How do you create KM value? Beat it with a stick!

How do you create KM value? Beat it with a stick!

I’ve been reading several articles this week that focus on reflections from KM UK. And you know something, I’m really concerned. Why? Because KMers are apparently having the same conversations at KM UK as they were 10 years ago. For those interested, you can see one of the posts here, as well as my comments.

Leave the woolly KM value arguments to the sheep!
Leave the woolly KM value arguments to the sheep!

One of the burning unresolved KM issues relates to value creation. Far too many people in KM struggle to respond to the value question, which creates woolly arguments that lose traction and end up being nothing more than good ideas. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but good ideas are just not good enough when organisations are experiencing turbulent economic conditions.

For example, I have just conducted a High-Reliability Organisation knowledge and learning performance analysis for a group of hospitals in the US. Every gap found, every recommendation made, has to directly impact value creation or it is dismissed as a waste of resource – impact being a demonstrable gain against behaviours, processes or structures. The basis for alignment between action and value is created using STIQC (the “stick” in my blog title) – any action must touch on one of these operational areas:

  • Safety
  • Time
  • Innovation
  • Quality
  • Cost

As a point of clarification, cost tends to be the underpinning aspect for safety, time, innovation and quality. But, in practice, and I can’t explain why, people seem to like to separate it out as an independent area. For me, the value proposition requires quantification and therefore a discussion on cost, which could be interpreted as follows:

To each their own mental model

I then look at value creation in a number of ways, but here are two you might consider. First, what is the cost of doing nothing (impact upon STIQC)? Second, what gains (opportunities to impact STICQ) can be had via the gaps identified in current behaviours, processes and structures? If you can’t talk FAIRR (feelings, access, impact, results, return) you are down the road with the sheep!

The bottom line? Knowledge Management and Learning & Development are under considerable pressure to create value in organisations. Separate yourself from the flock and leave the woolly arguments to the sheep 🙂