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Knowledge Digest
a round-up of developments in the knowledge agenda

Latest Edition



About I3


Managing editor:
David J. Skyrme


Each month's Knowledge Digest was published as part of I3 UPDATE / ENTOVATION International News.
Archives: 2002 - 2000-2001



KM Insight 2004-5

Another title in the Knowledge Insights series is our review and outlook for Knowledge Management 2004-5. To be published in the first quarter of next year, this review will analyze recent developments in knowledge management, the challenges facing KM practitioners and the unfolding agenda as seen through the views of experts and practitioners. As part of our research for this report, we welcome inputs from I3 UPDATE / ENTOVATION readers. If you have general views or are a supplier who feels you have an innovative product or service, you are involved to contact the author David Skyrme to arrange an email dialogue or telephone interview. If you are a KM practitioner within an organization we invite you to request a user questionnaire.

You can read more about our approach to this review and some of the key themes that we have already identified in the forthcoming article 'Knowledge Insights: Maintaining Your KM Edge' to be published in the December/January edition of Knowledge Management:

Do You Know Your Knowledge Audits from Your Knowledge Maps?

A new A-Z glossary covering different KM terminology, including a wide range of tools and techniques is now available in the resources section at our website (see Glossary). Other recent additions to the website include an updated version to our introductory briefing Making Sense of Knowledge Management and Knowledge Musings, a weblog.

I3 UPDATE Special Edition: KM Europe 2003


Public Sector - Public Knowledge

The second report* in the Knowledge Insight Series published by Ark Group/David Skyrme Associates will be available shortly. Written by David Skyrme, and based on research, surveys and his extensive hands-on consultancy experience in public sector organizations, this report explores current and future developments in public sector KM and identifies examples of good practice from around the world. It offers insights and practical guidance for successful KM in the public sector. Themes covered include knowledge-enhanced policy making, more effective government and public administration, e-Government and enhanced services to citizens.

Can knowledge management improve organizational performance in the public sector as it has in the private sector? This report shows that it can, but details how many public administrations have been slower in embracing KM and still do not fully understand how to achieve the benefits that it can deliver. Alongside some pathfinding examples of good practice (over 30 case studies) are instances of failing to address fundamental issues. More details on availability and pricing will be announced shortly.
Further Details.

* The first report in the series was Taxonomies: Frameworks for Corporate Knowledge by Jan Wyllie. Reports in progress include KM in Legal and Customer Knowledge/CRM.


Farewell From Our Readers

A selection of the emails we have received recently:


A vote of thanks for I3 Update, which I've read eagerly for the past couple of years. Good luck with whatever you go on to do.

Peter Bowyer

Dear David,

I have been a subscriber to ENTOVATION for the past three years, and wanted to thank you for what is always interesting and insightful commentary. When I read this latest issue, I noted that you mentioned a couple of university programs in Knowledge Management. I wanted to bring the Master of Arts in Knowledge Management, and the Graduate Diploma in Knowledge Management offered via a combination of onsite and distance learning through Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC, Canada to your attention. These programs accepted their first learners in January 2002. See and for more information....

Your newsletter has been a great source of information, an excellent non-North American perspective, and -- for me personally -- one of the few that addresses issues beyond those traditionally covered in MBA programs. We made environmental and cultural sustainability explicit components of our KM program...we only hope to have more time to conduct research on these subjects as well!

Best wishes in future endeavours, and my sincere thanks for all your newsletter and website have offered.

Tracy James
Senior Program Associate, KM Programs
Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC.

Dear David,

Your decision to call it a cycle for the I3 Update is understood and your effort much appreciated, and it has provided me with excellent education since I joined your list back circa 1998. Thank you very much for your gift of knowledge. I3 will be dearly missed and I hope to hear from you in similar manner on other avenue. Best wishes to your present focus.

Best wishes,
Chin Hoon Lau
Lagenda Knowledge Systems, Malaysia.

Dear David,

Entovation News has been a great success. Compliments. I hope that common efforts can give birth to the Entovation News' son.

All the best,
Piero Formica, Bologna.


Thanks for your newsletter over the years - it is the best - always valuable - feels like a 'hi value' discussion with a colleague. I look fwd to the reincarnation. There is definitely a place to continue the more 'broad KM' focus that it has always had as well as whatever more tightly-defined areas you wish to concentrate on in future.

Robert M. Taylor,
Unisys, London.

I3 UPDATE No. 75: Contents - Previous Feature

JUNE 2003

Capturing Knowledge Before You Lose It

A new guide from APQC (American Productivity and Quality Center) offers 9 tips for "capturing critical knowledge from a shifting work force". Citing retirement, rapid growth, turnover, mergers and acquisitions, and internal redeployment as potential ways of losing such knowledge its tips include identification of critical information and interviewing employees who possess critical knowledge when they change roles. For details of the guide see:

Archetypes for Network-Age Government

An interesting article by Elisabeth Richard in May's issue of Knowledge Management magazine reports on research in Canada into the skills and roles needed for effective e-government. As a result of its interviews metaphors of 10 archetypal figures were developed. These include the expert, the information synthesist, the guerrilla PR and the conversation acrobat. There is growing recognition that effective e-government will need KM underpinnings (taxonomies, citizen-centric portals, cross-departmental communities etc.) but also the right people, including 'symbiotic analysts': "masters at simplifying reality into abstract images that can be rearranged, juggled, experimented with, communicated to other specialists and eventually transformed back into reality in an ever growing patchwork of programme design and delivery methods".

Can KM Help Defeat SARS?

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) has caused personal, social and economic upheaval in certain localities. Can KM help? Several commentators suggest how. First the team in British Columbia who first sequenced the genetic code for the SARS virus is creating a knowledge network to co-ordinate the efforts of scientists across the world. Its programme SAVI (SARS Accelerated Vaccine Initiative) will use Knexa to maintain a knowledge base of documents and expert profiles and facilitate an open forum for exchange of ideas. (Knexa started off as a host for an online knowledge market - see I3 UPDATE No. 47) - but has since changed focus to deploy and further develop its technology for corporate KM solutions. (Knexa Press Release) (British Columbia Cancer Agency)

Another approach - that of social network analysis - is suggested by Patrick Lambe from Singapore, who shows how it can map carriers. The same tool can also be useful to combat terrorism.

There is also a special interest group on Knowledge Board that discusses the contribution of knowledge management to dealing with critical incident management. It cites examples of nuclear accidents, fires, environmental incidents that could all be avoided or mitigated with better knowledge management.

I3 UPDATE No. 74: Contents - Previous Feature

MAY 2003

KM is a Verb

So says Matthew Gilmore, KMPro's New York Regional Director, in a feature article in KMPro's May/June newsletter that describes his passion in promoting KM in his region and in building a local centre for learning about KM. Other interesting articles in the 17-page newsletter include "Missing in Action: Connecting KM to elearning" by Victor Newman, CKO of Pfizer, England and "Fighting for Knowledge" by Anna McAvoy which discusses some approaches to 'just-in-time' knowledge. There is also an update on the events of the recently formed and thriving UK Chapter. Since its merger with KIMPS in the middle of last year (see I3 UPDATE No. 65) KMPro has evolved as a strong professional body for knowledge professionals, and is in our judgment now unrivalled (if you think otherwise, please let us know!). Although you can read the newsletter for free, membership offers significant additional benefits including chapter events, a jobs services and discounts off other suppliers' publications and conferences. Read the newsletter at:

MKM - Better Than an MBA?

Copenhagen Business School joins the growing number of providers of Masters Degree courses in Knowledge Management. Its MKM is an executive master programme developed in collaboration with Learning Lab Denmark. A mix of distance learning and 10 5-day workshops, participants work through eight modules and a thesis over a two year period. We're pleased to see that innovation is one of the core modules. Some high quality faculty from a business school prominent in the field of KM and intellectual capital. Knowledge assessment question: Will an MKM be as widely valued as an MBA in the future? Discuss.

KM Chronicles

Promising "stories, successes and secrets" this new publication from Tata McGraw-Hill comes at knowledge management from a rather different perspective of the normal multiple contributor compilation. The authors are mostly CKOs, knowledge managers and consultants. Cases covered include EDS, Fujitsu Consulting, Infosys, Inktomi, SAS, Sun and Open Text. Since most of the contributions are from providers of KM technologies and solutions - not surprising given the subtitle is 'Leading with Knowledge : Knowledge Management Practices in Global Infotech Companies' - one can't help wondering how much of a PR 'spin' has been put on the case material. However, the editor, Dr Madan Mohan Rao, and several of the contributors have long track records and strong credentials in KM, so you should get some solid insights. Judge for yourself.

Knowledge Leadership Styles

When Debra and myself researched critical success factors in 1996 for our report Creating the Knowledge-based Business, knowledge leadership was top of the seven factors and warranted a chapter by itself. Some useful insights into different styles of leadership are offered in the current issue of 'Leadership Acumen' the newsletter of Banff Executive Leadership. Posing the question "Is your staff as committed to results as you are", the article contrasts the styles of directing, delegation and empowerment. Unsurprisingly it advocates managers adopt the latter style, though it warns of the difficulties and risks. It challenges the reader to "be courageous", "ask your people", "talk about the bigger picture" and "lead on".

I3 UPDATE No. 73: Contents - Previous Feature

APRIL 2003

Measuring Knowledge and Intellectual Capital

Following on from David Skyrme's ground-breaking report on knowledge measurement, published in 1998, Business Intelligence announce the publication of a fully updated and expanded report: Measuring Knowledge and Intellectual Capital. The new report is three times larger, reviews over 30 models and has 35 Case Reports/Case Studies. David Skyrme considers knowledge measurement from four perspectives - asset (value-based models, valuing patents, brands etc.), action (performance models and scorecards), benefits (justifying knowledge management) and baseline (KM maturity and assessment frameworks). The report explores in detail the new generation of IC measurement and reporting models. There are practical guidelines and action checklists throughout.
Further Details.

Taxonomies: Frameworks for Corporate Knowledge

This is the first report in a new series co-published by Ark Group (publishers of Knowledge Management magazine) and David Skyrme Associates. The Knowledge Insight series offers fresh insights and practical guidance on core KM topics. Author of this new report Taxonomies: Frameworks for Corporate Knowledge Jan Wyllie, a long-time practitioner of content classification and analysis techniques, unravels the mystique behind taxonomies. It draws on a wide range of research material and case studies to guide the reader through the essential steps to success of justifying a taxonomy project and implementing a robust information architecture.
Further Details.

I3 UPDATE No. 72: Contents - Previous Feature

MARCH 2003

A Better/Best ePractices Knowledge System

The Beep project (Best eEurope Practices) has launched its first public 'knowledge system'. It contains over 100 detailed case reports (expected to grow to over 250 in the near future as cases from the EU's candidate countries are included) that cover the field of electronic practices in work and skills, small and medium-sized enterprises, social inclusion and regional development. The contribution of knowledge sharing and knowledge management are evident in 40 per cent of the cases. Although the contributors describe its content as 'better' practices, there are four reasons why we feel that it is among the 'best' we have seen:

1) a robust and flexible knowledge mapping and taxonomy approach categorizing content into subject, organizational/policy objectives, key factors, and other characteristics;
2) multiple ways of searching e.g. by field, keyword, free text, objective hierarchy;
3) links to original sources and case contributors;
4) a methodology developed through extensive research and user testing.
Business managers, business advisors, policy makers, consultants and researchers will find much of value. And the icing on the cake is that it is free at: (the knowledge system) (the main project website).

Footnote on PDVSA

Our last newsletter reported on the 4th International Knowledge Conference organized by PDVSA, Venezuela's national oil company. Due to events in that country it could be that such an event will be the last - at least for the forseeable future. We have received reports that most of the key people involved with such events are no longer with PDVSA, that reorganization is doing away with the company's university, and that the research arm of the company is being halved (indeed we learn that some 12,000 people overall have lost their jobs in what some describe as akin to a "cultural revolution" or a "dismantling of the company"). Knowledge communities are in decline or disappearing. A sad set-back to what was once perceived by many peers as the country's best knowledge management effort. We wait to see (but not too hopefully) whether PDVSA will regain its former eminence in the KM community or whether somebody else will now carry forward the mantle of KM in Venezuela.

The Pressure To Innovate

Continuing the theme of this issue, the February issue of Imaginatik's 'Corporate Innovation' reaffirms that there is continual pressure on companies to innovate, whether it be responding to competitive threats, finding ways to improve margins, or developing a pipeline of new products and services. Whereas 1999 and 2000 the main innovation challenge was e-business, now pressures are "more severe and urgent, and the solutions are hard". Pressures include a focus on future growth and cost reduction, slow economic growth and risk of disruptive change. This means that organizations need to build innovation capacity and move new products and projects through the innovation pipeline. To subscribe to the newsletter visit:

I3 UPDATE No. 71: Contents - Previous Feature


Transforming e-Knowledge: A Revolution in the Sharing of Knowledge

This new book by Donald Norris, Jon Mason and Paul Lefrere has recently been published by Society for College and University Planning. Even though this affiliation suggests an academic or e-learning flavour, the coverage is of interest to anyone who wants to share or distribute knowledge over networks. It covers trends and issues in digital age KM, knowledge standards, infrastructure, business strategies, and leadership imperatives. The online companion includes a searchable glossary, bibliography, case studies, and other resources. An indication of its approach is given by this extract from the foreword:

"The e-learning agenda creates the dilemma that while we can atomise knowledge into elements such as 'learning objects', we must recognise that they are there to be shared, contextualised, and negotiated in the social context of the online community of practice."

Further information at: Transforming e-Knowledge, or

Realizing The Promise of Corporate Portals

This book, co-authored by ENTOVATION Global 100 Knowledge Leader Cindy Gordon, CEO of Helix Commerce International of Toronto, had its Canadian launch on 19th February. It provides useful insights into achieving the promise of corporate portals. It is an interesting blend of case studies with a good conceptual analysis and practical implementation guidelines. The case studies include Bank of Montreal, Eli Lilly, Nortel, Siemens, and Texaco. Published by Butterworth-Heinemann, Cindy's co-author is José Cl´udio Terra.
Further information at:
Helix Commerce International, or

New Award For Student Best Paper on Intellectual Capital

The Edvinsson - Saint-Onge Best Student Paper Award of US$2000 is on the theme of regional or national intellectual capital development. Submissions are invited on the important research question: How can we identify, measure and leverage the intellectual capital of nations or regions? Many of the same constructs within firm-level research (e.g., financial capital, human capital and structural capital) have similar conceptualizations for countries. Some nations (e.g., Sweden, Croatia, Israel, Denmark) and regions (e.g., Arab Region) have already ventured forward into this field of research. Although great strides have been made, there is much more opportunity left. For this particular award, submitted papers can be conceptual, theoretical, empirical, experimental, or case studies and will be adjudicated by the awards committee:

  • Dr. Nick Bontis, McMaster University, Associate Editor, Journal of Intellectual Capital
  • Leif Edvinsson, UNIC, Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of Intellectual Capital
  • Hubert Saint-Onge, Chief Executive Officer, konvergeandknow
  • Rory Chase, Teleos, Editor, Journal of Intellectual Capital
  • Dr. Christopher Bart, McMaster University, Chairperson, World Congress on Intellectual Capital.

The final award-winning paper will be published in full in the Journal of Intellectual Capital and the winning student will present his paper at the 25th World Congress which takes place on January 14-16, 2004 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Abstracts are due by July 31, 2003 and full paper by 1 October. For details, please contact:
Emerald Publishing (shows editorial style)
Nick Bontis ( (for submissions).

I3 UPDATE No. 70: Contents - Previous Feature


Seeding Desert Development

Following on from Debra's 'Knowledge in the Desert' feature (I3 UPDATE No. 65 - read full article here), Desert Knowledge Australia reports the award of an A$20.6 million (US$ 12m) contract for the Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre. Covering a 7-year period, the seed funding will support the centre's infrastructure and enable it to engage in collaborative ventures to support the cultural, social and economic development of the desert regions of five Australian states.

Imagining Idea Innovation

In its recent corporate newsletter, the principals of Imaginatik - an international provider of Idea Management software based in Boston, Massachusetts, released some research findings: 'The secret of good ideas.' They query, "Is there any magic formula to guess in advance how many good ideas you will get, and what those ideas will look like?" Based upon 10 years of research with global clients across several industries, Imaginatik has some good news, and some bad news. It is, they publish, almost impossible to predict how many good ideas you will get, and what those ideas will be like. In contrast, the good news is that their research has shown that an process to manage ideas (i.e., the creation and application) - when supported by appropriate software - can yield 2.5 excellent ideas per 100 ideas collected to a 95 per cent degree of confidence. Moreover, they suggest that their events-based approach (i.e., specified timeframe for the activity rather than leaving it as an ongoing process) yields 10x more ideas overall compared to simple ongoing programs, and 30x more high impact ideas than ongoing programs. Check out Imaginatik's December 2002 newsletter for the five key reasons for success:

ENTOVATION Announces Knowledge Innovation® Certification Programme

Learn by doing is the innovative approach used in this newly announced programme for Knowledge Innovation® practitioners. Each participant will assume the role of a Chief Innovation Officer through a ten week long programme with eight weeks of e-learning and online coaching. The course covers key concepts, the state-of-the-art, the state-of-practice, the state-of-the customer and the state-of-the-future in the core themes of knowledge innovation, including knowledge management, customer knowledge and innovation, measurement, leadership. Course start dates are monthly and the time commitment is roughly four hours a week. Successful completion results in accreditation as a "Certified Knowledge Innovation® Practitioner".

In Thought and Practice - New Journal from KMPro

KMPro - the Knowledge and Innovation Management Professional Society - has just published the first issue of its new journal.

As reported in an earlier Digest, two societies with a strong KM emphasis - KIMPS and KMPro - merged in the middle of last year. The new journal represents a consolidation of their separate journal publications into a new e-publication uniting the intellectual contributions of academe with the implementation and ROI experience of professional practitioners in industry and government. The first issue includes interviews, a book review, an implementation success story, a concept paper, and practical professional tips. The editors welcome substantive papers of a scholarly, theoretical, or research orientation, within the prescribed length guidelines. In Thought and Practice is a peer-reviewed bi-annual publication:

I3 UPDATE No. 69: Contents - Previous Feature

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