The Knowledge Management (KM) Depot

The Knowledge Management (KM) Depot: October 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Personal Knowledge Management

As a knowledge management professional and professor I must ask are KM professionals practicing what we preach? This brings me to the adoption of personal knowledge management. Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) is about getting your life (personal, professional and otherwise) in order. It can be as simple as managing your personal library (books, files and digital material), having more effective meetings (agenda items, strict meeting time frame, inviting the right people) and capturing decisions and ideas through journaling. Some of the more popular PKM tools involve wikis and blogs. PKM can be a powerful tool in this never have enough time to do what we want world. In practice leveraging these simple techniques will allow us to manage our time better and hopefully alleviate some stress at the same time.

At the core of PKM is the idea of "connect and collect". We must connect with what we need, and the people and resources that have it. Once we make that connection we must collect and store the knowledge gained from the experience of connecting. As mentioned before journaling is an excellent way to capture the knowledge from your connections in addition establishing a mentor/protege relationship where appropriate will strengthen the connection and the knowledge gained from the experience.

The following are some links to additional information on personal knowledge management:

So all you KM professionals and those who are inspiring to be KM savvy, lets go out there and "drink our own kool-aid" and connect and collect!

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Realizing ROI in KM Initiatives

I know it's been some time since I written an entry into the Knowledge Management Depot blog. I have been working with a number of clients keeping busy during these tough economic times. One of these clients is the United States Air Force. During a briefing with Randy Adkins the Air Force Knowledge Now (AFKN) Program Manager (AFMC/A8C at Wright-Patterson AFB) he mentioned that ROI (Return On Investment) for knowledge management initiatives at Wright Patterson are not measured in a traditional sense, however it is measured by how well it supports the mission. Taking this into account at the end of the day what maters is did the KM initiative increase the performance of its users or how well did it support the strategic mission of the organization.

When we are looking at achieving a return on our KM initiatives historically it can take a considerable amount of time to show results or visible ROI for an organization. However, there is an approach by Mark Clare who originally presented this in the KM Review, Volume 5 Issue 2, May/June 2002, to estimate the value of the intangible benefits of KM. This approach , the Knowledge Value Equation (KVE) simple states that the value created from managing knowledge is a function of the costs, benefits and risks of the KM initiative. Thus mathematically stated: KM Value = F (cost, benefit, risk), which equals Total Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) created over the life of the KM investment. This formula attempts to quantify the intangible impacts of KM relating it back to cash flow. This includes improved problem solving, enhanced creativity, and improved relationships with customers and other performance related activities.

Knowledge Management projects produce a stream of benefits over time. This will enable KM projects to be evaluated based on a series or stream of cash flows. However eliciting feedback from the KM user community in your organization, asking if and how something they leveraged as a result of practicing the KM policies, practices, procedures and technology contributed to thier performance will be a key indicator on how well the KM initiative is working. This will provide feedback on a more timely manner than quantifying results using KVE and allow for adjustments to be made to improve the KM environment.

I am particularly interested in what others have done to demonstrate the value a KM initiative has brought to their organization. I look forward to your comments.

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