Monday, 11 May 2009

KM and safety management - where the analogy breaks down

I had a comment today on my youtube video "What is knowledge Management?", from Oska 7574, as follows

Thank you Nick
I like the safety management thing but at the end of the year I might have no accidents , for instance, then i will deem my safety management as good one. Then tell me what about KM and its success measurements? How we continue in the comparison or the analogy to reach real understanding for the benefits of KM a management approach?

My answer was as follows

All analogies break down somewhere, and one of the major differences between KM and Safety Management is that a safety incident is very visible; as lost time, or as an injury. A lost time incident is far more visible than a lost knowledge incident.

Therefore safety management is easier to implement, because the outcomes are so visible.

However, intangible metrics are used in Safety - near misses, or high potential incidents, are only recorded because people take time to record them. They don't result in accidents or lost time, but are a leading indicator. An equivalent leading indicator in KM would be the number of lessons with closed-out actions in a learning system, or the number of questions answered in a community forum.

Also outcome-based metrics can be applied to knowledge management, the ultimate output being continuous performance improvement. See my blog post on learning curves, and our website page on valuation of KM.

More free video available from our website video page

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