Monday 22 June 2015

The link between KM and strategy - Oxfam example

Last week I blogged about Knowledge Management at Oxfam, and shared their Rights and Responsibilities table. In today's post I explore the link between their KM program and their strategy, as a case history of how Knowledge Management can directly and explicitly support the vision and strategy of an organisation.

I constructed the strategy map below to explain how this works. 
What a Strategy Map for Oxfam might look like

The Oxfam Strategic Plan 2013 to 2019 is entitled "The Power of People against Poverty". The vision of Oxfam is as follows

Oxfam’s vision is a just world without poverty: a world in which people can influence decisions that affect their lives, enjoy their rights, and assume their responsibilities as full citizens of a world in which all human beings are valued and treated equally.

To deliver this vision, Oxfam has set 12 strategic goals - six of them outcome goals and six of them operational (internal organisational development) goals.

These are as follows

  1. The Right to be Heard – People claiming their right to a better life
  2. Advancing gender justice
  3. Saving lives, now and in the future
  4. Sustainable food
  5. Fair sharing of natural resources
  6. Financing for development and universal essential services

  1. Creating a worldwide influencing network
  2. Program quality, monitoring, evaluation and learning
  3. Strengthening accountability
  4. Investing in people
  5. Cost effectiveness
  6. Income strategy

Knowledge management appears as a support to three of those OPERATIONAL GOALS

  • Operational Goal 2 Program quality, monitoring, evaluation and learning
    • Innovation, learning and knowledge management increase the quality and impact of our program work and that of our partners
      • Define a focused learning strategy based on the change goals
      • Share learning and good practice through networks of staff and create a reflective culture based on learning from frontline program experience
      • Translate learning into new program policy and guidelines and to influence external stakeholders

  • Operational Goal 4: Investing in people
    • Systems, processes and structure: Oxfam maximizes its effectiveness through increased use of shared services
      • Invest in systems and processes to enable people to collaborate, share knowledge and learn together

  • Operational Goal 5: Cost effectiveness
    • Efficiency: Oxfam will achieve optimum efficiency and convert the returns into delivery of programs 
      • Align ways of working across affiliates and rationalize structures;
      • After business process analysis and revision, move to one process for all support services;
      • introduce one policy and strategy across affiliates, for example, in communications;
      • invest in knowledge management across the confederation;

For one of the operational goals, KM is a direct objective, supported by a learning strategy, network-based learning and learning from experience. For the other two, KM is an enabler to operational effectiveness and operational efficiency.


The strategy map above is a good way to tie this together in a visual way, but we can see from the text that KM is being deployed at Oxfam in a very strategic way. Through the cascade of goals and objectives you can see how Knowledge Management directly supports Oxfams vision.

Through introducing KM, collaboration and organisational learning Oxfam will improve program quality, make people more effective and make the organisation more efficient in delivering the six goals needed to build a just world without poverty.

If only all organisations had such a clear model of how KM supports their vision!

Well done Oxfam.


Hendri Ma'ruf said...

Such an explanation is what most KMers-would-be want to learn.

hannah-yolanda said...

Do you have any more information on knowledge management at oxfam? I am a university student currently doing a report on knowledge management on oxfam and your blogs are the only content I can find so far!

Nick Milton said...

Sorry hannah-yolanda, I dont have anything else

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