A reflection on the value of the ISO KM Standard #ISO-KM-Standard

Arthur Shelley

Stan and Knowledge Professionals,


Thanks for sharing insights from your ISO 3040 call. I am pleased that there is growing constructive conversation about the importance of the ISO KM standard. Despite a diverse set of reactions to the release of ISO30401, the standard is recognition of the importance of Knowledge Management as a support to individual, team, organisation (and Global) performance. The whole KM community will benefit from the independent acknowledgement that knowledge IS a critical factor across management systems (and becoming more so as we are now well into the “Knowledge Economy”). ISO do not release standards randomly – they ONLY develop standards that they know will make a difference for industry, based on solid research across many countries. This is a VERY solid argument for proposing KM initiatives into senior management (I.E. not just the knowledge professional arguing for their job preferences  and opinions – ISO30401 is formal international demonstration that knowledge initiatives are a critical element of high performance).


The standard provides guidance on WHAT should be done to secure the benefits of better management of knowledge assets, but not the specific way in which to achieve this (because this will vary with each organisation, situation and desired priority outcomes). However, the two books mentioned in your links provide useful guidance for practitioners on HOW to achieve best outcomes. The authors have all been around for a long time and share insights and practical experiences on how it works best.


I am very confident that wide adoption of the standard will elevate the performance expectations of whole industries - just as the ISO 9000 Quality standard did in 1990’s (after the initial troublesome period where some organisations tried to inappropriately leverage it for short term gain by “getting certification” for marketing purposes, but not actually making the changes for longer term strategic performance improvement). Just as applying the principles of quality management changed everything, so too will adoption of ISO 30401 (along with integration of other Management Systems Standards like ISO 44001 Collaboration and ISO 56000 Innovation).


Like any useful knowledge asset - do it for the right reasons and there will be sustained benefits, including both tangible outputs and intangible outcomes. Try to pretend that the organisation is “certified” for “market image” without the elevated mindset and commitment to the principles of the standard and there will be no real value. Paying a Gym membership and documenting an exercise plan is not where the benefits come from - it is doing the exercise that generates the value!



Arthur Shelley

Producer: Creative Melbourne

Author: KNOWledge SUCCESSion  Sustained performance and capability growth through knowledge projects

Earlier Books: The Organizational Zoo (2007) & Being a Successful Knowledge Leader (2009)

Principal: www.IntelligentAnswers.com.au 

Founder: Organizational Zoo Ambassadors Network

Mb. +61 413 047 408  Skype: Arthur.Shelley  Twitter: @Metaphorage

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arthurshelley/

Free behavioural profiles: www.organizationalzoo.com

Blog: www.organizationalzoo.com/blog



From: sikmleaders@...
Sent: Wednesday, 16 October 2019 3:39 AM
To: sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Oct 15 SIKM Call: Nick Milton on the ISO KM Standard



TO: SIKM Leaders Community

Today we held our 170th monthly call. Here are the details:

  • October 15, 2019 SIKM Call: Nick Milton on ISO 30401:2018 - The Management System Standard for KM and what it might do for you

·                  ISO 30401:2018 Knowledge management systems - Requirements  https://www.iso.org/standard/68683.html

·                  The Knowledge Manager's Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Embedding Effective Knowledge Management in your Organization, 2nd Edition by Nick Milton and Patrick Lambe https://www.koganpage.com/product/the-knowledge-manager-s-handbook-9780749484606

·                  The KM Cookbook: Stories and strategies for organisations exploring Knowledge Management Standard ISO30401 by Chris Collison, Paul Corney, and Patricia Lee Eng https://www.iso30401.com/

Thanks to Nick for presenting, to Paul Corney for the update on certification, to Linda Hummel for her questions, and to those who attended. Please continue the discussion in the Yahoo! Group by replying to this thread.

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