So you know I was recently in Taipei, Taiwan. I was invited to attend a KM Study Meeting. There were 24 participants from countries such as Iran, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines, Fiji and India. I was invited as a KM “technical expert”. We spent four days together talking about KM measurement and I promised I’d bring you a blog post summarising the discussion. I haven’t quite finished my report that I have to prepare but I can tell you that it was a wonderful opportunity to spend time reflecting on all facets of measurement and even explore the question – should we measure KM initiatives at all?
Some of the participants were university Professors, so they brought a lot of pointy-headed theoretical stuff to the meeting (including me I guess since I’m an Adj Prof). There were quite a few people who were just starting out on what we all seem to call the “KM journey”, so they had little idea of what KM itself was all about let alone measurement techniques. Some participants had implemented KM projects before. There was a mixture of Government, education and not-for-profit organisations taking part.
So guess the best thing to do is just summarise for you the key discussion and/or learning points. We also undertook a group exercise – trying to prepare a metrics template. I don’t have all the group presentations yet but can post an example of the sorts of metrics one group came up with. I was relieved (frankly) to see that other countries are struggling with KM measurement. Of course, in my KM work I produce qualitative and quantitative measurements but am usually so busy just implementing KM, that I don’t have the time to design a full-on KM measurement framework with bells and whistles.
Here’s what we talked about:
- KM measurement (KMM) should not detract from the important task of KM implementation – there is a danger that too much time and energy can be spent on KMM at the expense of KM itself. This is a question of cost of KMM versus value of KMM. Is KMM part of the old organisational paradigm?
- There is no clarity around what to measure exactly;
- How does an organisation assess the readiness to measure KM? At what point in a KM implementation would the organisation and individuals be acceptable to using metrics? Should metrics be part of the Deployment phase of KM? Or should metrics (such as benchmarking) be used at the start of a KM project?
- Any KMM framework must take into account People, Process, Technology, Content and Leadership domains – so that all facets of KM are being measured;
- How can critical or new knowledge be identified? Measured?
- Learning should be a key aspect of KMM;
- KMM should take into account individual/team/organisational/societal capabilities;
- What exactly is the OUTCOME of KM and what to measure? Innovation? Learning? Capabilities? Growth? Profit? All of these?
- How can KM contribute to the sustainability of an organisation and how can this be measured?
- Can consistent metrics be used across different industries and sectors? eg education, manufacturing, service industries.
- What is the impact of trust issues?
Actually, trust (a topic I’ve blogged on before here and here) took up a fair bit of discussion time and a working group (which I will be part of) will develop a trust instrument to measure levels of organisational trust. Here are a few slides from one of the group presentations showing ideas around KM metrics. We also delved into Intellectual Property Rights such as patents but I don’t have slides for this yet.
We will now move to a site like Ning and continue our work on developing more specific metrics. It was a great meeting to make new connections. One of the Professors from Indonesia has asked me to help with one of his Masters students, who is doing a thesis on Social Network Analysis and trust networks. Looking forward to that.