knowledge and information processes and structures. Using the research findings, I developed a sustainable and systematic knowledge management practice that also takes into account the constraints of funding and time, which many nonprofits face.

To support this practice, I created a system with a hierarchical information architecture that is able to expand overtime to accommodate the growth of the organization and its programs. It enables clear organization, storage and retrieval of explicit knowledge documents as well as the related tacit knowledge, creating the necessary basis for sharing and collaboration. By simplifying and formalizing major administrative tasks, the system also streamlines organizational processes, allowing the staff to work more effectively.

Implemented with Microsoft SharePoint 2010, the system creates a trustworthy environment that is necessary to facilitate organizational learning and maintain critical knowledge, leading to sustainability and innovation.

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