Re: ISO 30401 - KM standard draft available #standards #strategy

Murray Jennex

Well said Chris...Murray

On Jan 10, 2018, at 11:24 PM, "Chris Collison chris.collison@... [sikmleaders]" <sikmleaders@...> wrote:

I completely agree with you on this Murray.


There are 50 ways to leave your lover, and probably as many ways to ‘implement’ KM.

I wrote a lighthearted piece about this a couple of years ago:


My biggest concern about the current draft form of the standard is that because it is framed by ISO as a “Management System”, it seems to reflect more of a top down approach by default.  “KM as a programme.”   In that world you can make recommendations for KM roles and codify your expectations a KM policy.


If your chosen route is bottom-up, or stealth, or viral, or slipstreaming behind other initiatives, then these ‘auditables’ will be less relevant.  Personally, I’d much rather see KM principles embedded in the policies which underpin the existing business functions (Recruitment, Talent Development, Project Management, Capital Investment, Strategy Development) than in a standalone document. If I was being provocative, then I could say that if you need a KM policy in perpetuity, then you’ve probably failed to embed it.


I’m still hoping that we can rescue this standard and reel it back to a guide to help leaders think strategically about the value of knowledge in their organisations, and make wise, contextual,  unprescribed choices about how they respond – with or without external advice!
It needs to work for a mature organisation which may have devolved responsibility for KM largely into the line, as well as those who have a KM Programme, or those who are looking for knowledge-related improvements rather than a blanket approach – people for whom KM is a menu of OD interventions.


I’m hoping that ISO machinery is flexible enough to support something like this.  That’s why I’m engaging and investing time in working on the draft. 




From: <sikmleaders@...> on behalf of "Murray Jennex murphjen@... [sikmleaders]" <sikmleaders@...>
Reply-To: "sikmleaders@..." <sikmleaders@...>
Date: Thursday, 11 January 2018 at 08:28
To: "sikmleaders@..." <sikmleaders@...>
Subject: Re: [sikmleaders] ISO 30401 - KM standard draft available



Actually, back in the 90s my whole dissertation was on identifying the components of a stealth KMS/OMS (yes in the 90s it wasn't automatically KM, it was also Organizational Memory).  The conclusion is that knowledge happens (yes I got flack for phrasing it that way) but the key finding is that an organization will find a way to use knowledge and is using knowledge, even if there are no KM professionals/consultants around.  The way to help these organizations is to help them recognize the stealth processes they've established and to formalize them when appropriate but by all means recognize them.  I've seen KM consultants do more harm then good because they did not recognize how the organization was already using knowledge and forced them to do it their way.  I watched a leading KM consultant destroy the KM initiative in a large engineering organization (actually saw it done twice) because they convinced the organization they knew best and changed everything with the result that the rank and file refused to follow the changes.


So what does this mean for the standard?  It must recognize native approaches that already exist and not force companies to abandon them or instantly change, otherwise the standard will do more harm than good....murray jennex

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Bounds km@... [sikmleaders] <sikmleaders@...>
To: sikmleaders <sikmleaders@...>
Sent: Wed, Jan 3, 2018 2:57 pm
Subject: Re: [sikmleaders] ISO 30401 - KM standard draft available


To reply to my own email ... I realised that you may be referring to the presumption of "audit-to-consult" as product placement. You then write:

Sometimes [KM is] a stealth operation, sometimes a partnership, sometimes a slipstream, sometimes a viral experiment. The standard needs to reflect this, rather than foreshadow an audit-to-consult process.

To play devil's advocate, can any of these reasonably be called a "knowledge management system" (as distinct from being knowledge management)?

The idea of a KMS is the scope of the standard, after all. What you describe are not really systems in their own right, but rather ninja interventions to an existing system.

-- Stephen.

Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096

On 4/01/2018 9:47 AM, Chris Collison chris.collison@... [sikmleaders] wrote:


Hi Stephen,

The BSI version reads like is started out with good intentions as a non-prescriptive, flexible framework to prompt thought - but somehow became hijacked as a consultants’ charter with a fair degree of product placement, and subconsciously enshrining ‘our approach’ conveniently in a standard. 

I do believe that people invested their time with good intent, and I’m aware that not having been involved in the meetings makes me something of an armchair critic.

I’ve made 40 comments since it was published - it’s a laborious process, but it’s important that we engage.


Overall it takes a standpoint that KM has to exist as a managed programme with policies, roles and measures.  130 clients on, my experience is that KM is a set is possible responses to the state of an organisation, applied thoughtfully and contextually and in conjunction with a much wider range of interventions and functions. Sometimes it’s a stealth operation, sometimes a partnership, sometimes a slipstream, sometimes a viral experiment. The standard needs to reflect this, rather than foreshadow an audit-to-consult process.


My view is that it needs to be wound back to something much more generic, simpler, less prescriptive, and purged of any vested interests.  Then it could genuinely be a helpful business prompt which serves the many rather than the few.





From: on behalf of "Stephen Bounds km@... [sikmleaders]"
Reply-To: "sikmleaders@..."
Date: Wednesday, 3 January 2018 at 22:31
To: ActKM Discussion List , KM for Development , "sikmleaders@..."
Subject: [sikmleaders] ISO 30401 - KM standard draft available



Hi everyone,

A reminder that the draft standard for knowledge management systems (ISO 30401) now has a public draft available for comment.

From the website:

BS ISO 30401 Knowledge management systems -- Requirements
HCS/1 - Human Capital
Management. Human resources
Comment period start date:
Comment period end date:


This international standard sets requirements and provide guidelines for establishing, implementing, maintaining, reviewing and improving an effective management system for knowledge management in organizations. All the requirements of this international standard are applicable to any organization, regardless of its type or size, or the products and services it provides.

You can read the draft and make official comments by registering on the BSI site with a free login.

Who has had a chance to read the draft KM standard? Any thoughts?

-- Stephen.

Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096

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