Despite the enormous experience and attention in the development sector for monitoring and evaluation of projects and programs, there is little development in the practice of measuring the impact of knowledge management interventions. Several organizations in our interviews admit that this is something they have not done systematically (enough). The fact that there is little attention for measuring the impact of knowledge management initiatives does not seem a conscious organizational choice, but rather a result of the relatively newness of the interventions themselves. Ben Ramalingam (you can see him and hear him talking in the previous blogpost!) has written a working paper for ODI in 2005 called Implementing Knowledge Strategies: lessons from international development agencies. He writes:
There appears to be more emphasis in all study organisations on the potential of knowledge and learning, rather than on the tangible benefits it has already achieved
I’m curious. The reason for this underdeveloped practice may be that organisations need all their energy to measure the impact of projects, their core work. Or, measuring the impact of knowledge management strategies may seem an even harder nut to crack because we are talking about intangibles?. It may be a positive sign that there is enough faith in our knowledge management interventions, so much faith that we don’t see the need to measure. However, I get the impression it is not such a conscious choice.
In our upcoming publication we hope to come up with some ideas on useful measurement practices, but it seems a contradiction that so much attention is flowing to measuring the impact of projects and programs and so little attention for measuring knowledge management initiatives… there are enough experiences and experts on monitoring and evaluation around! Any thoughts?
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