Friday, September 7, 2007

One way or the other

There is the dilemma that faces all practitioners of KM ... How does one measure the performance of the KM team. Usually, one would find people erring on one or the other side of the spectrum.

One way of looking at it ... Purely in terms of anecdotal measurement! This makes sense if we look at the inherent intangibility of Knowledge, and hence, of the way increases in the aggregate knowledge of the organization can be observed, leave alone measured. People who have been with the organization for some time would be able to deduce this increase but that would be from, at times, totally unrelated things. Drawback? Its not possible to put this in terms of pure numbers, and that is what traditional measurement is all about, isnt it?

The other way of looking at it ... Use a mechanism to put some kind of objectivity around measuring KM. This is definitely lucrative. Drawback? The only way we could do this is by using some sort of appropriate proxy, but this, by definition is an indirect method measurement, and hence, cannot be totally relied upon.

Does this mean that we need a mix of the two approaches for defining measurement standards?

However, lets step one step back ... Look at the larger problem ... We are yet to arrive at a definition of Knowledge. A working definition ... The ability to translate information into meaningful actionables. I am ok going with this definition, but the broader point is that we cannot expect to come up with a measurement framework unless we have a consistent definition.

To be honest, I am not really interested in a universal definition. Rather, I would go with a context specific definition, because with intangibles, it is rather easier to have a contextual definition of the intangible, and I would expect, over a period of time, and over the course of a few Ph. D.'s at B-Schools, a more widely accepted definition would emerge.

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