I attended yesterday's KM Community Call, hosted by Carla O'Dell of APQC. The topic was the 2008 Global Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises (MAKE) as announced by Teleos on the 9th of December.
Getting to the meat of things, here are the winners for 2008:
- McKinsey & Company
- Royal Dutch Shell
- Honda Motor
- Pricewaterhouse Coopers
- Ernst & Young
- Samsung Group
- Tata Group
- Infosys Technologies
The speakers on the call were, first off, Rory Chase of Teleos, who talked about the awards nomination and selection process and announced the winners. I had read about the process in the past, and the reports clarify how it is done, but it was interesting to hear about it directly. Also interesting was the claim that the winners have consistently shown a number of common attributes across the years:
- creating a corporate knowledge-driven culture
- developing knowledge workers through senior management leadership
- maximizing enterprise intellectual capital
- creating an environment for collaborative knowledge sharing
- organizational learning
- delivering value based on stakeholder knowledge
- transforming enterprise knowledge into stakeholder value
The other thing he said is that the winners typically outperform their peers in a number of familiar business numbers factors, such as shareholder return (outperforming by 2:1!) and R&D expenditure. And many of the MAKE winners appear on other "most admired" type surveys. I have to wonder if there is a bit of chicken-and-egg going on in that regard. Are they admired because they are good at "knowledge management" or are they good at KM because they are watched more closely? (I've been reading Built to Last , and the answer is "neither." The companies that last are the ones that are built to do so. If KM is part of that, then it is there.)
The rest of the call was highlights of KM programs from several of the winners. Carla O'Dell from APQC spoke about their models and findings through the years. This was more of an overview of their research into other companies than discussion of the KM program within APQC. One thing I liked was the offer of their models to the KM community. I believe they will be publishing some of this at KM Edge, but the graphic here is one of their models that I found interesting.
The other thing Carla highlighted was three trends she sees as affecting knowledge management, what she calls the "New Edge of KM:"
- Social computing / Wisdom of Crowds
- Multiple generations of people at work
- KM and innovation
People in KM have heard about the first two for the last five years or so. And we are now starting to see real deployments of social computing used within corporations as well as corporations acknowledging the great value of knowledge that exists outside their walls (as if that is new). The "generations" topic has always been a non-starter for me, but the way that Carla described it suggested something a little more interesting. It's not that there are Gen Y employees in the workplace, it is that workplaces are growing more and more diverse: generationally, culturally, nationality, location. It's the growing diversity that is going to make for the trends in KM and just about every other area of KM. And the last element, Innovation, is something I've always associated with KM.
The other speakers were more focused on the KM programs at their companies and showed a range of activities, right across the board for KM. These were Tom Barfield of Accenture, Dan Narrison (sp?) of Fluor, and Susan Rosenbaum of Schlumberger.