The Intellectual Capital movement attempts to measure, or account, for the Stock of Knowledge in an organisation. Its actually easier to measure knowledge flow.
What should we measure in Knowledge Management? The amount of knowledge, or the flow of knowledge?
There is no absolute scale for measuring the amount of knowledge held by a person, or held by an organisation. There is no "milliknow, centiknow, kiloknow, megaknow" metric scale for know-how. No scales, no tape measure.
This makes it really hard to measure the stock of knowledge. You can measure the number of experts and roughly grade their expertise, and you can measure the contents of a knowledge base, but of course quality can trump quantity (As Prusak and Davenport said - Volume is the friend of Information and Data management, and the enemy of Knowledge Management).
Then you can also measure intellectual capital as being the difference between asset value and stock price, which is partly influenced by Knowledge, but also by relationship capital, brand capital and so on.
What you can measure, is a change in knowledge - "Yes, I know more now than I did before this meeting, or this conversation".
You can also measure the effect of this knowledge - "Now that I know more, I can perform this task faster, or more cheaply, or to a better quality".
It is therefore far easier to measure the FLOW of knowledge, than it is to measure the STOCK, and then through Flow, to measure VALUE.
Activity Metrics such as the ones below are more useful than volume metrics.
- number of lessons learned activities in projects
- lessons added to the lessons management system
- instances of lessons reuse
- number of lessons embedded into procedure vs number waiting to be embedded
- time taken to close lessons
- number of community activities and levels of participation in those activities;
- number of questions asked per month;
- number of answers per question
- time between question and first answer
- number of readers of the community blog
- frequency of articles on the community blog
- user feedback and satisfaction ratings, collected through a user rating system
- number of reads per knowledge asset or knowledge item
- number of comments
- frequency of edits and update
- number of new items
- re-use rate of knowledge assets
- frequency of searches of the knowledge base
- search success rate
Even better are the Outcome Measures:
- evidence of value added through km activities in projects, and presented as success stories
- evidence of community value, delivered through solutions to members’ problems, and presented as success stories
- evidence of value through use of knowledge base, gathered through user feedback, and presented as success stories
- evidence of value delivered through the lessons learned process, presented as success stories
Don't try to measure the volume of the stock of knowledge - measure its flow and its impact instead.