Knowledge Management Initiative Drives Drupal Innovations


When it comes to collaboration, you need to pick your partners wisely.

The Forum’s Knowledge Management (KM) Initiative is an innovative collaboration by 21 regional associations and the Forum to provide a technology infrastructure to meet the requirements of RAs and strengthen the collaboration and knowledge sharing between RAs and colleague organizations. Working jointly as a network, we can capitalize on the knowledge and support gained from working with peers, reduce duplication, quickly spread innovative solutions, and seamlessly share content.

Over the course of the last few months, we’ve been working with ThinkShout, a bleeding edge Drupal developer, to revamp the KM Initiative, replacing our aging systems with the most advanced CMS and CRM solutions available. When we selected ThinkShout as our partner on this project, we knew we were getting innovative thinkers who understand the advantages of working collaboratively; after all, they’re regular contributors to the Drupal development community. But even with our high expectations, ThinkShout has surprised us with some of their out-of-the-box ingenuity, building new solutions when none existed before.

Perhaps the best example of this is the Relevant Content BEAN module. Okay, things are about to get nerdy. You can read all the details over on ThinkShout’s blog, but I’ll do my best to summarize.

Have you ever wanted to easily create dynamic sidebar content on one of your web pages? Say a user is on our Public Policy page reading about Foundations on the Hill. Said user wonders what other Public Policy events are coming up. Well, our handy-dandy Relevant Content BEAN shows them there’s a PolicyWorks Institute, ABAG is hosting a candidate’s roundtable, and NCG is holding a briefing on their new report. The beautiful thing here is that I as a content manager, didn’t have to put all those events into the sidebar, the BEAN automatically pulled them based on my criteria (events tagged “Public Policy”) and across time it will continue to dynamically generate that listing with next few events coming up.

You can create as many Relevant Content BEANs as you like. In addition to the Public Policy page, I’m sure we’ll create them for Knowledge Management, Grantmaker Education, latest resources added to the Knowledgebase, collaborations with the Council on Foundations, upcoming webinars, yadda yadda yadda. The list goes on and on. This module gives us an amazing amount of flexibility as we strategically layout our content, with minimal long-term management. It’s a Communications Manager’s dream!

I’m excited to see how the regionals use these tools, and the others ThinkShout has in store. It’s a whole new world out there and when the Drupal-Salesforce KM platform launches later this year, you’ll see the full suite of benefits to this network collaboration on display.

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