Knowledge fairs are face to face events in which participants set up displays to share their undertakings. Knowledge Fairs can be internal to an organization or open to partners and the public. They are “free-flowing, open, flexible, and non-hierarchical…. People can see what is happening, can interact with each other, and can see what others are doing. It has the same characteristics as a medieval fair, mixing up all different levels and types of people in a variety of interaction.” (CGIAR Toolkit). Knowledge fairs can be designed for internal and/or external audiences.
From GD Net: A Knowledge Fair aims to:
One of the first knowledge fairs took place at the World Bank in March 1998. Designed as a way of communicating what knowledge management or KM means in those early days of knowledge management/sharing, it not only showcased the various activities around the organization, but actually legitimized the knowledge movement. Any resistance to holding the event and/or participating in it melted when told that Jim Wolfensohn, then president of the Bank Group, would be opening the fair. And, then he said that the fair had brought his vision of a knowledge bank to life, that his concept was now visible to everyone in the atrium! Knowledge Fairs and Expos were held subsequently at the Annual Meetings of the Bank and the IMF, with the latest one being held in June 2012.
Knowledge Fairs require some planning. Steve Denning and the ILO offer these Dos and Don'ts for organizing a Knowledge Fair: