Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Measuring Knowledge

This is a sticky thing to do. Something which we have not been very successful at doing. Although there are frameworks which can help us do this, the Balanced Scorecard being one of those, I am a skeptic when it comes to a generalized definition.

The basic idea that I am trying to put forth here is that something intangible is very difficult to measure in a generalized sense, but moment you put it into a particular context, the measurement conundrum lends itself to a far simpler solution, because here, the solution can be determined in the context of the problem that is being solved.

Let me take an example from High-School Physics. Take the term "Efficiency". How do you define efficiency? Is there a universal definition of the term? Not that I am aware of. But, try to apply the term to Carnot's Engine, and you can easily define the term. Or, apply the term to the working of a machine on a production line, and you can easily define the term.

I think we could extend the same logic to the concept of measuring Knowledge as well. That the definition of measures should be in the context of the business where we are actually trying to measure. So, for example, in a Call Centre, with a Sales process, the measurement of knowledge would be different from that in a helpdesk. Which is why, I am not sure whether a universal definition of the measure is such a great idea, after all.

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