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  1. 1. THE MANCHESTER REVIEW • DOUBLE ISSUE 2001 • VOLUME 6 • NUMBERS 2 AND 3Knowledge Management,CKO, and CKM:The Keys to Competitive AdvantageBy John M. Leitch and Philip W. RosenTo compete well in the emerging economy, it is imperative exchanged ideas about their most effective tech-that firms improve the effectiveness of their knowledge niques in a collaborative learning experiment.processes. Knowledge management, the chief knowledge The result: a 24 percent drop in their overallofficer, and the certified knowledge manager are the tools mortality rate for coronary bypass surgery, or 74with which to improve these processes. fewer deaths than predicted. This story highlights the use of several knowledgeKnowledge Management Saves Lives! management concepts: knowledge sharing, trust, andThe following story appears in Working Knowledge the use of best practices to achieve the ultimate returnby Tom Davenport and Larry Prusak: on investment—saving lives. In addition, the use of knowledge management initiatives increased the sur- geons’ market share by giving them a competitive In 1996, teams of leading heart surgeons from advantage over surgeons with a higher mortality rate. five New England medical centers observed one Knowledge management initiatives can bring that another’s operating-room practices and competitive advantage to your organization.John M. Leitch is a program manager for Syracuse Research Corporation. He is currently providing leadership, systems engi-neering, and knowledge management (KM) expertise to the U.S. government. Prior to that, he spent 13 years as an Army officerin the infantry, armor, and military intelligence fields. Some of his Army KM experience includes duties at the Army’s NationalTraining Center facilitating small-group learning, duties as a Jumpmaster in the 82nd Airborne Division sharing critical airborneknowledge, and various intelligence assignments responsible for getting the right information to the right people at the righttime to save lives. John can be reached by email at W. Rosen is a former Merrill Lynch executive where he spent 17 years delivering progressive technology-based businesssolutions. Prior to that, he spent 10 years in the telecommunications industry. Due to his passion for knowledge management,he is pursuing a career where he can use his extensive experience as an innovative business technology leader to helporganizations achieve competitive advantage through the effective use of their knowledge. He developed a Web site,, to share information that is critical for businesses committed to achieving competitive advantage. Philcan be reached by phone at (732) 572-1418 or by e-mail at 9
  2. 2. THE MANCHESTER REVIEW • DOUBLE ISSUE 2001 • VOLUME 6 • NUMBERS 2 AND 3What Is Knowledge Management? 1. Acquire information and unverified knowledge.Knowledge management is a misnomer.A working 2. Produce new, validated knowledge from thedefinition of “knowledge” is: understanding gained acquired information and unverified knowledge.from experience. Most knowledge is tacit, in people’sheads. Consequently, most knowledge cannot be man- 3. Integrate the new knowledge into the organiza-aged.What can be managed are an organization’s tion for improved effectiveness.knowledge processes. Knowledge processes areembedded throughout the enterprise (e.g., strategicplanning, decision making, marketing, hiring person- Understanding and optimizing thesenel). Every person in an enterprise participates in KM processes can give yourknowledge processes. Knowledge managers help the organization a competitive advantageorganization improve the effectiveness of their knowl-edge processes. regardless of your market segment.Several professionals, under the sponsorship of Innovation, which comes from the creation of newKnowledge Management Consortium International, knowledge, is the most important knowledge processdeveloped the following three-phase Knowledge Life for achieving competitive advantage.To gain maximumCycle model (Figure 1): benefit from the new knowledge, it must be integrated into the organization.The knowledge life cycle is con- Figure 1: Knowledge Life Cycle Model Basic Knowledge Processes10
  3. 3. THE MANCHESTER REVIEW • DOUBLE ISSUE 2001 • VOLUME 6 • NUMBERS 2 AND 3tinuous.Understanding and optimizing these KM • selling knowledge management to senior man-processes can give your organization a competitive agers and creating a shared visionadvantage regardless of your market segment. • getting buy-in from competing initiatives and advocatesThe Need for Knowledge Management Now! • mentoring knowledge management initiative leadersAs businesses continue to forge ahead in the twenty-first century, knowledge management has materialized • managing multiple projects, vendors, and consultantsas the only real differentiator.According to Larry • delivering measurable knowledge managementPrusak, the executive director of the IBM Institute for benefits that significantly contribute to the suc-Knowledge Management,“In the emerging economy, a cess of the enterprisefirm’s only advantage is its ability to leverage and uti- The CKO’s primary activities should span thelize its knowledge.” “metaprise” (the enterprise and its entire ecosystemTo accomplish the knowledge production and integra- which includes customers, prospects, suppliers, othertion processes, an organization needs to foster collab- strategic alliance partners, stockholders, governingoration among all individuals and to codify the result- board of directors, and competitors).To be most effec-ing insights in knowledge base repositories for self- tive, the CKO needs to be a member of the seniorservice access by others.This will enable knowledge management team and should report directly to themanagement to reach its goal of facilitating the deliv- CEO.The CKO’s direct reports could be structuredery of the best knowledge to the right person at just through a matrix or as a dedicated knowledge man-the right time.With this knowledge, people are agement organization. For proven success, multipleempowered to effectively solve problems, make deci- project teams report to the CKO and team leaderssions, respond to customer queries, and create new need to be accountable to the CKO for the durationproducts and services tailored to the needs of clients. of their specific projects.Many organizations have named a chief knowledge The CKO has a very complex mission and needs to beofficer (CKO) as the executive responsible to make all very learned in his or her profession.To get theof this happen. knowledge required for mission success, CKOs have many options available:They can take university courses, read any of the hundreds of knowledge man- agement books on the market, or use trial and error.With this knowledge, people are They can also take the Certified Knowledge Managerempowered to effectively solve (CKM) program which combines the best of the above options into a one-week workshop and follow-problems, make decisions, respond to up practicum.customer queries, and create newproducts and services tailored to the The Certified Knowledge Managerneeds of clients. Program (CKM) The certified knowledge manager program prepares its CKM candidates for knowledge management lead-Chief Knowledge Officer (CKO) ership and emphasizes the role of the CKO.This pro-Knowledge management success requires a holistic gram exceeds the competencies identified by exten-approach, and the most effective leader will possess sive U.S. government-funded research to be the criti-solid technical, business, and social skills.The CKO is cal standards for successful knowledge management.someone who could lead an enterprisewide knowl- This CKM research was conducted by noted expertsedge management program. Included in the CKO’s from the government, the private sector, and academia.responsibilities are: The CKM program includes an intensive, one-week• creating a knowledge management vision workshop, followed by enrichment projects based on assessed needs.The program melds traditional training• integrating knowledge management into the (proven knowledge management principles and meth- strategic plans of the enterprise 11
  4. 4. THE MANCHESTER REVIEW • DOUBLE ISSUE 2001 • VOLUME 6 • NUMBERS 2 AND 3ods) with extensive hands-on mastery (i.e., The CKM program’s workshop outline is as follows:Knowledge Management Community of Practice,work projects, Innovation Lab, publishing, teaching, • Unit One—Demystify Knowledge Management—and simulations). Satisfactory completion of the pro- What is knowledge management?gram bestows the professional designation of • Unit Two—Create Knowledge Management“Certified Knowledge Manager” (CKM), which attests Methodology—How do you perform knowledgeto the professional’s ability to successfully perform a management?diverse set of activities and deliver results wellbeyond the classroom environment. • Unit Three —Study Knowledge Management Methodology Phase I—How do you get started? • Unit Four—Study Knowledge ManagementThe CKM program includes an Methodology Phases II–IV—Complete the knowl- edge management initiative.intensive, one-week workshop, followed • Unit Five—Special Topics (e.g., Excite Innovation,by enrichment projects based on Knowledge Management Performance Metrics,assessed needs. The program melds Build and Sustain Communities of Practice,traditional training (proven knowledge Fundamentals of Managing Knowledge Management Projects)management principles and methods) The CKM program was developed over a period ofwith extensive hands-on mastery… several years by Douglas Weidner. He is the workshop instructor/facilitator and can be reached by e-mail at:The authors of this article recently became CKM can-’s unselfish atti-didates by successfully completing the one-week tude and passion for the success of knowledge man-CKM workshop. Many of the concepts in this article agement are two of the qualities that contribute to hisare based on that workshop. being a visionary leader and pioneer in the knowl- edge management field. His full-time position is asThe electronic KM Methodology Kbase (for the chief scientist: knowledge management/senior techni-robust knowledge management methodology that cal fellow for the $15-billion Northrop Grummanwas introduced in the workshop) serves as a living Corporation. Recently, he trained and advised Navyreference tool that will continuously evolve and knowledge management system developers for theincorporate new knowledge as it develops.The CKM Navy Acquisition Reform Office’s (ARO) worldwideAlumni Community of Practice that started during knowledge management system.Also, he provided anthe workshop will continue with the assistance of in-depth evaluation of the United Nation’s two-year-state-of-the-art technology—KM Methodology Kbase old knowledge management initiative. In April 2000and collaborative technologies for online learning and 2001, Douglas served on the executive advisoryand knowledge sharing.This is invaluable and at the board for the e-gov Knowledge Managementcore of knowledge management.The CKM program Conferences, and presented the event’s most popularalso is developing associations with universities that workshop on knowledge management fundamentals.are involved with knowledge management research. He is an engineering graduate of the U.S.Air ForceThis research will feed knowledge management prac- Academy with an MBA in business economics and antitioners, and the results of the applied research will MSIE in operations fed back to the universities.A CKM IncubationLabTM, currently under construction, includes incu-bator and venture capital expertise to allow graduateCKMs to confidentially disclose, test, patent, andbring new knowledge management ideas to market.12
  5. 5. THE MANCHESTER REVIEW • DOUBLE ISSUE 2001 • VOLUME 6 • NUMBERS 2 AND 3Figure 2: KBase Screen Shot of CKM’s KM Methodology Phase I A1 Promote KM Strategic LeadershipKnowledge Management Methodology • Phase II—Design/Justify KM Initiative—Design, test, and justify the strategic or grassroots KM ini-Knowledge Base tiative before roll out.The KM Methodology KBase is a technology-basedtool that is the repository for the knowledge manage- • Phase III—Implement/Manage Organizationalment lessons learned by all.The users continuously Change—Develop organizational and technologi-update it as they share, and most importantly capture, cal change management plans, then implement.their specific experiences doing detailed knowledge • Phase IV—Continuously Improve Operations (KMmanagement activities throughout the strategic Initiatives)—Leverage successes.knowledge management life cycle.The four-phase knowledge management methodology is:• Phase I—Promote KM Strategic Leadership— Establish the knowledge imperative. (Figure 2: “KBase Screen Shot of CKM’s KM Methodology Phase I”) 13