Tim Powell is challenging one of our long-held societal (and organizational management) absolutes.
And there’s no doubt about it: we are immediately drawn in by the title of Tim’s latest post: “Knowledge is Power – NOT!”
Take a look at Competing in the Knowledge Economy: Observations by Tim Powell (August 12) and see if you agree with what Tim has to say.
I’m struck first by the clarity with which Tim sets forth his thesis, giving all of us who work in KM, knowledge services, and knowledge strategy a well thought-out (and easy to remember) distinction for all the activity that goes on throughout the knowledge domain. It’s all about two functions: knowledge production and knowledge use.
Here’s how Tim puts it:
I created the Knowledge Value Chain® framework in 1996 to address what I had seen as a persistent and critical gap throughout my career — that the production of knowledge on the one hand, and its use or application on the other, were largely treated and managed as separate and distinct functions. I came to believe this shortcoming was key to many knowledge/ intelligence malfunctions, and starting giving talks about knowledge-value chains being broken.
The KVC model has two halves — the PRODUCTION half (Data-Information-Knowledge), and the USE half (Decisions-Actions-Value). In an ideal situation, the two halves work together as a seamless ‘engine’ of organizational awareness.
Read Tim’s post. I promise you’ll come away refreshed and professionally stimulated. And at the same time, you’ll learn Tim’s useful definition of knowledge vis-à-vis intelligence. And watch this space, to learn more from Tim Powell when he is the topic of one of SMR International’s “Other Voices” interviews in a couple of weeks.
Guy St. Clair says
Valdimir Riecicky at the Knowledge@Risk LinkedIn Group writes:
Thanks for this brilliant post Guy. It definitely works for what I’ve been experiencing:
Knowledge Power = Intelligence.
The North’s Knowledge Stairs (Wissenstreppe) came across my mind while I was reading this article. However, climbing the stairs from data level up to the competitive advantage level and back as advocated there, does not really spell the Tim’s message, which I think is far more important. Very refreshing indeed.
Karim Husain responds:
Thanks Vladimir for guiding me to this article. To me, the key aspect is the fact to enable both the sides to unerstand each other better, which could also be descriped as the (social) skill of empowerment.
This reminds me by the way about an article I read well ten years back on the management pyramid as advocated in Harvard, where the most important skill for the management are the social skills. The example given was the CEO of a very big and known company (Gilette, if I am not mistaken) and on why he was a long-term serving and successful CEO: He used to sit together with the “knowledge” people and share his management views right down on how to operationalize them.
Vladimir responds to Karim:
I was thinking a little bit more about the KVC and how it might be projected to business. The first question I would ask ist the following: How much money/energy/emotions does the particular company spend at which level of the http://www.knowledgevaluechain.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/350pxkvc_triangle.png pyramid? The resulting ratio would probably point to the strengths and weaknesses of the respective organizational architecture at place. E.g. to much effort spend on the data level in comparison to the intelligence level would be a sign of pure architecture. Any thoughts?
Guy St. Clair says
Stephan Sutter comments at the Knowledge@Risk LinkedIn Group:
The 7 steps of the KVC reflect the long time and big effort it takes from data to value. Some people are very fast to go up the pyramid, others are blocked in front of action. Taking action is visible and if it’s the wrong action, you get new knowledge from failure and often reputation issues too. Maybe the deming circle (pdca) in short iterations helps an organization take steps more often than thinking only. Discussions, like Karim mentioned above, help gather a lot of intelligence so an organization can agree on the best actions to take next.