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Managing Knowledge at Work Olivier Serrat


The views expressed in this presentation are the views of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian Development Bank, or its Board of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this presentation and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. The countries listed in this presentation do not imply any view on ADB's part as to sovereignty or independent status or necessarily conform to ADB's terminology.

Data, Information, and Knowledge

Data are discrete and objective facts, measurements, or observations that can be analyzed to generate information.
Information is data that have been categorized, analyzed, summarized, and placed in context in a form that has structure and meaning.

Knowledge is a combination of data and information, to which is added expert opinion, skills, and experience, resulting in a valuable asset that aids decision making.
Knowledge is what you learn from experiencebefore, during, and after the event.

Knowledge Assets
Explicit Knowledge
Is codified knowledge Can be expressed in writing, drawings, computer programs, etc. Can be transmitted in various forms

Tacit Knowledge

Is knowledge that people carry in their heads

Is rooted in skills, experiences, insights, intuition, and judgment

Is hard to communicate but can be shared in discussions, storytelling, and personal interactions

Knowledge Assets
Explicit Knowledge = Media-based
Paper-based, multimedia, digitally indexed, digitally active, etc.

Tacit Knowledge = In peoples head

Core Knowledge Activities

The routine of core knowledge activities comprises five components.

1. Activities should be aligned or integrated into business processes. 2. Activities should be balanced according to the specificities of each process and organization. A knowledge management solution should not focus on one or two activities in isolation.

Identify Knowledge

Create Knowledge

Use Knowledge

Store Knowledge

Share Knowledge

Knowledge Management
Knowledge management is the fusion of information management and organizational learning. Knowledge management is the explicit and systematic management of processes enabling vital individual and collective knowledge resources to be identified, created, stored, shared, and used for benefit.
It is the provision of the right knowledge to the right people at the right time, in such ways that people can apply it to improve organizational performance.

Pillars of Knowledge Management

Society Economy Environment Polity Technology

Strategic Framework






Organizatio n



Multiple Disciplines, including

Management Science

Organizational Development Computer Science Cognitive Psychology

Pillars of Knowledge Management

Pillar Function Typical Activity Identify knowledge critical to learning in ADB. Conduct work-centered analysis. Plan high-level strategic approach. Establish goal and prioritize objectives. Define requirements and develop measurement program. Promote values and norms. Implement strategy. Identify critical knowledge gaps, opportunities, and risks. Develop business process model. Engage key audiences with incentives. Enhance system integration and access. Deploy intelligent agents for people. Exploit semantic technologies. Reuse existing capabilities in new ways. Monitor, measure, and report knowledge performance metrics. Enliven collaboration. Facilitate communities of practice. Encourage storytelling. Recognize and reward knowledge sharing. Leadership Drive values for knowledge management.


Organize to support values for knowledge management.


Collect and connect knowledge.


Cultivate and utilize virtual teams and exchange forums for knowledge management.

Learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through instruction, study, and experience. Learning is driven by organization, people, knowledge, and technology working in harmonyurging better and faster learning, and increasing the relevance of an organization. Learning is an integral part of knowledge management and its ultimate end.
Data Information Know What Reductionist Knowledge Know How Wisdom Know Why Systemic

Learning from Experience

Managing Knowledge at Work: Are Job Competencies Sufficient?

Core Competencies Application of Technical Knowledge and Skills Client Orientation Achieving Results and Problem Solving Working Together Communication and Knowledge Sharing Innovation and Change
Managerial Competencies Managing Staff Leadership and Strategic Thinking Accountability Inspiring Trust and Integrity

Common Platforms for Knowledge Management and Learning

eStar addresses ADBs need to create, review, and manage documents. It provides a framework for document management, document workflow, and records management. It can be a repository of final documents. It improves search, access, and retrieval of information that can be accessed through myADB.

Common Platforms for Knowledge Management and Learning

myADB is a web content management tool that provides a single access point to
ADBs information resources;

A services catalog;
Favorite links;

Staff directory; and

C-Cube directory.

Common Platforms for Knowledge Management and Learning

C-Cube supports the work of communities of practice for communication, coordination, and collaboration inside and outside ADB. Its features include Instant messaging (chats);
Discussions forums; Web conferencing (e.g., net meeting and desktop sharing); Document storage; Calendars; Blogs; and Wikis.

Competencies for Knowledge Management and Learning

Strategy Development
A strategy is a long-term plan of action to achieve a particular goal.

Behavior and Change

Emergence and Scenario Thinking

Institutional Capacity and Participation

Knowledge Assets Marketing Organizational Learning Partnerships and Networks of Practice

Competencies for Knowledge Management and Learning

Management Techniques
Leadership is the process of working out the right things to do. Management is the process of doing things right. Branding and Value Complexity and Lateral Thinking

Linear Thinking
Organizational Change Talent Management

Competencies for Knowledge Management and Learning

Collaboration Mechanisms
When working with others, efforts sometimes turn out to be less than the sum of the parts. Too often, not enough attention is paid to facilitating effective collaborative practices. Collaborative Tools Communities of Practice and Learning Alliances Leadership

Social Innovations

Competencies for Knowledge Management and Learning

Knowledge Sharing and Learning
Two-way communication that take place simply and effectively build knowledge.

Creativity, Innovation, and Learning

Learning and Development Learning Lessons

Knowledge Capture and Storage Knowledge leaks in various ways at various times.

Knowledge Harvesting
Reporting Technology Platforms

A Possible Taxonomy of ADBs Knowledge

ADB's knowledge falls into four categories that marry tacit and explicit forms:
Lending and Nonlending Operations Knowledge. This is largely tacit, even if official knowledge products are strictly codified and there is much potential to better learn before, during, and after implementation in more explicit ways. Sector and Thematic Knowledge. This is largely tacit, but communities and networks of practice increasingly offer ways to make that know-how explicit. More and more, strategic partnerships include knowledge components too.

A Possible Taxonomy of ADBs Knowledge

Research Knowledge. This is primarily explicit. However, staff also hold a wealth of tacit research know-how in their subject areas and research methods, as well as insights about how their work fits into the wider development context.
Business and Corporate Knowledge. This is primarily explicit know-how about the corporate framework, for example, the operational policies, operational procedures, project administration instructions, and business processes. Much codified project-management knowledge lies in databases. Tacit "street-wise" knowledge also exists.

Organizational Competencies for Knowledge Management and Learning

Level Strategy Development
ADBs knowledge products and services are clearly identified. Knowledge management is embedded in ADBs business plans. A set of knowledge management tools is available and well communicated, and the capacity to apply them is strengthened actively.

Management Techniques
Managers recognize and reinforce the link between knowledge management and organizational performance. Managers regularly apply relevant knowledge management tools and act as role models. Terms of reference for staff contain references to knowledge management. Knowledge management is considered to be everyones responsibility. A few positions are dedicated to knowledge management. Managers increasingly display leadership behaviors that encourage knowledge management. There are incentives for knowledge management.

Collaboration Mechanisms
Collaboration is a defining principle across ADB. Networks have clearly defined roles and responsibilities and tangible deliverables, and conduct

Discussions of ADBs knowledge products and services are frequent. A knowledge management strategy exists but is not imbedded in ADBs business plans. A set of knowledge management tools is available and understood

Networks are organized around business needs and are framed by a governance document. Relevant management tools for collaboration are in place and well used. External parties are included in some networks.

Organizational Competencies for Knowledge Management and Learning

Level Strategy Development
There are ongoing discussions about developing a knowledge management strategy. A few job descriptions include knowledge capture, sharing, and distillation. A broad range of knowledge management tools are used across ADB.

Management Techniques
Knowledge management is viewed as the responsibility of a specialist working group. A few managers talk the talk and sometimes walk the walk.

Collaboration Mechanisms
Staff use networks and working groups to achieve results. Peers help peers across ADBs organizational boundaries.

Formal collaboration mechanisms are created


Many staff say that sharing knowledge is important to ADBs success. A few staff use knowledge management tools to learn and share. Isolated staff with a passion for knowledge management begin to talk about how important and difficultit is.

A few managers give staff the time to share knowledge and learn, but there is little visible support from the top.

Ad hoc personal networking to achieve objectives is used by individual staff members who know one another. This is increasingly recognized as vital to ADB. Knowledge hoarders seem to be rewarded. There are few cross-cutting collaborations. Silos (hierarchical categories) are hard to break down. Asking for help is considered to be a weakness rather than a strength.

Knowledge management is viewed as a fad. Many managers still believe that knowledge is power. Managers think that networking leads to lack of accountability.

Organizational Competencies for Knowledge Management and Learning

Level Knowledge Sharing and Learning
Prompts for learning are built into ADBs business processes. Staff routinely find out who knows what, inside and outside ADB, and talk to them. A common language, templates, and guidelines support effective knowledge management.

Knowledge Capture and Storage

Networks act as guardians of knowledge products and services. Knowledge is easy to access and retrieve. Selected knowledge products and services are sent to potential users in a systematic and coherent manner. High priority knowledge products and services have multiple managers who are responsibility for updating, summarizing, and synthesizing them. Exit interviews and handovers are used systematically.

Learning before, during, and after is the way things are done in ADB. Beneficiaries and partners participate in review sessions. External knowledge plays a role in shaping program or project processing and administration.

Key knowledge is kept current and easily accessible. An individual staff member acts as the guardian of each knowledge asset, and encourages people to contribute. Many do.

Organizational Competencies for Knowledge Management and Learning

Level Knowledge Sharing and Learning
Staff can easily find out what ADB knows. Examples of knowledge sharing and knowledge use are highlighted and recognized. Peers help peers across ADBs organizational boundaries.

Knowledge Capture and Storage

Networks take responsibility for knowledge management and store it in one location in a common format. Some knowledge is summarized for easy access by others. Searching knowledge products and services before embarking on a program or project is encouraged, as is sharing lessons afterwards. Exit interviews and handovers become common currency.

2 1

Individual staff members learn before doing and program review sessions. They sometimes capture what they learn for the purpose of sharing but few colleagues access it in practice. Staff are conscious of the need to learn from what they do but are rarely given time. Sharing is for the benefit of specific working groups.

A few working groups capture lessons learned after a program or project and look for knowledge before starting a program or project. There is potential access to much knowledge, but it is not well summarized. Individual staff members take the time to capture lessons but do so in a confusing variety of formats. Most staff do not contribute to knowledge products and services, and few search them. No exit interviews and few handovers take place.

Assessing Perceptions of Levels of Organizational Performance

This 2007 survey of perceptions aimed to: Evaluate the perceived level of OEDs organizational performance per competency area. Measure awareness of and identified gaps in OEDs knowledge products and services using the five competencies framework.
Interface OEDOED OEDADB OEDIEC Strategy Development Management Techniques X Collaboration Mechanisms ? Knowledge Sharing and Learning ? X Knowledge Capture and Storage X

ADB = Asian Development Bank, OED = Operations Evaluation Department, IEC = international evaluation community. Note: = more than half of the items in the questionnaire were rated as often the case to always the case by most of the respondents; ? = half of the items in the questionnaire were rated as often the case to always the case by most of the respondents, while the other half were created as sometimes the case to never; X = more than half of the items were rated as sometimes the case to never by most respondents. Source: ADB. 2008. Auditing the Lessons Architecture. Manila. Available

The Promise of Knowledge Management and Learning

Performance Tomorrow




Performance Today

Further Reading
ADB. 2008. Notions of Knowledge Management: Available: ADB. 2009. Glossary of Knowledge Management. Available: ADB. 2009. The Roots of an Emerging Discipline. Available: ADB. 2009. Building a Learning Organization. Available: ADB. 2009. A Primer on Organizational Learning. Available:

ADB. 2010. Seeding Knowledge Solutions Before, During, and After. Available:
ADB. 2011. InFocus: Knowledge Solutions. Available:

Knowledge Management Center

Olivier Serrat
Principal Knowledge Management Specialist Knowledge Management Center Regional and Sustainable Development Department Asian Development Bank