Inside Knowledge Magazine /Knowledge Management Magazine Archive
Volume 6 Issue 1
The risks companies face today are more diverse and potentially more damaging than ever before. One year on from last autumnís devastating events in New York and Washington DC, the threat of terrorist attack still looms large. At the same time, confidence in corporate accounting practices is at rock bottom, with recent attempts at reform in the US attracting little more than renewed scorn.
Reputations have been further undermined by recent coverage of corporate wrongdoing of a different kind: in Japan, for instance, Universal Studios confessed that it had served customers beef, caviare and salami that was as much as nine months past its sell-by date, and Marubeni Chikusan was caught passing off 700 tonnes of Brazilian chicken as higher-priced domestic poultry, to name just two of a number of recent scandals in the country.
Add to this the uncertainties surrounding the current economic climate and the pressures of increasing competition and accelerating technology, and it is clear that businesses have an abundance of external and internal pressures to cope with.
Which is where knowledge management can help. As Ian Martin of UBS Warburg is quoted as saying recently, knowledge management is risk management; it is impossible for a firm to respond to risks in the appropriate manner without having the proper knowledge in place. If a firm is to limit its exposure to, and the impact of, the diverse threats it encounters, it is essential that employees at every level throughout the organisation are actively involved in its risk management strategy.
A culture of openness and of collective responsibility is crucial, not only in this respect, but also in maximising the opportunities that risks can present. For risk is not only a negative thing to be avoided; indeed, from an economic standpoint there is no return without some element of risk taking. The trick is in establishing an environment in which the dangers to the organisation can be effectively mitigated, while the chances are seized.
On a separate note, you will no doubt have already noticed that Knowledge Management has had something of a facelift. Six years old this month, the magazine is now bigger, bolder and brighter than ever before. I hope you enjoy the new format.
Putting people first [Web only article]
In order to be effective, any knowledge management initiative must take into account the central importance of people and their knowledge to the future success of the organisation. Tony Sheehan describes how Arup put people-centric KM at the heart of its efforts to create Arup People, a firm-wide application that has already proven its value many times over.
Building a public sector KM community
While interest in knowledge management is growing rapidly among public sector organisations, the majority of KM literature continues to focus almost exclusively on the experiences of commercial organisations. Shawn Callahan recounts how the ActKM community of practice developed in response to this deficiency, and outlines the organisations guiding principles and goals.
Balancing knowledge exploitation and information security
Knowledge management and information security are closely related disciplines, to the extent that there is often a great deal of confusion as to where one ends and the other begins. Tim Travers and Steve Daniels clarify the relationship between these two facets of enterprise management, and discuss how they fit into a broader risk management framework.
Dealing with reputational risk
Communicating effectively to all your audiences is an essential part of knowledge management if your corporate reputation is to remain intact. Systems and processes today allow organisations to capture and retrieve information in the most sophisticated way, but if this information is not shared and communicated effectively, your business reputation can still be in jeopardy when crisis strikes. Sue Stapely offers some guidance on how to avoid the bear traps.
Ethics, innovation and the open enterprise
Recent accounting scandals have highlighted the dangers of allowing dysfunctional knowledge processing in a corporate context. Mark W. McElroy discusses how knowledge management can help generate a greater sense of openness in managerial decision making, in turn reducing the risk of exposing your organisation to unethical or illegal business practice.
Risk and the learning organisation
As risk management continues to attract increased attention, organisations are beginning to recognise how dependent success in this field is on effective KM. Tom Knight and Trevor Howes explore the various forms of risk commercial enterprises must contend with, in turn explaining how knowledge management can help businesses overcome or avoid these.
Your Say: Managing knowledge to manage risk
Recent events have pushed risk management up the boardroom agenda, yet many organisations fail to recognise the importance of establishing the discipline as an enterprise-wide activity. Simon Lelic talks to representatives from Alarm, British Airways, California State University, Entovation, Glasgow Caledonian University and KMCI, and discusses how knowledge management can help an organisation maximise the impact of its risk-based strategy.
Book review: The Change Monster
Mikko Arevuo reviews The Change Monster by Jeanie Daniel Duck
Country focus: Finland
Simon Lelic talks to Tuija Helokunnas and Jussi Okkonen about the evolution of KM in Finland
5 minutes with
Ford Motor Company
Jacquie Bran, project manager with the Knowledge Management events team, spent five minutes talking to Stan Kwiecien, best practice replication deployment manager for Ford Motor Company, about the firms unique experience developing and implementing a taxonomy.
The knowledge: Karl-Erik Sveiby
Frequently described as one of the founding fathers of KM, Karl-Erik Sveibys involvement in the field stretches back almost 20 years. Simon Lelic talks to him about his personal reflections on how the discipline has evolved, and what the future has in store.