Wharton Summer Reading, Value Network Tools, KM Critical Success Factors

30-Aug-06 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Books

Knowledge@Wharton Annual Summer Reading Edition

Idealized Design: How Bell Labs Imagined — and Created — the Telephone System of the Future

In their book, “Idealized Design: How to Solve Tomorrow’s Crisis…Today” (Wharton School Publishing), authors Russell L. Ackoff, Jason Magidson and Herbert J. Addison build upon a simple notion. They argue that, “the way to get to the best outcome is to imagine what the ideal solution would be and then work backward to where you are today.” An excerpt, based on Ackoff’s experience, shows how the process worked at Bell Labs in the 1950s.

Must-Win Battles: Lessons from Successful and Failed Journeys

Peter Killing and Thomas Malnight are professors of business strategy at IMD, the Switzerland-based business school, and Tracey Keys is a consultant. In their book, “Must-Win Battles: How to Win Them, Again and Again,” published by Wharton School Publishing, they argue that rather than spreading their resources too thin, companies must focus on three to five key challenges — must-win battles (MWBs) that are crucial to achieving their business goals. A well-chosen MWB, the authors say, must make a real difference, be market focused, create excitement, be specific and tangible, and be winnable. An excerpt from the book’s conclusion highlights what can be learned from successful and failed MWB journeys.

Three Factors That Can Turn Success into Failure

Lars Kolind is the former CEO of Oticon, a leading Denmark-based maker of hearing aids. In his book, “The Second Cycle: Winning the War Against Bureaucracy,” published by Wharton School Publishing, he argues that size, age and success can make mature companies deaf to signals that portend future decline. He summarizes his views in an excerpt from the book.

KM Links

Suggested tools for visualizing / analyzing value networks by Oliver Schwabe

For those interested in tools used for visualization and analysis of value networks, you may be interested in exploring this series of applications. Some of these are also used by the SNA/ONA community, but can be used slightly differently to support understanding differences between tangible and intangible networks.

KM Questions

Q: What are the critical success factors of KM?

A: Here are five:

  1. Obtain senior executive sponsorship and support for a culture which supports learning, sharing, reuse, collaboration, and innovation.
  2. Align KM program goals with the business objectives of the organization.
  3. Secure a reasonable budget for a KM staff and other KM expenses.
  4. Set KM goals for employees, inspect and enforce them, and reward those who demonstrate the desired behaviors.
  5. Engage users through surveys, communications, training, and a knowledge help desk.