F6- “High-Octane KM” is Demand-Driven KM

Here is a story how CCLFI.Philippines applied the M&E (monitoring and evaluation) framework I described in my previous post.

In September 2005, the Executive Director of STREAMS (an international network of NGOs in water and sanitation, which was one of CCLFI.Philippines’ partners) asked for our help. STREAMS Board members flew to Manila and are meeting together with an Observer from their major funding sponsor, the Netherlands Government. She asked, can I please convince her Board that KM is important? My time slot was only one hour. And she warned that the Observer is avowedly sceptical of KM!

I did a quick workshop with the Board members, where I asked a series of 3 questions.

I asked the Chairwoman (the CEO of the Water Research Commission of South Africa) Question 1: To an outsider like me, can she please tell me in a few brief sentences what are the valuable development results their network wants to achieve?

I then wrote the key phrases on the whiteboard; the result was 2-3 key outcomes.

We next distributed metacards (similar to Post-Its) and felt pens to the Board members including the Observer. Then I asked them to write down (in short phrases) answers to Question 2: What programs, functions or projects of your network and its members are most important in achieving those development results?

We posted and clustered their answers on the white boards. After about 20 minutes discussion, we picked out a very important function or program. There was much debate what is the “most” important; so we settled for “a very important” program.

I next asked them to write down again in metacards, their answers to Question 3: What skills, information/knowledge, support systems and relationships are most important in implementing this program well?

Again we posted and clustered their answers. We then discussed the results and after about 30 minutes arrived at a priority shortlist of Generator Knowledge Assets or GKAs.

Finally, I concluded, “according to your collective judgement, the successful performance of your organization hinges on how well you manage these few Generator Knowledge Assets.”

Working backwards to identify CKAs

High-Octane KM: Working backwards to identify GKAs

In about one hour, the Board members saw: (a) the importance of KM to their organization, (b) the link between KM and their organization’s goals, and (c) that focused KM can be inexpensive.

Managing only the GKAs is “high-octane KM”. It is “lean and mean” KM.

During coffee break, the Observer approached me and said something to the effect that KM is indeed important.

I maintain that KM initiatives must be driven by the socially valuable outcomes an organization wishes to achieve or contribute to. One way to ensure this is to ask your internal and external customers’ needs and requirements. In other words, KM must be demand-driven, not supply-driven. “Knowledge push” or supply-driven KM tends to be expensive (e.g. big databases, portals and knowledge centers, knowledge mapping/inventories). “Knowledge pull” from users is more cost-effective (e.g. Help Desks) because the only effort you exert is whatever is needed to solve a specific problem or need of a specific user. High-octane KM is an example of demand-driven KM.

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3 Responses to “F6- “High-Octane KM” is Demand-Driven KM”

  1. ichwan setiadi Says:

    Great perspective.
    Here is my understanding after reading the article.
    A statement of “an organization doesn’t have a right to live until they fulfill their customers’ needs” is a philosophy that describes what is described in the article. Using those questions in sequence, analysis comes with the result of “High-octane KM”. But the result doesn’t stop there. The next action , i.e. design, should be taken. That proses makes “a very high-octane KM.”
    Is that so, Dr. Apin?

    Ichwan in Jakarta, Indonesia

  2. apintalisayon Says:

    Dear Ichwan, you are RIGHT!

    In what organization are you working Ichwan?

    I will be in Jakarta on Nov 23-25 (KM consulting work for UNISDR). Can I invite you for coffee sometime during those dates to discuss KM?

  3. ichwan Says:

    Yes, I’d love to.
    I’m working for Dunamis Organization
    Services. Our principle is FranklinCovey
    in America. My organization has
    Teleos lisence for MAKE in Indonesia.
    I believe you are aware of that.
    I was in Four Disciplines
    of Execution before I moved to
    KM team two months ago.
    My life has become more wonderful
    since I’ve learned KM. I realize
    that this is what I could contribute
    to lives.

    Please do contact me at

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