E-conference KM: 'What do we mean by knowledge management ...

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Nov 6, 2013 (3 years and 9 months ago)

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Updated: Thursday 24 March 2005
E-conference KM: ‘What do we mean by
knowledge management?’.
Dear Participants,
The topic for this week is ‘What do we mean by knowledge management?’.
Although we provided you with background material and reports from the 2004 conference, we hope
to start more or less from scratch. We really want to deal with and focus on the reality on the ground.
Therefore do not hesitate to ask for explanations during the discussions. In this e-conference we want
to build an understanding of what is knowledge management. Ultimately this should lead to more
effective and efficient action in the WATSAN sector.
Just to start the discussion process, some questions:

What kind of knowledge is valuable to you?

What are the characteristics of knowledge and managing knowledge?

What kind of knowledge do you need to do your job?

How do you keep knowledge up-to-date?

Is there a relationship with learning?

What are procedures, methodologies or projects in relation to knowledge management?
Your answer: 'To me, knowledge management means .....'
In your first message please introduce yourself so that we “know” each other.
Some 100 participants will take part in the discussion. This number looks promising for a lively
interaction.
Kind regards, Jaap Pels

KM is the sum of human activities ...., Jose Carmelo M. Gendrano
(31 Mar 05)

KM can mean so many different things to different people., Renuka Bery
(30 Mar 05)

Knowledge mapping (K-Mapping) as a means of charting assets, Asad Zaman
(29 Mar 05)

End of 1st period E-conference on KM, Jaap Pels
(29 Mar 05)

Knowledge Management and the real world, Cor Dietvorst
(24 Mar 05)

Well it’s a very huge area to discuss, Asad Zaman
(24 Mar 05)

Deconstructing KM, Jaap Pels
(2 messages, last on 24 Mar 05)

Knowledge and Knowledge Management, Mustapha Malki
(2 messages, last on 24 Mar 05)

World Water Day 2005 is over ..., Jaap Pels
(2 messages, last on 23 Mar 05)

KM includes to detect corrupt practices, NR.Chilukuri
(4 messages, last on 24 Mar 05)

'To me, knowledge management means .....', Peter Bury
(2 messages, last on 23 Mar 05)

KM aims to do the best use, Ratan Budhathoki
(23 Mar 05)

knowledge management defined, Laxman Kharal
(3 messages, last on 24 Mar 05)

Knowledge management, kouassi sébastien DOHOU
(3 messages, last on 23 Mar 05)

what we mean by knowledge management, Evgeny Tyrtyshny
(4 messages, last on 31 Mar 05)

Re: What do we mean by knowledge management?., iqbal zuberi
(3 messages, last on 24 Mar 05)

What do we mean by knowledge management?, Segundo Vergara
(19 Mar 05)

What KM means to me, Susana Neto
(2 messages, last on 23 Mar 05)

Knowledge management at Mvula Trust, Dick de Jong
(2 messages, last on 23 Mar 05)
IRC © 1998–2005
Terms & conditions.
KM is the sum of human activities ....
Jose Carmelo M. Gendrano - Thursday 31 March 2005
Hi.I am Jose Carmelo M. Gendrano (boji), research
officer and watsan eng'r atthe Philippine Center for
Water and Sanitation in Manila.
What do we mean by KM? To me KM is the sum of human
activities by which information is acquired, processed
and organized, and made available and actionable to
those who need it.
Other things I can think of at the moment.
Knowledge is power, whether used for good or bad.
Knowledge is a resource. It takes other resources to
produce it.
Knowledge is one of the few resources that is not
exhausted and in fact expands more with acquisition
and use.It is one phenomenon that defies entropy.
Knowledge sometimes get obsolete or moot.
Different forms of knowledge transmission are needed
depending on the learner's and teacher's capabilities.
People may resist knowledge and its spread if it
disturbs the present order of things.
boji
IRC © 1998–2005
Terms & conditions.
KM can mean so many different things to
different people.
Renuka Bery - Wednesday 30 March 2005
Hello everyone:
I have been meaning to join in but haven’t had the chance until now. I am Renuka Bery, the
knowledge management specialist on the new USAID-funded Hygiene Improvement Project housed
at the Academy for Educational Development in the US with IRC as a partner.
I have enjoyed following the discussion because it offers so many new thoughts on how to
conceptualize knowledge management. I don’t like the term because it seems to have quickly become
a blanket term that obscures rather than clarifies because KM can mean so many different things to
different people. The distinctions people have made between information and knowledge are
important. While I like the continuum concept Mustapha Malki introduced (data-information-
knowledge-wisdom), I feel that KM is actually an iterative process that keeps changing as information
and knowledge get exchanged.
I think that KM is more than just digested information. I generally define KM as getting the right
information to the right people at the right time in a way that that can be used so that informed
decisions can be made, problems solved, or actions taken. But this requires time and resources. Too
often people with the knowledge do not have time to share it—or the tools to make it easy to
share—or the resources to transform the knowledge into valuable communication. This then may be
where the management part of KM can come into play—to help provide tools so that there can be
interactive exchanges.
Another issue I struggle with is the range of available information and knowledge. In some settings a
derth of information/knowledge exists; other settings reel from the vast quantity of
information/knowledge that has to be reviewed to find something relevant. I see KM as offering some
type of filtering process that reaches far and wide.
Finally, perhaps the KM terminology is a way to make knowledge sharing deliberate so that
researchers, practitioners, governments, and donors don’t forget or dismiss the need to communicate
and share knowledge with one another to support learning and wisdom—and so we do not continue to
make the same mistakes.
IRC © 1998–2005
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Knowledge mapping (K-Mapping) as a means
of charting assets
Asad Zaman - Tuesday 29 March 2005
As rightly said by Cor about the learning alliance. But that alliance only work when one knows about
its knowledge assets. I think most of organizations still not sure what ther knowledge assets are and
how they can share that knowledge for learning b/w humans or organizations. For the best results each
organization should undergo a massive knowledge mapping exercise because knowledge mapping (K-
Mapping) is a means of charting the type, quality and location of the organisation's knowledge assets.
It also helps discover the location, ownership, value and use of knowledge artifacts and leverage
existing knowledge.
If we are not carefully managing our internal or existing knowledge it may lead to wrong decision
making. (GIGO - Garbage In Garbage Out)
As far as I see this should be the first step of any KM setup for improve learning.
Am pasting a para from a KM journal for your interest.
Research suggests that in more cases than not, knowledge mapping exercises of all types help learn.
Why is this? There are many possible answers to this question. First, mapping provides sustained
support for time on task in thinking about a topic. Second, if mapping is done collaboratively, it can
lead to extended discussions about the meanings of concepts and the relations between them. Third,
the act of creating an organized structure of ideas on paper or in a computer necessitates and often
prompts the creation of such a knowledge structure in the mind. Fourth, knowledge mapping prompts
to take implicit, often fuzzy, associations and make them into explicit and precise linkages, a process
that is at the heart of meaning-making. Fifth, knowledge mapping takes many cognitive and
metacognitive skills that remained invisible for so many generations and makes them visible, explicit,
and accessible. Sixth, mapping prompts to make finer discriminations between ideas, another pr!
ocess at
the heart of learning. Seventh, the more one practices, the better one becomes at organizing and
relating concepts (Cliburn, 1990). And eighth, each time two concepts are joined with a relation in
working memory, that information is believed to be “broadcast” to all the modules in the brain so it
can be used to solve any current problem the vast subconscious brain may be working on (Baars,
1988).
Best regards,
Asad Uz Zaman
Cor Dietvorst wrote:
This email is to inform you that a new Forum message has been published at www.irc.nl.
------------------------------------------------------------
Knowledge Management and the real world - Cor Dietvorst
As Asad Uz Zaman points out, KM is “a very huge area to discuss”, which according to Sébastien
Kouassi it depends on “social, political, economical, cultural,...realities”. To add to this, I have not yet
come across examples where organisations have implemented an integrated KM strategy as put
forward in the Weggeman model (see
http://www.irc.nl/page/8371).
Some cynics view KM as nothing more than a marketing concept thought up by management
consultants and ICT companies (
http://informationr.net/ir/8-1/paper144.html). Indeed, two of the most
widely applied and acclaimed KM applications – the Intranet and Communities of Practices (CoPs) –
use ICT tools to support existing working procedures/systems. An Intranet is an ICT-enhanced office
communication and archiving system and CoPs are generally seen as groups of professionals with a
common interest who use ICT-tools to enhance information sharing.
A KM model like that of Weggeman can be used as a checklist to see where KM processes are likely
to fail. But where are the practical solutions?
A promising new angle to KM can be seen in Learning Alliances (
http://www.irc.nl/page/14957).
Many difficulties occur when knowledge has to be shared between different stakeholders. Researchers
find it difficult to influence policy-makers, project implementers often do not take the experiences of
end-users into consideration. KM could play a role in facilitating communication and knowledge
sharing (learning) between these different stakeholders. A good way to start would be to let
representatives of each stakeholder group inform each other about the information they rely on and
how they use it for decision-making.
Cor Dietvorst, IRC
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End of 1st period E-conference on KM
Jaap Pels - Tuesday 29 March 2005
Today the first period of the Knowledge Management E-conference has ended. We have tried to find
a common definition of ‘what we mean by knowledge management’. In total 32 contributions have
been posted on line.
It has been decided not close the conference for the time being in order to enable ongoing discussions.
IRC will review the contributions received so far and will report back on them. Hopefully some
generic perspectives will emerge which can serve as a bridge for the discussions in the next round:
‘how to create awareness for knowledge management’. The crucial question then will be how to get
knowledge management on the manager’s agenda.
IRC © 1998–2005
Terms & conditions.
Knowledge Management and the real world
Cor Dietvorst - Thursday 24 March 2005
As Asad Uz Zaman points out, KM is “a very huge area to discuss”, which according to Sébastien
Kouassi it depends on “social, political, economical, cultural,...realities”. To add to this, I have not yet
come across examples where organisations have implemented an integrated KM strategy as put
forward in the Weggeman model (see
http://www.irc.nl/page/8371).
Some cynics view KM as nothing more than a marketing concept thought up by management
consultants and ICT companies (
http://informationr.net/ir/8-1/paper144.html). Indeed, two of the most
widely applied and acclaimed KM applications – the Intranet and Communities of Practices (CoPs) –
use ICT tools to support existing working procedures/systems. An Intranet is an ICT-enhanced office
communication and archiving system and CoPs are generally seen as groups of professionals with a
common interest who use ICT-tools to enhance information sharing.
A KM model like that of Weggeman can be used as a checklist to see where KM processes are likely
to fail. But where are the practical solutions?
A promising new angle to KM can be seen in Learning Alliances (
http://www.irc.nl/page/14957).
Many difficulties occur when knowledge has to be shared between different stakeholders. Researchers
find it difficult to influence policy-makers, project implementers often do not take the experiences of
end-users into consideration. KM could play a role in facilitating communication and knowledge
sharing (learning) between these different stakeholders. A good way to start would be to let
representatives of each stakeholder group inform each other about the information they rely on and
how they use it for decision-making.
Cor Dietvorst, IRC
IRC © 1998–2005
Terms & conditions.
Well it’s a very huge area to discuss
Asad Zaman - Thursday 24 March 2005
Hi all,
A bit late. First of all thanks for those who organize this conference and giving us a chance to learn
more about Knowledge and its management.
My name is Asad Uz Zaman from Pakistan. I served 4 years for United Nations Development
Programme and 2 years for IUCN – The World Conservation Union in different ICTs and KM related
positions. Presently am doing some hardcore research in KM/AI area with Staffordshire University,
UK. In addition am writing a research paper on Communities of Practice for water sector of Pakistan
as next step of my paper I presented in WIS.
Frankly speaking I started to explore KM in early 2004 and am still looking to learn more from you
guys.
For me Knowledge is obligatory to do any type of work but before commenting on KM one has to
clarify the term knowledge itself. For me ther is a critical difference between knowledge and
information. Knowledge is occasionally viewed as processed information, the line of causation being
from information to knowledge. . Information is perceived as a commodity capable of yielding
knowledge. However, under conditions of uncertainty when information is incomplete, the line of
causation between knowledge and information may be reversed. Here, knowledge could be used to
interpret the incomplete information. There are a variety of different concepts associated with
'knowledge'. In epistemological terms, knowledge represents a set of justified beliefs, whereas
'knowledge' in technology studies and the innovation literature is often understood in a very inclusive
manner. Skills ('know-how', or rather 'can-do') are also subsumed as tacit components of knowledge.
Well I think it’s not the place to consider about the nature of knowledge. However, it should be clear
that knowledge process is basically different from information process. Information process can be
understood as transmissions of some sort of data from a sender to a receiver, (say tacit) as the process
of sending and transmission (without any understanding b/w sender and receiver). Knowledge flows
are more complex exchange processes that are directed at understanding the messages - the
'information'. Knowledge flows are more reciprocal. Sender and receiver need to understand the
information that is exchanged. This necessitates reflection on both sides, based on previous
experience, best practices etc. These interactions are approximately not ever unidirectional, but mostly
mutual.
What kind of knowledge is valuable to you?
I think most of the non-profit organizations classify in the micro level knowledge management but
those who are dealing in regional and international issues need to have large scale knowledge
management setups by combining the micro level KM setups. This may involve different products
like international gateways, websites, and resource centers, conferences etc.
How do you keep knowledge up-to-date?
Greater knowledge sharing, physical interaction and the one we are currently doing (this e-
conference) and some other tools as well
Is there a relationship with learning?
No doubts YES. Organizational learning is integral part of knowledge management and it helps to
establish a knowledge based organization. But it also depend on so many factors like
- Organization Knowledge Management Strategy
- Bottoms-up approach to knowledge management – that needs to be more broadly replicated.
- Communities of Practices
- Measures that gauge the impact of knowledge sharing/leverage efforts on work improvement
in organization.
Well it’s a very huge area to discuss.
Would also recommend the stuff handed over at the end of WIS6. I studied that stuff and
found it very useful especially to understand the complexities of KM.
IRC © 1998–2005
Terms & conditions.
Deconstructing KM
Jaap Pels - Wednesday 23 March 2005
To me knowledge management means nurturing an environment where people can develop, share,
apply and evaluate their knowledge to take action towards a goal.
Knowledge cannot be managed directly. Knowledge is personal. Key to transfer of knowledge is
communication e.g. social interaction.
Management is a planned course for action. The ‘environment’ can be physical (club, organisation or
face to face network meeting) or digital (website, e-mail or this e-conference). Action and goals imply
change / improvement / reflection / learning.
WATSAN comes in when dealing with knowledge development, application of learning, action, goals
and the people involved. Thus KM can be meaningful to preserve indigenous knowledge (goal), for
example by organising story telling sessions (action).
Organisations enhance and constrain people’s ability to (inter)act; working hours, hierarchy, budgets,
culture, systems, structure, possible face to face interaction, (not) working together etc. Here, KM
tools and methodologies can be hand picked. The business world and development organisations have
build a huge information base on what works and what not. Still, every organisation has to compose
its own KM initiative.
Knowledge Management is a process
Cecilia Matanga - Thursday 24 March 2005
I have been a passive audience but I feel I should share with you how we in an HIV and AIDS NGO
define knowledge management. We have tried to make it as simple as it can possibly be but we cannot
run away form the fact that KM is a process and its all about managing the creation, usage, application
organisation of knowledge as a way of improving efficiency. We cannot afford not knowing what we
know so we need mechanisms that will help us learn and share what we know already.
Our definition is "Knowledge Management is a process. It consists of the identification, capture,
enhancement, creation, evaluation, sharing and application of knowledge for effective decision-
making and improved levels of performance.
This in turn will help achieve organisational objectives. The key to successful knowledge
management intervention is knowledge sharing which will enable organisations to continually learn
and innovate"
We have defined:
Data: as a set of facts and figures i.e. it is quantitative
Information: as data in a meaningful context. It is both qualitative and quantitative
Knowledge as information enhanced by experiences, ideas, and the study of factual information.
IRC © 1998–2005
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Knowledge and Knowledge Management
Mustapha Malki - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Dear all,
Let me please introduce myslef. I am Mustapha Malki, Regional Coordinator of KariaNet, a regional
knowledge sharing network for IFAD-funded projects in the Middle East and North Africa region. I
am based in Cairo Regional Office of IDRC - Canada since January 2005 the start of my contrat-
position.
I would like to join my voice Peter to help us talk the same language because since the start of this e-
conference I felt a slight confusion between Knowledge and Information. And some are using both
concepts like synonyms. For me, knowledge is part is part of a continuum called "data-information-
knwoledge-wisdom" continuuum and if knowledge and information are part of the same continuu, that
forcibly mean that we don't bear the same meaning although material transfers happend very often
between the this two steps on the same continuum.
To make clear for everybody, let's take an example: take a note of music (RE for example), alone it
means nothing (it is just data) but of we arrange it with other notes in a very organised way we obtain
a music score (this is information). Now, different people may receive this music score and some will
understand it (and play the music score because they have knowledge) while others may not
understand it (because they don't have a previous knowledge to do that). Two musicians may play the
same music score but with a diffrent performance. This will depend of their wisdom.
All this to say that, rejoining Peter again, that Knowledge is "between the ears" as one of my
professors in Wageningen used to say. It is "built-in" (instead of "built-up" as Peter suggested),
contextual, and sometimes "socially-constructed". for this latter, a legend or a fairy tale (which is most
of the time "indigenous knowledge") may have a sacred meaning in some society while it can be
completely disregarded is some others.
For this purpose when we talk about knowledge and knowledge management, we have to understand
the process by which indivdiduals process and "transform" information into knowledge and how they
convert knowledge into information so that it can be shared with others. And communication theory
here is a valuable tool to understand all these processes.
More will come later...
Mustapha
Information, knowledge and good people
Cor Dietvorst - Thursday 24 March 2005
Dear participants,
My name is Cor Dietvorst, information specialist at IRC and editor of Source Weekly.
I liked Mustapha Malki’s musical illustration of the difference between information and knowledge.
Let me add another one taken from the book by Davis S. Landes “The Wealth and Poverty of
Nations”. It goes something like this:
Before World War I, Germany’s chemical industry was no. 1 in the world. After Germany’s defeat,
the English saw this as an opportunity to take over that lead position. They looted Germany’s
chemical factories and research laboratories taking with them factory blueprints and production
schemes. Without the knowledge of the German engineers, however, the English were unable to
reproduce the German chemical plants. Within a few years after the war Germany had rebuilt its
chemical industry and retained its no. 1 position.
Some thirty later, the Americans showed they had a better understanding of “knowledge”. After
World War II, they took a large team of German rocket scientists, led by Werner von Braun, to the US
to help set up a ballistic missile programme.
When the former director of IHE-Delft, Wim van Vierssen, was asked what he thought was most
important success factor for any organisation, his simple answer was “good people”. If you employ
staff based on the quality of their content skills and experience, and their willingness and ability to
share this with others, you probably will have solved 95% of KM problems.
IRC © 1998–2005
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World Water Day 2005 is over ...
Jaap Pels - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Dear Participants,
World Water Day 2005 resulted in a very low availability of our servers. The Google start page turned
out to be the ‘bug’. It contained a standard search for “World Water Day 2005”, which resulted in top
ranking for the WWD and IRC site. Our server wasn’t able to handle all requests (up to 10 per
second).
As of today the E-conference is again within your reach. Please share your points of view on ‘what
you mean by KM’ or react to published contributions.
Cheers, Jaap
World Water Day 2005 is over ... and the second Water Decade has begun:
let's manage knowlegde ;-)
Peter - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Let's take this great opportunity to come up together how to improve on knowledge management in
such a way to contribute substantially to making the Second Water Decade a resounding success!
Peter
IRC © 1998–2005
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KM includes to detect corrupt practices
NR.Chilukuri - Wednesday 23 March 2005
I am from India with experience in monitoring Rural Developement activities.
K.M is to acquire and dissiminate knowledge from all areas. With out knowledge and its sharing with
others constitute management of Knowkedge. KM should include on knowledge to detect corrupt
practices and expose them so as to minimise spread of this vice. Without this basic step all KM will
become non effective. This aspect is important in the developing countries
Re: KM includes to detect corrupt practices
Peter - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Hi Chilukuri
I like your point of including addressing corruption.
But I wonder what experience you have with this. Of course a number of questions come up: what is
corruption and what isn't? Or what level of corruption is acceptable and what is not? How to you
combat it, how is it done, what risks are involved, how to avoid the risks?
Greetings, Peter
Corruption destroys KM
N.R.Chilukuri - Thursday 24 March 2005
Dear Sir ,
Based on my experience I repeat my argument for fighting corruption forst for success of Knowledge
management.
Knowledge Management will fail if corruption is also not included in Management. Knowledge and
its management collapses if corrupt practices are not properly managed. Corruption can be defined as
the one that destroys knowledge management. I have extensive exposure to corrupt practices that
undermines developement in any developing country.
As an example knowledge management in Rural Developement dictated that the Executors of
developement activities in villages and also provide employment to land less labour so that the labour
is provided employment during drought. Instead the officials allow contractor to use tractors to carry
out the Job with few labour and not providing employment to land less labour during drought. They
show false muster roll as if they used labour with the connivance of officials.They share the surplus
money accrued out of the deal. Knowledge Management indicated to save the labour during drought
days but the money went to officials and other unsocial elements. During my monitoring of Rural
Developement works in India I noticed that not more than 40% funds were utilised for projects
dictated by Knowledge management Remaning 60% of funds went to the pockets of Executives abd
local politicians.
I strongly feel that as long as we turn blind eye to corrupt practices, any amount of Knowledge and its
management is sure to collapse. Fighting corruption should be the basic step before any management
techniques are taught because of its negative effect on any ventures. I am exposed to wide variety of
techniques in practising corruption. As another example I noticed that channel built for providing
drain to used water was estmated 5 times the actual cost and tender quoted. The surplus money is
shared by the estimators and project executors.
Therefore I highlighted this point for others to think.
Corruption: forthcoming IRC e-conference
Cor Dietvorst - Thursday 24 March 2005
As pointed out by N.R.Chilukuri, there is an important link between KM and corruption.
Those interested in the topic of corruption may wish to join an e-conference IRC is planning in May
this year, called "Transparency and honesty in the water and sanitation sector". Please send me an e-
mail at
dietvorst@irc.nl if you wish to join in or receive more information.
Cor Dietvorst, IRC
IRC © 1998–2005
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'To me, knowledge management means .....'
Peter Bury - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Dear all
I'm joining in with a bit of delay due to some traffic jam yesterday! But then hey, isn't it fabulous that
Google provided a direct link to www.worldwaterday.org under it's own logo!
Introduction: I work with IRC since 1996, since two years in a remote way, living in northern Italy.
I'm mainly involved in the IRC Resource Centre Development (RCD) programme, which really is
about providing better access and promoting use of information and knowledge in the sector.
More in particular i'm involved in RCD processes in South Africa, Pakistan and Kerala, India. I'm also
moderating a platform for sharing info and knowledge among all RCD programme partners in the
world.
Contribution:
To me, knowledge management means ..... people working with people and thereby sharing their built-
up knowledge based on experiences and assimilation, digesting and using gathered information (in all
its forms).
What kind of knowledge is valuable to you?
- any knowledge of people about topics that interest me and they are willing to share and discuss with
me.
What are the characteristics of knowledge and managing knowledge?
- knowledge is located in individuals, contrary to information that is located in physical locations (e.g.
paper, digital carriers, film, records)
- managing knowledge is primarily the way in which an individual handles, uses and makes available
its own knowledge
What kind of knowledge do you need to do your job?
- knowledge of people that work in similar fields, on similar topics as myself.
How do you keep knowledge up-to-date?
- by networking - in many different ways - with individuals of whom I think they have valuable
knowledge.
Is there a relationship with learning?
- interacting with other people is a form of continuous learning. However learning can also be done in
other ways, like absorbing information.
What are procedures, methodologies or projects in relation to knowledge management?
- physical meetings of various kinds that promote exchange and discussion of knowledge of
individuals. Implementing projects for this purpose is one way of promoting knowledge exchange and
management.
More later, Peter
KM - Information vs Knowledge
Susana Neto - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Hi, Peter
I see you are in good shape and that's nice having your comments.
Yes, I make a difference between information and knowledge - in the sense that knowledge is already
a result of digested info used in a certain way, for a specific purpose, which showed to be useful.
Oriented usefulness is than an important factor of distinction (but there are others, like transformed
info towards capacity...)
ll the best
Susana
IRC © 1998–2005
Terms & conditions.
KM aims to do the best use
Ratan Budhathoki - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Dear participants,
I am Ratan Budhathoki, working for Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH)as Information and
Knowledge Manager.
To me, Knowledge Management means, knowing about what information, knowledge and resources
do we have? What exists within the organization and in the sector? Then making the information and
knowledge accessible to them who needs it and encourage them to "make use" of such information
and knowledge to help solve their problems. This also indicates that effective information sharing and
dissemination process could help to avoid duplications and provide opportunities to learn from others.
Knowledge Management requires people, organizations, target groups, goal, objectives, systems,
information, knowledge and financial elements to be happened. KM aims to do the best use of these
elements to achieve the goals and objectives at personal, organizational and community level.
Ratan Budhathoki
Information & Knowledge Manager
Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH) HQ
P. O. Box. No: 4231, Kathmandu, Nepal
T 977 1 4377107 / 8
F 977 1 4370078
W www.newah.org.np
IRC © 1998–2005
Terms & conditions.
knowledge management defined
Laxman Kharal - Monday 21 March 2005
"Knowledge management is the process of identifying and developing knowledge nodes in the infinite
knowledge field, connecting the nodes together to have a common knowledge outcome, and directing
the outcome to achieve certain task" - Laxman Kharal, Nepal.
Introduction of the author:
The author is the chief of National Information Management Project/Section (NMIP) of the
Department of Water Supply and Sewerage of His Majesty’s Government of Nepal. The definition of
KM presented here is as being realized in connection with developing a model for the introduction of
knowledge management principles in the national sector database development and management
being undertaken by the NMIP.
Re: knowledge management defined
Peter - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Dear Laxman
What methods and tools will these nodes use in the management of knowledge? And does knowledge
then also include data and information? (see my understanding of knowledge as being located in
individuals' brains.
Greetings, Peter
KM defined
Laxman Kharal - Thursday 24 March 2005
Dear Peter Bury,
Thank you for your questions. The need to define knowledge management precisely was realized as
very essential by us due to the tendency of being confused primarily because of the need of
interdisciplinary perspective in knowledge management. Our definition of KM as “the process of
identifying and developing knowledge nodes in the infinite knowledge field, connecting the nodes
together to have common knowledge outcome, and directing the outcome to achieve certain task” is
what is guiding us as thing are now with us.
To answer your question - does knowledge then also include data and information – the answer is No
and Yes. No because knowledge resides primarily in the minds of people. And yes in the sense that
tacit knowledge related primarily with mind are converted into explicit knowledge by writing them
down, which to the writer is perfectly in the knowledge form and for a new reader may be in the form
of information, but with the potential of being turned into knowledge (after being combined with
understanding and capability). So the information which is at the lower level in the data-information-
knowledge-wisdom hierarchy has seeds of knowledge in it. And in the similar way data have seeds for
information. Our definition attempts to make a bridge through this puzzle by incorporating the term
“knowledge field” which is supposed to pervade everything including data and information.
The knowledge node (depending on its domain) can be anything in the knowledge field such as: an
event, data, information, knowledge, wisdom, the focal point in the knowledge field of an
organization; and the focal point in the knowledge field of a network.
I am afraid whether the discussion is becoming very vague and loosing its importance. To share a few
lines on some practical aspects, what we are attempting to do is creating sectoral (a) database on
coverage and impact; (b) information-base through documentation and (c) knowledgebase -
documentation of: shared knowledge and digested (?) information.
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Knowledge management
kouassi sébastien DOHOU - Saturday 19 March 2005
Acording to me, knowledge management is a process of previous, actual and future datas management
which includs statiscal, litterature, oral,...This process depends on social, political, economical,
cultural,...realities. Furthermore, the techniques used to produce, to collect, to conservate, to
share,...information depends on the local realities. In the sub-saharan Africa, the situation is
characterized by a lack of data production and the difficulty to access to a few data available since
colonial period. The situation is worsed by the multiplicity of data production institutions without no
coordination.
Re. kouassi sébastien DOHOU's contribution
Peter - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Hi Kouassi
Are you refering to any particular country? Do you have any experiences in trying to address these
problems? Can you share those with us please!
Thanks
Ciao
Peter
Sub-Sahara Africa situation
Isaac Nwaedozie - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Dear k dohou
I agree with you in entirety in that submission of the situation in Sub-Sahara Africa
Regards
Isaac N M
(NOTAP) Nigeria
PMB 5074 Wuse ii Abuja Nigeria
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what we mean by knowledge management
Evgeny Tyrtyshny - Saturday 19 March 2005
Dear Colleagues,
I appreciate the opportunity to take a part in the KM discussion, know your opinion and share with
you mine. My name is Evgeny Tyrtyshny, I’m Executive Secretary of the Technical Advisory
Committee of the Kazakhstan Water Partnership, national consultant and expert for water, water
supply and environment -
http://www.atasu.org/eng/command.html .
Let me shortly express of my point of view on the discussion topic.
• What kind of knowledge is valuable to you?
To me, any knowledge is valuable if it supports or facilitates the changes of existing water
management at the country to the IWRM -
http://www.atasu.org/eng/news/Summary_IWRM_Review.pdf .
• What are the characteristics of knowledge and managing knowledge?
The knowledge should be adapted on the national and local levels.
For the purpose to avoid any manipulation the knowledge should be disclosed and transparency.
The managing knowledge also should be based on public feedback.
• What kind of knowledge do you need to do your job?
In the fact it is continuation of the answer for first question, i.e. needed knowledge should cover any
information gap on the road to IWRM at the county. For instance, in Kazakhstan we have speed up
the process of implementation of appropriate country commitments on the UNECE Convention on the
Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, in particular joining to its
Protocol on Water and Health.
• How do you keep knowledge up-to-date?
To keep knowledge up-to-date the email and internet based communication is prevailed. Getting from
different network distribution like Weekly News Update is quite helpful on the issue.
• Is there a relationship with learning?
This is permanent learning to increase knowledge because Kazakhstan is country with “transition
economy”. Until recent times personal learning through internet founded materials is prevailed.
• What are procedures, methodologies or projects in relation to knowledge management?
The knowledge management is main goal of the UNECE Water Convention project "Capacity for
Water Cooperation in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia" aiming to develop activities
supporting integrated river basin management and water protection in the region. The funded by
Norway Government and UNDP/GWP Project “ Development National IWRM and Water Efficiency
Plan in Kazakhstan” has also a component directly related to knowledge management.
Evgeny
Re: knowledge should be disclosed and transparency exist.
Peter - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Hi Evgeny
Yes it is nice to share ideas in an e-conference like this one with people in such different geographical
areas as you and me !
Do you have any experience in your country with promoting disclosing of valuable knowledge and
ensuring transparency? Does this lead to tensions among knowledge holders?
Ciao, Peter
Re: Forum message "Re: knowledge should be disclosed and transparency
exist." (17172) was published [www.irc.nl - what we mean by knowledge
management]
Evgeny Tyrtyshny - Thursday 24 March 2005
Hi Peter
Thank you for your interest to the experience in our country . Yes, we are from different geographical
areas but we have one desire to improve our knowledge management for the water in our countries
and regions, to contribute really for the Second Water Decade!
In the fact the Kazakhstan Water Partnership(KWP) -
http://www.atasu.org/eng/waterpart.html has
been established for promoting disclosing of valuable knowledge and ensuring transparency. KWP is
a way of cooperation uniting forces and knowledge, creating the new ethical responsibility of public
water use by means of explanation, mutual information and education. Today the KWP's parties are
representing more 20 key organizations working in the country water sector.
We provide a technical and information support for KWP through the water partnership website and
the water information network. In first order we paid our attention to disclose and made transparent all
available water information in the country. After the Inauguration of the Kazakhstan Water
Partnership during the conference "Water Partnership in Central Asia" (
http://www.sic.icwc-
aral.uz/releases/eng/065.htm) the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of the KWP has been
selected.
At present time the work of the KWP's TAC includes events on discussion and working out of joint
status, information exchange and also joint actions on the common goals in the context of the
Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), especially in the framework of the new project
"National Integrated Water Resources Management and Water Efficiency Plan for Kazakhstan" which
was launched half year ago.
Best,
Evgeny
Re: Forum message "Re: knowledge should be disclosed and transparency
exist." (17172) was published [www.irc.nl - what we mean by knowledge
management]
Peter - Thursday 31 March 2005
Dear Evgeny, thanks for your comprehensive reaction. Your website looks good! I was wondering if
you plan to make the debate section public too, I think that would be an interesting experiment!
Now the debate does not seem to be public, at least one cannot follow it on the website.
Greetings, Peter
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Re: What do we mean by knowledge
management?.
iqbal zuberi - Saturday 19 March 2005
Dear Participants,
What I mean by 'knowledge management', especially in relation to
Watsan is diffusion of adoptable and usable information and facts to
the needy through various organizational system of different kinds
providing a friendly environment promoting learning, changing and
adopting leading to improvement of water and sanitation situation.
The overall socio-political environment of a country and the
micro-environment (both natural and cultural) of a community are
important for successful knowledge management.
In a sense, all the government departments, donor activities and
projects, NGO efforts, education institutions and local cultural
organizations including local socio-cultural system are involved in
knowledge management.
But often these fail to play the role of 'knowledge management nodes'
and become 'rulers' or ' aid/development providers' ; sustainable
'endogenous' development through learning and adopting knowledge is
thus not taking place.
M.I.Zuberi, University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh
Re: What do we mean by knowledge management?.
Peter - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Hi Iqbal
I agree with you on the tendency to become 'rulers' in knowledge management.
Do you have any experience on how to avoid this? How to promote that 'all' can be involved in
managing knowledge to each others benefit?
Greetings, Peter
Avoiding becoming rulers of knowledge
Cor Dietvorst - Thursday 24 March 2005
Dear participants,
Picking up on Peter's question about how to avoid become "rulers of knowledge" as Prof Zuberi puts
it, some answers may be found in a study by INTRAC on "Knowledge, power and development
agendas: NGOs north and south". The following summary of this study was posted on the id21
website:
‘Development’ NGOs form an international community of talk. How do ideas, information and
knowledge move within this vast and diverse ‘knowledge economy’? How can southern NGOs have
more of a voice in determining the work they actually do? How can they get more of their ideas onto
the international development agenda?
Neither global nor local knowledge is necessarily superior, and this report is concerned with a balance
between the two. NGOs should not merely transport a powerful language and Western concepts of
development to the south. Yet southern NGOs are not necessarily virtuous; some are corrupt and
many simply agree with what donors want. The search is on for a better, less colonial balance between
development fashions and local knowledge, and for better information for NGOs committed to what
they see as positive change. The recommendations listed here come directly from NGO experiences
through interviews with NGOs in Ghana, India, Mexico and Europe. Booklets resulting from these
interviews have been distributed in local languages in Mexico, India and Ghana.
Structures and processes that restrict independent-thinking and committed southern NGOs from
having a more appropriate voice within the global development NGO community include:
-- the unequal ways in which ‘partnership’ tends to work in practice
-- the effects of an overly bureaucratic ‘report culture’
-- the priority placed on tracking rather than achieving change
-- the exclusions of language and communication technologies (ICTs)
-- the dominance of a minority of southern NGOs.
All of these help to promote ‘information loops’ – privileged circuits of information and knowledge,
which some southern NGOs find much harder to penetrate than others. It is not just that smaller,
independent-thinking NGOs find it harder to access certain forms of information, but that they are
also excluded from adding their perspectives, ideas and experiences. This seriously compromises the
rationale of creating or inventing locally appropriate strategies, and is one reason why waves of
‘global’ development fashions dominate the sector. As a result,
-- a ‘knowledge economy’ exists within the global development NGO community, exchanging ideas,
knowledge and information, but
-- southern NGOs have many ideas and a great deal of information and knowledge, but often little
power to influence what is done or how.
The most serious obstacle to listening to the south is the imposition on NGOs of a report culture using
performance indicators. If southern NGOs were real partners in setting the development agenda, we
would expect to find a far greater diversity of values, practices and ideas than actually exists.
Key policy lessons include:
-- Donors have the best chance to increase ‘listening to the poor’.
-- The audit culture does not exclude fraud, while depersonalising relationships can impoverish
communication, as is recognised in the business world.
-- The more information that is available to southern NGOs on the organisation, mission and working
practices of northern NGOs, the better.
-- If only the Web were more accessible, cheaper and more reliable, donors and northern NGOs could
do much to increase transparency, bypass gatekeepers and listen to southern NGOs.
Contributor(s): Janet G. Townsend, Emma Mawdsley, Gina Porter and Peter Oakley
Source(s):
‘Knowledge, power and development agendas: NGOs North and South’, INTRAC, by Emma
Mawdsley, Janet Townsend, Gina Porter and Peter Oakley 2002 More information.-
http://www.intrac.org/pubs-books.htm
‘Different poverties, different policies? The role of the transnational community of NGOs’, Journal
for International Development by J.G. Townsend, R.E. Porter and E.E. Mawdsley (forthcoming)
Booklets for NGOs, with recommendations, are available for Ghana, Mexico, North India and South
India from Janet Townsend and online More information.-
http://www.geography.dur.ac.uk/grassroots
Funded by: Department for International Development, UK
Date: 20 August 2002
Further Information:
Janet G. Townsend
Department of Geography
University of Durham
Durham DH1 3LE
UK
Tel: +44 (0)191 374 2457
Fax: +44 (0)191 374 2456
Email:
janet.townsend@durham.ac.uk
Department of Geography, University of Durham, UK -
http://www.geography.dur.ac.uk/
For related links see:
http://www.id21.org/society/s8bjt1g1.html
Source: ID21 - 20 Aug 2002,
http://www.id21.org/society/s8bjt1g1.html
Cor Dietvorst, IRC
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What do we mean by knowledge management?
Segundo Vergara - Saturday 19 March 2005
Hallo Dear participants of this important topic discussion
Thanks a lot to all of you for spend some time to get better understanding on KM. My name is
Segundo Edilberto Vergara Medrano. I have a MSc on Environmental Management and another one
on Management and Conservation Watersheds.
In relation to her first answer of Ms Susane it is important to consider the kind of changes the
knowledge contributes. Obviously, for some people a certain type of knowledge could be the best to
take decisions in beneficial of communities’ development but for others could not.
What are the characteristics of knowledge and managing knowledge?
I think the knowledge must show the following features:
It must be representative because, usually we get knowledge from a sample and we extrapolate or
inferring to the universe (from a scientific point of view)
Understandable, in such a way that any user being able to use it
Available in any time and therefore accessible
Quality, best quality of knowledge best decision making
Knowledge must respond to the main development necessities of communities
Knowledge must be integrated, it does mean it must consider all the factors / actors involved
What kind of knowledge do you need to do your job?.
I think that is better to ask ourselves, what kind of knowledge does need a community to resolve its
problems?
How do you keep knowledge up-to-date?
I agree with Susane but in many cases, I think the best way to up-to-date the knowledge is from a
scientific work
Is there a relationship with learning?
Definitely, there is a close relationship.
What are procedures, methodologies or projects in relation to knowledge management?
I think that the procedures, methodologies are in close relation with what are the goals and targets you
are planning to get.
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What KM means to me
Susana Neto - Friday 18 March 2005
Hi, you all, I'm Susana Neto, engineer, water and planning issues researcher from Portugal and
participating again in this topic discussion.
Relating first questions:
What kind of knowledge is valuable to you? - all that contributes to effective changes in status quo
What are the characteristics of knowledge and managing knowledge? - difficul to answer with 'one'
truth... depends on local / national / organizational conditions - but it seems to be some kind of
adaptive variable that contributes to open new perspectives as well as to built specific solutions
What kind of knowledge do you need to do your job? - I need comprehensive forms of association of
information relating regional water availability / stress data, social needs for water, integrative
approches between water and land uses
How do you keep knowledge up-to-date? - I use academic writings (books or internet available info),
information from international concertation (global principles of action, guidelines for water
management, etc) and access to network digests on water issues, subscribed and chosen after some
years of internet consultation (according with my own main beliefs), official global reports
Is there a relationship with learning? - allways! I am sure that my last 20 years were more learning
new things then anything else (though my departure beliefs remain the same) - is just the way to
undersatnd different factors relationships and chosing ways for action towards those beliefs that need
continuous update
What are procedures, methodologies or projects in relation to knowledge management? - I am not an
expert on that, but I believe that is more and more case sudy orientation, and use of all methods that
allow you to understand and learn from problems before trying to 'solve' them
Susana Neto (Cir-aqua)
Portugal
Re: What KM means to me
Peter - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Hi Susana
Do you make a difference between INFORMATION and KNOWLEDGE?
IRC tends to do this, but I wonder how others see this as well!
Ciao, Peter
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Knowledge management at Mvula Trust
Dick de Jong - Friday 18 March 2005
My name is Dick de Jong, currently in South Africa for three months of sabbatical leave from my
communcation job at IRC. I am teaming up with The Mvula Trust, the national NGO in water and
sanitation, and a partner of IRC.
I asked Jabu Masondo one of the two people working in Communication & Advocacy unit if we could
ask some of their regional managers who were visiting the head quarter office in Johannesburg the
question what knowledge management means to them. "This will not be possible", he answered, "they
don't have the time, as they have to focus all of their efforts on securing funds for new projects. Also
for some of them you would first have to explain what knowledge management means".
Philip Davids', institutional and social development specialist in the head office, first reaction to my
question in a lunch break what KM means to him was: "Computers". When I prompted him he added:
"Identifying, collecting and storing information and making it available in a very easy and accessible
and usable way".
The time pressure all the Mvula staff are under is not allowing them to do enough information sharing
and knowledge development, both Philip and Jabu agreed.
Jabu is the only Mvula staff who is subscribed to this e-conference, but the problem is that he and
many other South Africans as of tonight go on 9 - 10 day holiday until after Easter.
Jabu is the communcation man in the Mvula Office who is doing the most in information sharing. He
on behalf of Mvula keeps up-to-date by subscribing to a paid news clipping service in South Africa on
the keywords, water, sanitation, local government, and communties. From spending 30 minutes a day
on received clips he generates one or two Vericlip stories per week, which he shares with all the
Mvula office and the Source Weekly editor.
Jabu's knowledge about knowledge management and other key sector topics was greatly enhanced
during his 15-month of learing at IRC in the junior professional staff exchange programme between
IRC and partners. As a result of this he is currently setting up an Intranet for the Mvula staff. He is
also training other sector organisations in South Africa on the hows, whys and whats of developing a
web site.
At Mvula I am sitting in the same office as Jabu, which provides us the face-to-face opportunity to
occasionally share information and two-way learning.
Dick de Jong
Re Knowledge management at Mvula Trust
Peter - Wednesday 23 March 2005
Dear Dick
Yes this truth of people 'not having time' is all to real.
I wonder though whether it is really 'not having time' or whether some of the following reasons apply
more:
- lack of familiarity with ICT to feel comfortable to participate actively;
- poor quality of available ICT discouraging people to participate;
- insufficient positive experience to realize how beneficial it can be to allocate time to participate in
fora / e-conferences (not enough time doesn't exist, it is a matter of making choices, setting
priorities!);
- moderation (including introductions, methods used, continuous encouragement) not stimulating
enough.
Greetings, Peter
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