Monday, 13 July 2020

10 principles for managing knowledge, from Stephen Denning

In this article from Forbes Magazine in 2012, Steven Denning, once head of KM at the World Bank and a wise commentator on Knowledge Management topics, describes his ten principles for managing knowledge.


These are as follows


  1. The amount of money that could be spent on accumulating knowledge is infinite: Knowledge is in principle limitless. Accumulation of knowledge "just in case" is an endless task.
  2. However Knowledge has no value per se: Knowledge acquires value from use. 
  3. Spending on knowledge has negative value if organization doesn’t use it. Knowledge is only useful to those willing and able to learn.
  4. Institutional knowledge may serve as blinders to effective action (he cites this example where gaining more documented knowledge sometimes hindered performance). 
  5. The most valuable knowledge increasingly lies outside the organization. 
  6. Knowledge can require deep expertise to access it.
  7. The deep expertise needed to access knowledge can be lost.
  8. The value of knowledge lies in improved outcomes for external customers or stakeholders (I think we could include internal stakeholders as well). 
  9. What constitutes an improved outcome depends on the organization’s strategy.
  10. Outcomes need to be measured against the organizational strategy. Nothing can be managed unless and until it is measured. Knowledge has no value per se; it has to be measured in relation to the strategy it is intended to accomplish.

These principles are admirably focused on knowledge use, and the outcomes of knowledge use. This should be the focus for all KM programs. 

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