I3 UPDATE / ENTOVATION International News
No. 29: May 1999
Global Knowledge Incubators - David J. Skyrme
Spain: Getting up to Knowledge Speed - Debra M. Amidon
Brazil: Creating New Knowledge Businesses - David J. Skyrme
New Map for a New Economy - An ETD Analysis
KM and Turnover Survey - Nick Bontis
Global Knowledge in Latest Journal Issue
New Yearbook on Knowledge Management
Tour de Knowledge Monde' heard round the globe - Debra M. Amidon
Knowledge Management Events
Welcome to this edition of I3 UPDATE / ENTOVATION International News, a free briefing analyzing developments and key issues in the networked
knowledge economy. An international flavour to this issue due to Debra's
and my recent travels. If you have an international perspective let us know
I3 UPDATE is also available by email. See the administrative information page.
David J. Skyrme
David J. Skyrme
As the knowledge economy unfolds there are a growing number of
opportunities to create world-class knowledge businesses. Already we have
seen this happening in Internet related businesses. Stock prices of
companies like Amazon.com have risen to stratospheric levels on the US
stock market. Some analysts say that they are far too overpriced, while
others say that the potential of the Internet has hardly yet been
scratched. This phenomenon looks about to be repeated in the Far East, with
Business Week (17th May) reporting big surges since January in stocks such
as CCT Hong Kong (182 per cent rise), Yahoo Japan (875 per cent) and Daou
Technology Korea (260 per cent). But in this globally connected world does
location still matter? The staff at IC2 (the Institute of
Innovation, Creativity and Capital) at the University of Austin certainly
A Silicon Valley in Much Less Time
It took Silicon Valley some 40 years to reach the state of prominence it
now enjoys in the high technology field. In contrast, Austin Texas which
was a depressed area with high unemployment in 1980 has achieved similar
status in just over 15 years. It has created thousands of new high
technology jobs and hundreds of new companies. It is the home of Dell
Computer, as well as the location of advanced research and manufacturing
facilities for IBM and Motorola. There are over 300 software companies,
many started locally, in the area.
Much of this success is due to the vision and drive of George Kozmetsky,
the founder of IC2. In the 'Austin model' developed by himself and
colleagues, the infrastructure in which new high technology businesses can
get started and thrive depends on several interrelated strands:
- Talent - of enterprising individuals, backed up by good educational and
- Know-how - both technical and business
- Technology - innovation in both the lab and the marketplace
- Capital - from both venture capitalists and private individuals.
The Austin Technology Incubator (ATI), started in 1989, is one facility in
which these strands are brought together. It links together academia,
business and government. Start-up companies are given space and access to
expertise and capital networks. Since its founding ATI has 'graduated' over
50 companies that have generated over $700 million in revenues and created
over 1,800 new jobs. It is a microcosm of what is happening in the wider
Austin area, which can rightfully be called a technopolis, a location with
a concentration of high technology businesses, the type of business that
has grown faster than the average and has generated high levels of wealth
(the city is reputed to have several hundred home grown millionaires!).
As IC2 looks forward to the next millennium, it sees itself as increasingly
creating knowledge partnerships globally. It recently announced plans for a
$25 million Global Knowledge Community centre to be built by 2003, to house
the faculty, the business development 'think tank' (or 'do tank' as some
staff prefer to call it), and an expanded incubator. It brings together
entrepreneurs, business leaders, venture capitalists, lawyers, bankers,
educators and many other stakeholders in new business development. Using
its expertise on developing technopoli, IC2 already has partnerships with
several other institutions around the world, such as Science Park Izmaylovo
(outside Moscow) and the Beijing Institute of Technology.
What Do Knowledge Businesses Need?
The Austin model, and other technopoli like Silicon Valley and Route 128
have served their local communities well in the last few decades in
developing new businesses based on science and technology. But will the
same ingredients work as successfully where knowledge businesses are
concerned? At one level, the experience to date suggest so. There are
definite geographic clusters, such as the multimedia music industry around
Manchester in England or specialized financial services in London. At these
locations appropriate infrastructures (of suppliers, services and
facilities) develop and are shared, while proximity helps tacit knowledge
sharing as people interact with their peers and move between jobs. Another
factor appears to be common - the need to bring together in networks the
knowledge creators (researchers, inventors, people with ideas), business
know-how and access to capital.
However, you can create a knowledge business from your home, anywhere in
the world, and carry out many of these functions and interactions online.
You can recruit remotely based staff and work in virtual corporations. But
is it the same as having an infrastructure of knowledge resources locally
and being able to pop round for a meeting at short notice? Only time will
tell. There is no doubt that many of the activities and infrastructure
needed are becoming available and acceptable on the Internet. A knowledge
incubator could just as easily be a network of different communities in
cyberspace, but with a specific configuration and focus. Or perhaps there
really is no substitute for creating knowledge business clusters in a given
locality. In any event, just as the technopolis has served certain
communities well for technology based business, we do need to develop the
equivalent for knowledge-based businesses - a 'kenoplis'? - whether in
cyberspace or in a place near to you!
Debra M. Amidon
Don't think that because there is not too much visibility on the knowledge
management scene by a country is not bursting with insight and direction
with the new agenda.
It is certainly not that Spain is without its documented intellectuals, nor
its widely acclaimed explorers and adventurers - Don Quixote being just one
example, but in the world presence of knowledge strategy, Spain has been
quiet about its accomplishments and aspirations, until now.
In only 9 short months, a focus called Club Intelect - led by Mr. Eduardo
Bueno Campos, President, Euroforum - http://www.euroforum.es - has been
able to provide an intellectual and social nexus for dialogue on the topic.
Already, the consortium boasts over 34 members, including notable leaders
such as IBM, KPMG, Siemens, Microsoft, Ericsson, Coca-Cola, Hay Group, HP,
Indra Systems, Telefonica and more.
Upon invitation from Dr. Jose Gasalla, located on the Global Knowledge
Leadership Map http://www.entovation.com/kleadmap/index.htm, I provided
three presentations for the membership: "La Economade Valor Inyangible,"
"Creanao una Estrategia de Innovacion de Conocimientos," and "Visualizanaos
las Oportunidades en la Econimia del Conocimiento." Now, it is interesting
that there would be such an interest in the first place; and that the depth
of their interest in the topic was significant. But in addition, the
hundreds of slides that were used in the presentation were translated into
Spanish within a week to optimize receptivity of the audience an optimize
dialogue. This was impressive and rather unusual!
The conference also had local representation providing updates on the
activity of Spain with the OECD. Dr. Paloma Sanchez, Professor of Applied
Economics, Autonomous University of Madrid, discussed the efficiency of
capital markets. She described the activities of the advisory committee and
their search for the proper methodology for their research. She and her
peers understand fundamentally the need to integrate what have previously
been SEPARATE indicators for innovation and knowledge/learning. She
outlined the plans to rise these opportunities at the upcoming meeting
scheduled in Amsterdam. She is realistic in the need to be realistic in
what they can measure; but passionate about the need to be measuring the
Eduardo Bruno outlined the plans for research which include:
- Analyze what the member companies are doing in terms of Intellectual
Capital and Knowledge Management.
- Provide case analysis - examples of how knowledge management strategies
can be implemented with empirical data.
- Comparative studies where new indicators of performance are being used.
More important, he sketched the strategy for Club Intelect to be visible in
a number of local, national and global forums: 9th Annual Conference of the
Scientific Board of Economics; the 19th Annual Meeting of the Strategic
Management Society in Berlin; the Latin American Congress in Madrid, etc.
These locations provide opportunities to share their progress and learn
simultaneously from other nation efforts. And then there will be the summer
course at EuroForum itself at El Escorial, Spain - the residential
executive development facility.
In another presentation, the local leadership of BankInter provided a case
study example. Maria Calvo, Directora Equipo Gestion del Conocimiento,
described their journey - a successful one, I might add - with a focus on
knowledge and innovation. By integrating the foci on people and technology,
the company has successfully evolve the culture. With participation rates
of 76%, they appear to be tapping into the imagination of their employees.
Everyone is learning with - what they call - the 'Olympiad of Ideas.'
Club Intelect has also produced an impressive series of publications, which
provide a detailed survey of the literature, and models with which
companies are experimenting. In fact, in the December 1998 'Boletin de
Informacion,' there is an outline of the model that is evolving form the
research itself which can provide guidance for companies instituting such
programs. The 'Medicion del Capital Intellectual - Mode Intelect' provides
even more detail and includes a detailed bibliography. A third compilation
is entitled 'Direction Estrategica por Competencias Basicas Distintivas:
Propuesta de un Modelo.' Our recommendation is that these publications
would be of value to any countries with Spanish-speaking heritage. Contact
Pilar Rodriguez Jerico firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
The awakening for me came near the end of the day with a question from the
audience: "Please explain the difference between Intellectual Capital,
Learning Organization and Knowledge Management!" Now, I know this is very
confusing for many that only have access to the material within their
particular function, company, industry or region of the world. However, the
question for me crystallized my own understanding of the three sub-streams
of the knowledge movement - the focus on financial capital, social capital
and technological capital. Now, we have a Ph.D. thesis on the topic and
soon we will release the results of theorists and practitioners in each of
the three domains. Stay tuned!
In short, Spain may be a bit late to the national visibility scene; but they
more than make up for it in terms of the quality produced in a short period
of time. Their worldwide leadership is immanent. They provide an excellent
example of how a nation CAN harness the intellectual resources and drive a
vision swiftly to take advantage of the opportunities the knowledge economy
affords. Then lesson, however, is that it should not be left to serendipity.
Copyright 1999 ENTOVATION International. All rights reserved.
David J. Skyrme
As indicated by other articles in this I3 UDPATE, many regions and countries are now recognizing the implications of the knowledge economy and
are developing policies and initiatives so that their citizens can
participate fully in these new emerging global markets. I recently felt
privileged to get an invitation - out of the blue via the Internet! - to
run a two day workshop on knowledge management in Curitiba, the capital
city of the state of Parana.
Prior to going I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a one day
workshop on Latin America at IC2 (see earlier article). This seminar highlighted the number of collaborative development initiatives in countries from Guatemala to Cuba, and Mexico to Brazil. One speaker at this seminar was Ramiro Wahrhaftig, Secretary of Science and Technology for
Parana. He outlined the characteristics of the state (in the south of the
country) - 9 million inhabitants in a territory with a size larger than
France and Germany combined. Called the 'land of all peoples' its
inhabitants are descendants of Italian, Germna, Polish, Ukranian and
Japanese immigrants as well as people from other parts of Brazil. For the
last few years Parana has been diversifying away from its agricultural base
and now boasts many electronic companies and car assembly plants. There are
several threads to its industrial diversification:
- The Teacher's University - great emphasis is placed on education, at all
levels. At the heart is good teaching and so this university provides a
continuing education network. As well as attending one week update courses,
teachers have the opportunity to do 'knowledge enriching' projects in their
- The ZERI network (Zero Emission Research Initiative) - Applying science
and technology to use the waste of some industrial processes as inputs to
others. This initiative involves researchers, government agencies and
businesses of all types.
- Tecpar Technology Network - integration of several networks to connect
universities to businesses to help the processes of technology transfer and
continuing education in business.
- Software Corridors - recognizing the growing contribution of software
companies in several parts of the state and helping them become world-class
exporters. The agency SOFTEX (Software Exports) promotes Brazilian software
capabilities (in fields such as document management, global positioning
systems, electronic commerce and factory automation) helps development of
external partnerships with investors and exporters. It has branches in
Silicon Valley, Austin and Bonn.
- Nuovos Talentos (New Talents) Programme - This supports six priority
action areas in which to build world-class knowledge businesses:
agro-industrial technology and biotechnology, environmental technology,
information technology, knowledge management, urban management and
It was this final programme that took me to Curitiba - to ISAD (the
Graduate Institute of Business Adminsitration - http://www.isad.br) at the
Pontifical Catholic University of Parana (PUC-PR), by the invitation of Dr
Alvaro Cyrino. To spearhead the programme 30 talented PhD scientists from
all over Brazil, and who are specialists in these disciplines are going
through eight weeks of development in the management strategies and
approaches needed to develop these knowledge industry clusters. The course
runs from Friday morning to Sunday lunchtime on eight consecutive week-ends
(a tough challenge after doing your normal job from Monday to Thursday!)
and as well as knowledge management covers other topics including
technology commercialization, national and state scientific and
technological development systems, negotiation techniques and project
management. There are also technical visits and individual projects.
One of the aims of the programme is to create 'T-shaped' professionals -
individuals who are very knowledgeable and expert in their speciality, but
who also have a broader management education and awareness of the wider
business and political context. This is akin to the IT hybrid manager -
specialists in IT who are also knowledgable about business (see
http://www.skyrme.com/insights/6hybrid.htm). In our research then (1990)
and in more recent research into the characteristics of successful CKOs, an
important factor is a person's ability to network and communicate. These
professionals have to bring together people from research establishments,
business and governments into to develop a cohesive local strategy for
building knowledge businesses that have global presence and relevance.
What was very clear from my two day involvement is that with the talent
available, an injection of knowledge about the characteristics of the
knowledge economy, managing and exploiting knowledge, a vision and a
challenge (from their state Secretary of Science and Technology), that the
basic ingredients are quickly coming together. During one of the group work
sessions (on developing knowledge industries for their locality, in which
five different regions of Brazil were represented), I have never seen such
animated discussions in a workshop. I rarely make predictions (preferring
alternative scenarios), but I feel confident in making two now:
- That the world will hear a lot more in future about the new knowledge
industries of the state of Parana.
- That there will be a distinctive style of knowledge management (Latin
American style - including 'carnival knowledge') that will provide a viable
contrast to the current Anglo-American/European domination in the
Adapted from an ETD announcement (See http://www.eto.org.uk)
The geography of the networked knowledge economy places Germany closer to USA
than to France, UK closer to Australia and Hong Kong than Spain. In a new
'map' created by European Telework Development (ETD) the Netherlands has
Canada and the Virgin Islands as near neighbours, nearer than its
neighbours of Germany and Belgium as shown on the 'old' maps. In these new
maps, distance is measured in terms of relative cost of a
According to this assessment, UK and Sweden have placed themselves next to
the USA and Canada at the centre of the networked world. They have achieved
this through early and progressive liberalization of telecommunications,
resulting in hot competition for customers' business and subsequent decline
in the cost of International calls. In fact, it is now cheaper to phone the
USA from the UK than it is France.
Other interesting facets of the new geography:
- Some countries of central and eastern Europe are on a fast track to the
centre. Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Poland are already closer than
either Portugal or Greece, with Estonia and Slovakia right alongside.
- Among Asian and Pacific economies, China at 8.1 "new miles" (where 1 new
mile is the UK-USA cost of a phone call) appears much closer than India
(12.4), while the main "hi tech" economies such as Japan, South Korea,
Taiwan. Singapore are as close as some European countries, with Australia
and New Zealand both very close to the centre.
Telephone calling costs are just one measure of the new geography, but an
important one. Cheaper lines for consumers means cheaper bandwidth for
industry and - with other factors - faster Internet performance for
e-business sellers and buyers. ETD suggests that every national and
regional government should be aware of its current "distance from the
centre" and have a clear strategy to get closer. Proximity to the centre of
the networked economy will increasingly determine economic growth.
The full world table of networked economy distances is online at:
We are looking for key respondents in organizations (with a minimum 10
employees) that are willing to participate in an important research study.
The purpose of this survey is to research the relationship between employee
turnover, knowledge management and business performance. All responses will
be kept strictly confidential. There are a total of 55 items in the survey.
It should take only 15 minutes to complete every item in the survey. Each
respondent will receive a copy of the results of the research project when
Go to the following URL to complete the survey:
Thank you for your support.
Dr Nick Bontis, Director
Catherine Connelly, Research Assistant
The current issue of the Journal of Knowledge Management (Volume 3, Number
1 1999) includes a variety of articles which focus on various aspects of
the process of innovation and from all corners of the globe. The Editor,
Rory L. Chase, is to be commended for the scope and focus he has provided
in this particular compilation of articles.
For those interested in an international perspective on the knowledge
movement, we encourage you to secure a copy (http://www.mcb.co.uk) and
visit the Global Knowledge Leadership Map
(http://www.entovation.com/kleadmap/index.htm) which now features 70 people from 40 countries.
Articles included in this issue:
"Knowledge management in agile innovative organizations"
Guillermo Perez-Bustamante (Spain)
"Modeling of knowledge flows and their impact"
Kenneth Preiss (Israel)
"If only HP knew what HP knows: roots of knowledge management at
Charles G. Sieloff (USA)
"University-enterprise interaction in biotechnology in the south of Brazil"
Neila C. Viana da Cunha and Edi Madalena Fracasso (Brazil)
"Organizational innovation and virtual institutes"
Zhouying Jin (China)
Countries represented to-date on the Map include:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Croatia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, England, Egypt,
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland,
Italy, Israel, Kenya, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand,
Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia,
Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden,
Switzerland, The Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United States,
Venezuela, Vietnam, Wales, West Indies.
If you do not see your country represented, let us know. If the names have
not yet appeared on the Map, let us know who you are. Those interested form
those countries already represented are ALWAYS welcome!
Just published (by Butterworth Heinemann) is the first Knowledge Management Yearbook, edited by James W. Cortada and John A. Woods. It's an excellent
compilation of some of the best articles that have appeared in quality
publications over the last 18 months. There are five sections:
- The Nature of Knowledge Management - includes contributions from Karl
Erik Sveiby, Laurence Prusak and Ikujiro Nonaka
- Knowledge-based Strategies - contributors include Tom Davenport, David
Skyrme and Debra Amidon (though we actually got a copy of the book before
realizing we were in it!!)
- Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning - over 30 different
- Knowledge Tools, Techniques and Processes - a fifth of the size of the
last section (does this tell us something?)
- Knowledge Management references - comprehensive bibliography, directory
of periodicals, online links, glossary.
It may sound a bit expensive at $65 (we think), but if you were to buy only
a couple of knowledge management books this year, this should be one of
them (we'll tell you about the other one, when it is published later in the
year!). A reference book for your shelf.
What began in January, 1999, as an opportunity to feature insights from a
diagonal slice of experts in the ENTOVATION Network in the Global Knowledge
Leadership Map (http://www.entovation.com/kleadmap/) has become a unique
medium to deliver the scope and potential momentum of the knowledge movement. In fact, the Map has been updated to now include about 70 people
from about 40 countries with new ones being added quarterly.
The first global knowledge concert has begun to travel the world.
Accompanied live with the international concert pianist - Silvard Kool
(http://www.silvard.com), we have provided musical knowledge messages in
presentations for the Annual Meeting of the IC2 Institute Fellows, Lyndon B. Johnson Library, in Austin, Texas - USA, the Annual Awards Night for the
Manitoba Quality Council in Winnipeg - Canada and next week will travel to
the Skandia Futures Center, Vaxholm - Sweden, where the performance will be
videotaped and made available worldwide through a guild
(http://www.icuniverse.com) in a new knowledge trading system.
The music of Silvard has already been featured in other Amido in France,
USA, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and Germany. The analysis of the
ENTOVATION 100 survey results will soon be reported in an upcoming issue of
I3 UPDATE/ENTOVATION News. This represents a cross-section of people who are already in the knowledge field. Thanks to a
grant from Siemens Corporation (Munich, GERMANY), the same classification
schema will be used on the 1111 student papers from the Cologne Kongress
representing 85 countries This analysis being compiled by Trend Monitor International as a major research project of ENTOVATION and will provide a foundation for the Banff Global Knowledge Innovation Project
(http://www.gkii.org). Stay tuned for insights into the 'Millennium Knowledge Generation'...
(Editor's Note: I recommend Silvard's CD 'Picture of Time' - very relaxing music to play on your PC when writing newsletters!)
See comments on Knowledge Entertainment
12-13 May. Return On Intelligence: Innovative Strategies at Work, Toronto.
Strategic Leadership Forum, Toronto Chapter.
18-19 May. Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises 1999. Presentations from
Knowledge Leaders as found by the MAKETM survey (see Snippets). London,
25-26 May. Knowledge Management II: Intranets and Beyond, London. Ark
26-27 May. International Virtual Company Conference (IVCC '99). Charleston,
West Virginia. David Skyrme is speaking at this conference.
27-28 May. Intangibles: Management, Measurement and Organization. 2nd
Intangible Conference, New York City. Contact: Autherine Allison, Stern
School of Business, New York University.
8-9 June. Managing and Transferring Best Practice, London. Business
28-29 June. Performance Measurement and Knowledge Management. London. David
Skyrme is speaking at this event. Access Conferences.
2 July. Managing in the Knowledge-Driven Economy. Bournemouth University
Business School. David Skyrme is speaking at this event. Tel: +44 01202 504213
5-9 July. Become a Knowledge Management Expert. International Knowledge
Management Master Class, Amsterdam. Kenniscentrum CIBIT and the
International Knowledge Management Network:
© Copyright, 1999. David Skyrme Associates Limited and Authors - All rights reserved.
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I3 UPDATE / ENTOVATION International News is a joint publication of David Skyrme Associates Limited and ENTOVATION International Limited - providers of trends analysis, strategic advice and workshops on knowledge management
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