Friday 19 February 2010

Quantified value stories - number 14 in a continuing series

Originally uploaded by Moe_

A great early-days KM success stories quoted in this blog by John Gaynard

People say give us "real life examples" of where KM has worked. My first real life examples came when I worked at the World Bank, putting in place a low-cost internal telecommunications (voice and data) network in Africa and Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980s, beginning of the 1990s. Some people with foresight at the Bank like Harinder Kohli and Gus (August) Schumacher realized that the then nascent system of email (which many sceptics had, of course, said would never work) could be opened up to the Bank's customers and used to network and coordinate the Polish ministries and the ministries of many other countries to exchange and better codify their knowledge. The pay off from this was immediate. For example, Gus, sitting in Washington but sharing knowledge and advising his counterparts in Poland every day, managed to get the approval time for a vital $600 million agricultural project for Poland down from about eighteen months (in the best of cases) to six months. How do you estimate the value of putting $600 million dollars to work 12 months early? Even if you are only talking about a 5% return on investment (and in Poland's case it was much more than that) you are talking about $30 million dollars. Compound that initial 5% over 10 years and you are talking real money.

1 comment:

John Gaynard said...

Thank you for relaying this, Nick.
Writing the post on my blog made me realize there was a lot of knowledge management going on at the Bank before the "Knowledge Management" function was created, long before the World Bank started calling itself the "Knowledge Bank".
Best wishes, John

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