Business Case for CoP Participation #CoP #value


Raquel Balceiro
 

Dear colleagues,

 

How are you? I am a regular reader of the messages exchanged here in the group and I understand the wealth of the recommendations you make.

 

Knowing my trajectory in Knowledge Management, my manager decided that I would stand out as responsible for participating in CoPs of companies around the topic in which I work today (Compliance and Corporate Governance).

I particularly understand the benefits of knowledge exchanges in CoPs, such as learning, networking, ideas and analogies that support innovation.

However, I need to build a Business Case, showing financial benefits that can come from this participation.

So, do you have any recent studies on Communities of Practice to refer to me? Any contribution you can offer me will be very helpful.

Thank you in advance.

Raquel Balceiro
Academy of Corporate Governance, Compliance and Integrity
Petrobras
Brazil


Patrick Lambe
 

Hi Raquel

Participation in CoPs has no quantifiable business value in and of itself. Any business value will reside in the value of the problems that are solved, the risks avoided or the opportunities grasped. 

Sometimes these are added value (e.g. a CoP that provides a forum for solving complex problems) and sometimes these are just the cost of doing business (e.g. Airbus EADS uses CoPs to knit together its various national workforces so that the aircraft it manufactures will fly safely and economically - because of its distributed nature the consortium would simply not function without them; on the individual level, many professions have requirements for continuing professional education/ re-accreditation - KM does not have this, and I would argue that the nearest thing to it is participation in KM CoPs - this is the “cost of doing business” in the KM space). 

“Cost of doing business” means that it’s a basic qualification to operate in that space, and without it you have no credibility. In that context the question is not about financial benefits from the activity, but whether or not you can even function in that space. For compliance and corporate governance I would compare the cost of regular commercial training and certification programs to stay current vs the “cost” of participation. You will need one or the other (and perhaps both) to remain credible. Training and accreditation gives you structured content, but it is retrospective. CoPs and networks typically give you trends, emerging issues, and networks of contacts for rapid assistance in challenging situations. Which comes back to, what are the problems your role is intended to solve, and what is the value of solving them? Are they stable problems (in which case training and study is probably enough) or are they shifting over time (in which case CoPs and networks are necessary)?

So I would look at what the CoPs are meant to achieve/ contribute to, and what your role is intended to achieve.

Unfortunately it’s not as easy as turning everything into dollar values.

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com


On 21 Aug 2021, at 1:17 AM, Raquel Balceiro <raqbalceiro@...> wrote:

Dear colleagues,

 

How are you? I am a regular reader of the messages exchanged here in the group and I understand the wealth of the recommendations you make.

 

Knowing my trajectory in Knowledge Management, my manager decided that I would stand out as responsible for participating in CoPs of companies around the topic in which I work today (Compliance and Corporate Governance).

I particularly understand the benefits of knowledge exchanges in CoPs, such as learning, networking, ideas and analogies that support innovation.

However, I need to build a Business Case, showing financial benefits that can come from this participation.

So, do you have any recent studies on Communities of Practice to refer to me? Any contribution you can offer me will be very helpful.

Thank you in advance.

Raquel Balceiro
Academy of Corporate Governance, Compliance and Integrity
Petrobras
Brazil



Stan Garfield
 

Patrick's reply was excellent. Here are a few more suggestions for making the business case for communities.

Explain how active participation in communities will have a positive impact on the organization's key business objectives. For example:
  • If we save one project from repeating the same mistakes as previous projects, that could save $2 million. If we repeat this, the impact on profits is large.
  • If by responding quickly to an opportunity with a proven solution using acknowledged experts, we win one $10 million deal that we otherwise would have lost, that’s incremental revenue of $10 million. If we repeat this, the impact on revenue is significant.
  • If by ensuring that the best engineering product knowledge is reused, we avoid one product recall, we save the company hundreds of millions of dollars.
Ask compelling questions. For example:
  • Do we want our people to be able to readily find other people who can provide useful advice at the time of need? Community participation enables this.
  • Do we want anyone who has a question, seeks a resource, or requires help to be able to easily, quickly, and reliably get what they need? Posting in online communities makes this possible.
  • Do we want to stop reinventing the wheel? Sharing across organizational boundaries in communities can help us to avoid redundant effort.
For more, see this article about ROI and these articles about communities.


Douglas Weidner
 

Well stated Patrick. Raquel, take note of his comments.
I don't disagree at all, but have another viewpoint to add to his post.

There used to be a maxim in CoPs, the 90-9-1 rule
  • 90% of members are in name only - little, if any involvement. But maybe they benefit from being lurkers. (A person who lurks, in particular a user of an internet message board or chat room who does not participate.)
  • 9% sometimes, if seldom participate, 
  • Only 1% actively participate, probably contributing 80 - 90% of the total content/activity or more.
I haven't seen any recent research to substantiate or discount that early ratio. It's probably still fundamentally true, aka a truism.

So, definitely don't think that the numbers of members is any measure of success.
Don't even think that the amount of activity is any measure of success.

You must go deeper, especially if you want to continue to stand out.

At the KM Institute we are experimenting with the next generation of collaborative tools, so our 10,000+ CKM Grads can collaborate to their benefit, and the KM Institute can harvest the best of the interactions. This will be to keep our training, especially our certifications from being mere structured content vs. as Patrick said, "trends, emerging issues, and networks of contacts for rapid assistance in challenging situations."

By next generation I mean of course mobile, but that is just the mode
What is really next generation is the AI and gamification utilities that enable scoring and valuation of content, so we can enrich the participants but also the KM Body of Knowledge (KMBOK)-- for the benefit of future students as well.

A dilemma. 
As Patrick said,"it’s not as easy as turning everything into dollar values."

However, as you said, "I need to build a Business Case, showing financial benefits that can come from this participation."

Therefore, I'd recommend that you think of a proxy for this difficult and intangible value determination -- its not just amount of activity or posted smiley faces.  Rather, if you can demonstrate you are able to harvest the proverbial 'needle in the haystack'. the true K Nuggets that are often buried in the myriad of diverse CoP conversations, you might unleash the 'Wisdom of the Crowd', and better, have proof you are doing so. 

I'd say, you would be standing out!

Douglas Weidner
Chief CKM Instructor
Exec Chairman, KM Institute

PS Contact me directly if you'd like to know more.

On Fri, Aug 20, 2021 at 2:03 PM Patrick Lambe <plambe@...> wrote:
Hi Raquel

Participation in CoPs has no quantifiable business value in and of itself. Any business value will reside in the value of the problems that are solved, the risks avoided or the opportunities grasped. 

Sometimes these are added value (e.g. a CoP that provides a forum for solving complex problems) and sometimes these are just the cost of doing business (e.g. Airbus EADS uses CoPs to knit together its various national workforces so that the aircraft it manufactures will fly safely and economically - because of its distributed nature the consortium would simply not function without them; on the individual level, many professions have requirements for continuing professional education/ re-accreditation - KM does not have this, and I would argue that the nearest thing to it is participation in KM CoPs - this is the “cost of doing business” in the KM space). 

“Cost of doing business” means that it’s a basic qualification to operate in that space, and without it you have no credibility. In that context the question is not about financial benefits from the activity, but whether or not you can even function in that space. For compliance and corporate governance I would compare the cost of regular commercial training and certification programs to stay current vs the “cost” of participation. You will need one or the other (and perhaps both) to remain credible. Training and accreditation gives you structured content, but it is retrospective. CoPs and networks typically give you trends, emerging issues, and networks of contacts for rapid assistance in challenging situations. Which comes back to, what are the problems your role is intended to solve, and what is the value of solving them? Are they stable problems (in which case training and study is probably enough) or are they shifting over time (in which case CoPs and networks are necessary)?

So I would look at what the CoPs are meant to achieve/ contribute to, and what your role is intended to achieve.

Unfortunately it’s not as easy as turning everything into dollar values.

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com


On 21 Aug 2021, at 1:17 AM, Raquel Balceiro <raqbalceiro@...> wrote:

Dear colleagues,

 

How are you? I am a regular reader of the messages exchanged here in the group and I understand the wealth of the recommendations you make.

 

Knowing my trajectory in Knowledge Management, my manager decided that I would stand out as responsible for participating in CoPs of companies around the topic in which I work today (Compliance and Corporate Governance).

I particularly understand the benefits of knowledge exchanges in CoPs, such as learning, networking, ideas and analogies that support innovation.

However, I need to build a Business Case, showing financial benefits that can come from this participation.

So, do you have any recent studies on Communities of Practice to refer to me? Any contribution you can offer me will be very helpful.

Thank you in advance.

Raquel Balceiro
Academy of Corporate Governance, Compliance and Integrity
Petrobras
Brazil



Raquel Balceiro
 

Hi, Patrick,

Thank you very much for your very detailed answer, I was here thinking alone about the demand, and what you pointed out in your text helped me a lot to find a way to structure this business case, even though I don't put in $ the benefits of our participation.

Currently, the participation of our company has been shy, we have only sought to learn about market practices of other Brazilian companies. However, we want to work in working groups to propose solutions, because we are interested in improving our internal and external initiatives, mainly influencing our stakeholders. Emphasis on gaining credibility and reputation can also be important, as some market diagnoses are based on the perception of other companies about what each organization has been doing. I also found it interesting that you point to the benefits of monitoring trends, which can be of very high added value.

Thank you so much for the insights.

Have a good weekend,

Raquel Balceiro
Academy of Corporate Governance, Compliance and Integrity
Petrobras
Brazil

Em sex., 20 de ago. de 2021 às 15:03, Patrick Lambe <plambe@...> escreveu:

Hi Raquel

Participation in CoPs has no quantifiable business value in and of itself. Any business value will reside in the value of the problems that are solved, the risks avoided or the opportunities grasped. 

Sometimes these are added value (e.g. a CoP that provides a forum for solving complex problems) and sometimes these are just the cost of doing business (e.g. Airbus EADS uses CoPs to knit together its various national workforces so that the aircraft it manufactures will fly safely and economically - because of its distributed nature the consortium would simply not function without them; on the individual level, many professions have requirements for continuing professional education/ re-accreditation - KM does not have this, and I would argue that the nearest thing to it is participation in KM CoPs - this is the “cost of doing business” in the KM space). 

“Cost of doing business” means that it’s a basic qualification to operate in that space, and without it you have no credibility. In that context the question is not about financial benefits from the activity, but whether or not you can even function in that space. For compliance and corporate governance I would compare the cost of regular commercial training and certification programs to stay current vs the “cost” of participation. You will need one or the other (and perhaps both) to remain credible. Training and accreditation gives you structured content, but it is retrospective. CoPs and networks typically give you trends, emerging issues, and networks of contacts for rapid assistance in challenging situations. Which comes back to, what are the problems your role is intended to solve, and what is the value of solving them? Are they stable problems (in which case training and study is probably enough) or are they shifting over time (in which case CoPs and networks are necessary)?

So I would look at what the CoPs are meant to achieve/ contribute to, and what your role is intended to achieve.

Unfortunately it’s not as easy as turning everything into dollar values.

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com


On 21 Aug 2021, at 1:17 AM, Raquel Balceiro <raqbalceiro@...> wrote:

Dear colleagues,

 

How are you? I am a regular reader of the messages exchanged here in the group and I understand the wealth of the recommendations you make.

 

Knowing my trajectory in Knowledge Management, my manager decided that I would stand out as responsible for participating in CoPs of companies around the topic in which I work today (Compliance and Corporate Governance).

I particularly understand the benefits of knowledge exchanges in CoPs, such as learning, networking, ideas and analogies that support innovation.

However, I need to build a Business Case, showing financial benefits that can come from this participation.

So, do you have any recent studies on Communities of Practice to refer to me? Any contribution you can offer me will be very helpful.

Thank you in advance.

Raquel Balceiro
Academy of Corporate Governance, Compliance and Integrity
Petrobras
Brazil



Raquel Balceiro
 

Wow, Douglas,
I’ll have to think deeply about your answer this weekend. Thank you!
It's good to know that you're planning to do something like that. I’ll try to translate in actions, since we’re not in charge of the coordination of the CoPs we want to participate more effectively.
Very good points.
Have a nice weekend!

Raquel Balceiro
Academy of Corporate Governance, Compliance and Integrity
Petrobras
Brazil

Em sex., 20 de ago. de 2021 às 16:39, Douglas Weidner <douglas.weidner@...> escreveu:

Well stated Patrick. Raquel, take note of his comments.
I don't disagree at all, but have another viewpoint to add to his post.

There used to be a maxim in CoPs, the 90-9-1 rule
  • 90% of members are in name only - little, if any involvement. But maybe they benefit from being lurkers. (A person who lurks, in particular a user of an internet message board or chat room who does not participate.)
  • 9% sometimes, if seldom participate, 
  • Only 1% actively participate, probably contributing 80 - 90% of the total content/activity or more.
I haven't seen any recent research to substantiate or discount that early ratio. It's probably still fundamentally true, aka a truism.

So, definitely don't think that the numbers of members is any measure of success.
Don't even think that the amount of activity is any measure of success.

You must go deeper, especially if you want to continue to stand out.

At the KM Institute we are experimenting with the next generation of collaborative tools, so our 10,000+ CKM Grads can collaborate to their benefit, and the KM Institute can harvest the best of the interactions. This will be to keep our training, especially our certifications from being mere structured content vs. as Patrick said, "trends, emerging issues, and networks of contacts for rapid assistance in challenging situations."

By next generation I mean of course mobile, but that is just the mode
What is really next generation is the AI and gamification utilities that enable scoring and valuation of content, so we can enrich the participants but also the KM Body of Knowledge (KMBOK)-- for the benefit of future students as well.

A dilemma. 
As Patrick said,"it’s not as easy as turning everything into dollar values."

However, as you said, "I need to build a Business Case, showing financial benefits that can come from this participation."

Therefore, I'd recommend that you think of a proxy for this difficult and intangible value determination -- its not just amount of activity or posted smiley faces.  Rather, if you can demonstrate you are able to harvest the proverbial 'needle in the haystack'. the true K Nuggets that are often buried in the myriad of diverse CoP conversations, you might unleash the 'Wisdom of the Crowd', and better, have proof you are doing so. 

I'd say, you would be standing out!

Douglas Weidner
Chief CKM Instructor
Exec Chairman, KM Institute

PS Contact me directly if you'd like to know more.

On Fri, Aug 20, 2021 at 2:03 PM Patrick Lambe <plambe@...> wrote:
Hi Raquel

Participation in CoPs has no quantifiable business value in and of itself. Any business value will reside in the value of the problems that are solved, the risks avoided or the opportunities grasped. 

Sometimes these are added value (e.g. a CoP that provides a forum for solving complex problems) and sometimes these are just the cost of doing business (e.g. Airbus EADS uses CoPs to knit together its various national workforces so that the aircraft it manufactures will fly safely and economically - because of its distributed nature the consortium would simply not function without them; on the individual level, many professions have requirements for continuing professional education/ re-accreditation - KM does not have this, and I would argue that the nearest thing to it is participation in KM CoPs - this is the “cost of doing business” in the KM space). 

“Cost of doing business” means that it’s a basic qualification to operate in that space, and without it you have no credibility. In that context the question is not about financial benefits from the activity, but whether or not you can even function in that space. For compliance and corporate governance I would compare the cost of regular commercial training and certification programs to stay current vs the “cost” of participation. You will need one or the other (and perhaps both) to remain credible. Training and accreditation gives you structured content, but it is retrospective. CoPs and networks typically give you trends, emerging issues, and networks of contacts for rapid assistance in challenging situations. Which comes back to, what are the problems your role is intended to solve, and what is the value of solving them? Are they stable problems (in which case training and study is probably enough) or are they shifting over time (in which case CoPs and networks are necessary)?

So I would look at what the CoPs are meant to achieve/ contribute to, and what your role is intended to achieve.

Unfortunately it’s not as easy as turning everything into dollar values.

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com


On 21 Aug 2021, at 1:17 AM, Raquel Balceiro <raqbalceiro@...> wrote:

Dear colleagues,

 

How are you? I am a regular reader of the messages exchanged here in the group and I understand the wealth of the recommendations you make.

 

Knowing my trajectory in Knowledge Management, my manager decided that I would stand out as responsible for participating in CoPs of companies around the topic in which I work today (Compliance and Corporate Governance).

I particularly understand the benefits of knowledge exchanges in CoPs, such as learning, networking, ideas and analogies that support innovation.

However, I need to build a Business Case, showing financial benefits that can come from this participation.

So, do you have any recent studies on Communities of Practice to refer to me? Any contribution you can offer me will be very helpful.

Thank you in advance.

Raquel Balceiro
Academy of Corporate Governance, Compliance and Integrity
Petrobras
Brazil



Patrick Lambe
 

Thanks Raquel that extra detail helps. 

Communities have another characteristic which is that they are not tangible. We sometimes think of CoPs as repositories of people’s knowledge or as resources. But they aren’t - they are collections of people who check in with each other every now and then around an area of common concern. The knowledge is still in the people, whether individually or collectively when they discuss things together, and so your reputation in the community impacts the value you can get out of it. CoPs are pools of potentiality. The question is whether that potentiality can be activated, and reputation is a big part of that.

That means you can’t just “mine” a community for the knowledge that it has - for sustained knowledge benefits, you have to give as well as take. Reciprocity is a big thing.

The implication for your situation is that if your company wants to move from being a “shy" participant getting small things out, to getting more substantial value from it, then it probably needs to contribute more to the community’s activities. For example, hosting events, convening discussions, contributing to discussions, asking great questions that touch on the concerns of other members (as Stan points out), providing the benefits of your experience to other members, synthesising knowledge from discussions and offering it back to the community. In fact, some of the spectrum of activities that you will see here on SIKM.

In that context, you might want to take a look at Stan’s book “A Handbook of Community Management” https://www.amazon.co.uk/Handbook-Community-Management-Knowledge-Services/dp/311067355X

Although it’s supposedly aimed at community leaders, you will find a very accessible synthesis of the principles that underpin successful engagement in communities as well. (Stan, reflecting on this, you could legitimately expand your title to “A Handbook of Community Management and Participation”).

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com


On 21 Aug 2021, at 4:40 AM, Raquel Balceiro <raqbalceiro@...> wrote:

Hi, Patrick,

Thank you very much for your very detailed answer, I was here thinking alone about the demand, and what you pointed out in your text helped me a lot to find a way to structure this business case, even though I don't put in $ the benefits of our participation.

Currently, the participation of our company has been shy, we have only sought to learn about market practices of other Brazilian companies. However, we want to work in working groups to propose solutions, because we are interested in improving our internal and external initiatives, mainly influencing our stakeholders. Emphasis on gaining credibility and reputation can also be important, as some market diagnoses are based on the perception of other companies about what each organization has been doing. I also found it interesting that you point to the benefits of monitoring trends, which can be of very high added value.

Thank you so much for the insights.

Have a good weekend,

Raquel Balceiro
Academy of Corporate Governance, Compliance and Integrity
Petrobras
Brazil

Em sex., 20 de ago. de 2021 às 15:03, Patrick Lambe <plambe@...> escreveu:
Hi Raquel

Participation in CoPs has no quantifiable business value in and of itself. Any business value will reside in the value of the problems that are solved, the risks avoided or the opportunities grasped. 

Sometimes these are added value (e.g. a CoP that provides a forum for solving complex problems) and sometimes these are just the cost of doing business (e.g. Airbus EADS uses CoPs to knit together its various national workforces so that the aircraft it manufactures will fly safely and economically - because of its distributed nature the consortium would simply not function without them; on the individual level, many professions have requirements for continuing professional education/ re-accreditation - KM does not have this, and I would argue that the nearest thing to it is participation in KM CoPs - this is the “cost of doing business” in the KM space). 

“Cost of doing business” means that it’s a basic qualification to operate in that space, and without it you have no credibility. In that context the question is not about financial benefits from the activity, but whether or not you can even function in that space. For compliance and corporate governance I would compare the cost of regular commercial training and certification programs to stay current vs the “cost” of participation. You will need one or the other (and perhaps both) to remain credible. Training and accreditation gives you structured content, but it is retrospective. CoPs and networks typically give you trends, emerging issues, and networks of contacts for rapid assistance in challenging situations. Which comes back to, what are the problems your role is intended to solve, and what is the value of solving them? Are they stable problems (in which case training and study is probably enough) or are they shifting over time (in which case CoPs and networks are necessary)?

So I would look at what the CoPs are meant to achieve/ contribute to, and what your role is intended to achieve.

Unfortunately it’s not as easy as turning everything into dollar values.

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com

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On 21 Aug 2021, at 1:17 AM, Raquel Balceiro <raqbalceiro@...> wrote:

Dear colleagues,

 

How are you? I am a regular reader of the messages exchanged here in the group and I understand the wealth of the recommendations you make.

 

Knowing my trajectory in Knowledge Management, my manager decided that I would stand out as responsible for participating in CoPs of companies around the topic in which I work today (Compliance and Corporate Governance).

I particularly understand the benefits of knowledge exchanges in CoPs, such as learning, networking, ideas and analogies that support innovation.

However, I need to build a Business Case, showing financial benefits that can come from this participation.

So, do you have any recent studies on Communities of Practice to refer to me? Any contribution you can offer me will be very helpful.

Thank you in advance.

Raquel Balceiro
Academy of Corporate Governance, Compliance and Integrity
Petrobras
Brazil






Raquel Balceiro
 

Thanks, Stan.

Sorry for the delay in replying. The last few days have not been good here in Rio de Janeiro. My entire family contracted COVID, despite the vaccinations and all the care taken. We are suffering with the delta variant and no government action.

I'm compiling your insights along with the research I had already done for a presentation later this week, thank you.

Regards,
Raquel Balceiro
Petrobras

Em sex., 20 de ago. de 2021 às 16:29, Stan Garfield <stangarfield@...> escreveu:

Patrick's reply was excellent. Here are a few more suggestions for making the business case for communities.

Explain how active participation in communities will have a positive impact on the organization's key business objectives. For example:
  • If we save one project from repeating the same mistakes as previous projects, that could save $2 million. If we repeat this, the impact on profits is large.
  • If by responding quickly to an opportunity with a proven solution using acknowledged experts, we win one $10 million deal that we otherwise would have lost, that’s incremental revenue of $10 million. If we repeat this, the impact on revenue is significant.
  • If by ensuring that the best engineering product knowledge is reused, we avoid one product recall, we save the company hundreds of millions of dollars.
Ask compelling questions. For example:
  • Do we want our people to be able to readily find other people who can provide useful advice at the time of need? Community participation enables this.
  • Do we want anyone who has a question, seeks a resource, or requires help to be able to easily, quickly, and reliably get what they need? Posting in online communities makes this possible.
  • Do we want to stop reinventing the wheel? Sharing across organizational boundaries in communities can help us to avoid redundant effort.
For more, see this article about ROI and these articles about communities.


Stan Garfield
 

No need to apologize, Raquel. I'm sorry to hear about you and your family, and hope that everyone makes a rapid and full recovery.


Robert M. Taylor
 

Raquel, you've had some great answers already. I've faced the same question. I just want to share with the audience my reflection on this question of 'proving the business value of communities'. My reflection is that it's asking you to prove the business value of people working together, having a helper network, sharing ideas and experiences and so on - - such fundamental things that (even though I do and have answered the question in sensible ways) I really wonder if even being asked to justify these things isn't really something we should see less as a request for information and more a signal of a culture. We're probably not asking what is the business value of having electric lighting in the office, but we're asking what is the business value of collaboration? It's a signifier of a culture. Because when people can get help from each other they do things better, faster, with less errors, with faster innovation, with unexpected additional information also being added; they build trusted networks; they feel good; after a while they self-organise to determine how to mature, standardise and advance their practice. So, that was my reflection. I always answer the question sensibly and you've had some great input on that already. I also always think to myself that I can hardly believe I have to justify something so obvious and that the fact that I do must signify some resistance that many other uncosted activities and expenses do not.


Stan Garfield
 

Robert, that's a very important point. Richard Cross wrote, "Never trust someone who says 'Show me the ROI' or 'You can only manage what you measure.' Anthropologists maintain that in every culture there are apparently rational questions that mask hostile intent. 'Show me the ROI' or 'Yes, but how do you measure it?' generally fall into this category. When confronted with these types, start to get alarmed."


Dennis Pearce
 

Great quote by Cross, Stan.  I think ROI should stand for "Requirement Of Institution" because that's what it really is.  In my experience, most times that an ROI was required it wasn't really for financial reasons but just a CYA document for the manager making the decision.  Everyone wants to see ROI up front but very rarely does anyone do the analysis after the fact to see if it was really achieved as promised.

Also I think that just as there's a lot of p-hacking that goes on in the academic world, there's a lot of ROI-hacking that goes on in the business world, rendering its practical value pretty meaningless.  ROI and p-values are both examples of the danger of what can happen when so much emphasis is put on a measurement that it becomes the goal.

On Tue, Aug 31, 2021 at 7:53 AM Stan Garfield <stangarfield@...> wrote:
Robert, that's a very important point. Richard Cross wrote, "Never trust someone who says 'Show me the ROI' or 'You can only manage what you measure.' Anthropologists maintain that in every culture there are apparently rational questions that mask hostile intent. 'Show me the ROI' or 'Yes, but how do you measure it?' generally fall into this category. When confronted with these types, start to get alarmed."


Arthur Shelley
 

I was once asked “THE ROI” question by a HR Director.

 

I replied with a spreadsheet summarising 35 success stories that collectively added tens of $millions to the bottom and top lines over a few years. This was many multiples of the cost of the KM team.

I then asked if HR had equivalent measures to prove their worth and ROI to the organisation!

He did not answer…

 

This dollar figure of course did not account for the intangibles generated, which are far more valuable to the organisation (such as the trust, respects, confidence, relationships, loyalty, excitement, willingness to participate, engagement kudos etc – all of which translate back to higher performance in tangible ways).

 

It is important to collect such armouries so that you can “justify your existence”

Even though this should not be necessary, as people should understand the value created, they are often “too busy” to bother or reflect on the importance that knowledge flows generate. As Stan says, they are self-interested bullies generally looking for someone who they consider an easy target.

So don’t be a target. Knowledge and stories to tell are the best form of defence against ignorant idiots.

 

Then again, it is up to us KMers to ensure that people do understand the value - so part of the relationships with stakeholders we need to manage.

This why widely sharing success stories is critical (but keep a record of them all over time – just in case someone is to bust to notice). 😊

 

Arthur Shelley

Principal: www.IntelligentAnswers.com.au 

Founder: Organizational Zoo Ambassadors Network

Mb. +61 413 047 408  Twitter: @Metaphorage

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

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

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

 

From: main@SIKM.groups.io <main@SIKM.groups.io> On Behalf Of Stan Garfield
Sent: Tuesday, 31 August 2021 9:53 PM
To: main@SIKM.groups.io
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Business Case for CoP Participation #CoP #value

 

Robert, that's a very important point. Richard Cross wrote, "Never trust someone who says 'Show me the ROI' or 'You can only manage what you measure.' Anthropologists maintain that in every culture there are apparently rational questions that mask hostile intent. 'Show me the ROI' or 'Yes, but how do you measure it?' generally fall into this category. When confronted with these types, start to get alarmed."


Robert M. Taylor
 

Arthur, I smile - same story. I was asked by a board director (Comms) for the KM ROI. I asked for the comms one as a model example I could follow. Last we heard of that!


Tim Powell
 

Interesting discussion.  I’ve thought so much about this perplexing issue, I’ve written a book on it!   

 

Companies, especially younger companies, are data-driven, perhaps to a fault.  Agreed, not all enterprise functions can fully prove out -- HR, I’m looking at you — or even describe their ROI (i.e., benefits and costs.)  But, unless they are (1) directly within the revenue stream, or (2) mandated by some outside authority, they too are increasingly vulnerable.

 

It’s natural for companies and their executives to seek ROI — especially when they don’t deeply understand something.  ROI is a lingua franca of sorts.  As an MBA with ten years logged in the Big Four consultancies, I understand this and work with it.  They don’t take too much on faith, they’re very empirical.  And “knowledge” doesn’t even seem real to many of them.

 

If you have to quickly “juice” the ROI on anything, the quickest way is to cut the denominator — the investment, i.e., the budget.  It’s a quick, decisive ROI win — that can have disastrous longer-term consequences.

 

That said, frankly I don’t understand how one can manage a portfolio of projects (of any kind) without a solid understanding of their relative benefits and costs.  Isn’t resource allocation (budgeting, hiring and firing, project expansion and sunsetting) a key aspect of management? These assessments should be ongoing, not just episodic in reaction to the sharpening of budget knives.

 

Yes, it’s good to have successes in your back pocket when needed — but why not be less defensive, and more forthcoming, about them?

 

My opinions,

 

Tim

 

TIM WOOD POWELL | President, The Knowledge Agency® | Author, The Value of Knowledge |

New York City, USA  |  TEL +1.212.243.1200 | 

SITE www.KnowledgeAgency.com | BLOG www.KnowledgeValueChain.com |

 

 

From: <main@SIKM.groups.io> on behalf of Arthur Shelley <arthur@...>
Reply-To: "main@SIKM.groups.io" <main@SIKM.groups.io>
Date: Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at 8:59 AM
To: "main@SIKM.groups.io" <main@SIKM.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Business Case for CoP Participation #CoP #value

 

I was once asked “THE ROI” question by a HR Director.

 

I replied with a spreadsheet summarising 35 success stories that collectively added tens of $millions to the bottom and top lines over a few years. This was many multiples of the cost of the KM team.

I then asked if HR had equivalent measures to prove their worth and ROI to the organisation!

He did not answer…

 

This dollar figure of course did not account for the intangibles generated, which are far more valuable to the organisation (such as the trust, respects, confidence, relationships, loyalty, excitement, willingness to participate, engagement kudos etc – all of which translate back to higher performance in tangible ways).

 

It is important to collect such armouries so that you can “justify your existence”

Even though this should not be necessary, as people should understand the value created, they are often “too busy” to bother or reflect on the importance that knowledge flows generate. As Stan says, they are self-interested bullies generally looking for someone who they consider an easy target.

So don’t be a target. Knowledge and stories to tell are the best form of defence against ignorant idiots.

 

Then again, it is up to us KMers to ensure that people do understand the value - so part of the relationships with stakeholders we need to manage.

This why widely sharing success stories is critical (but keep a record of them all over time – just in case someone is to bust to notice). 😊

 

Arthur Shelley

Principal: www.IntelligentAnswers.com.au 

Founder: Organizational Zoo Ambassadors Network

Mb. +61 413 047 408  Twitter: @Metaphorage

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

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

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

 

From: main@SIKM.groups.io <main@SIKM.groups.io> On Behalf Of Stan Garfield
Sent: Tuesday, 31 August 2021 9:53 PM
To: main@SIKM.groups.io
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Business Case for CoP Participation #CoP #value

 

Robert, that's a very important point. Richard Cross wrote, "Never trust someone who says 'Show me the ROI' or 'You can only manage what you measure.' Anthropologists maintain that in every culture there are apparently rational questions that mask hostile intent. 'Show me the ROI' or 'Yes, but how do you measure it?' generally fall into this category. When confronted with these types, start to get alarmed."


Nick Milton
 

Respectfully, I disagree. I think the ROI conversation is not necessarily a hostile one, but may be someone looking for a logical reason to support an emotional feeling (“I sort of like this idea, but need to make sure it makes good business sense”). You can call this CYA, or you can call it engaging minds as well as hearts.

 

I would suggest that you can look on the ROI conversation as an opportunity. You could ask to work with the person to (for example) look at the costs incurred by not managing knowledge (repeated mistakes, best practices not developed or applied, inconsistent performance levels, unhappy customers, lost capability as people retire, slow expensive onboarding etc). Very quickly you tend to find that these costs far outweigh any investment needed in KM. Then you ask for support to run a pilot to test the delivery of value, by using KM (and knowledge) to solve a business issue.

 

The ROI request is an opportunity to engage at a high level, and to agree a next step.  

 

More details here.

 

Nick Milton

 

 

From: main@SIKM.groups.io <main@SIKM.groups.io> On Behalf Of Stan Garfield
Sent: 31 August 2021 12:53
To: main@SIKM.groups.io
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Business Case for CoP Participation #CoP #value

 

Robert, that's a very important point. Richard Cross wrote, "Never trust someone who says 'Show me the ROI' or 'You can only manage what you measure.' Anthropologists maintain that in every culture there are apparently rational questions that mask hostile intent. 'Show me the ROI' or 'Yes, but how do you measure it?' generally fall into this category. When confronted with these types, start to get alarmed."


Ed Hoffman
 

Interesting conversation. 
In my experience there are those who recognize the importance of finding ways to measure value in knowledge work. This is vital and good. I have also worked with managers who want to kill and stop a change by indicating they want hard core and tangible numbers. After all there are “serious” managers. 
They are often deliberate killers of ideas, and should never be in leadership roles. We are living in an age of intangibles - innovation, trust, learning, collaboration, high performance teams, knowledge. We should find ways to demonstrate value in outcomes, but demands for easy and simple ROI indicators are often coverage to prevent change. The most important things that we value in life are intangible - love, purpose, trust. Work with leaders who understand that. 

On Aug 31, 2021, at 12:24 PM, Nick Milton <nick.milton@...> wrote:



Respectfully, I disagree. I think the ROI conversation is not necessarily a hostile one, but may be someone looking for a logical reason to support an emotional feeling (“I sort of like this idea, but need to make sure it makes good business sense”). You can call this CYA, or you can call it engaging minds as well as hearts.

 

I would suggest that you can look on the ROI conversation as an opportunity. You could ask to work with the person to (for example) look at the costs incurred by not managing knowledge (repeated mistakes, best practices not developed or applied, inconsistent performance levels, unhappy customers, lost capability as people retire, slow expensive onboarding etc). Very quickly you tend to find that these costs far outweigh any investment needed in KM. Then you ask for support to run a pilot to test the delivery of value, by using KM (and knowledge) to solve a business issue.

 

The ROI request is an opportunity to engage at a high level, and to agree a next step.  

 

More details here.

 

Nick Milton

 

 

From: main@SIKM.groups.io <main@SIKM.groups.io> On Behalf Of Stan Garfield
Sent: 31 August 2021 12:53
To: main@SIKM.groups.io
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Business Case for CoP Participation #CoP #value

 

Robert, that's a very important point. Richard Cross wrote, "Never trust someone who says 'Show me the ROI' or 'You can only manage what you measure.' Anthropologists maintain that in every culture there are apparently rational questions that mask hostile intent. 'Show me the ROI' or 'Yes, but how do you measure it?' generally fall into this category. When confronted with these types, start to get alarmed."


Robert M. Taylor
 

Agreed, Nick (as ever). Certainly 'not necessarily', and not even usually. But sometimes - and that was my reflection. And I think it's because they have sensed we're here with something different and rather challenging to their orthodoxy. Too right.


Robert M. Taylor
 

Indeed, Ed. We now face an existential crisis if we fail to account for the value of nature and wellness - orthodoxically seen as an 'externality' and not a proper subject for business. With our close ties to intellectual capital and intangible asset accounting KM has a role to help here.


Ed Hoffman
 

Very good and important point. There is an increasing crisis where increasingly leaders need to lead intellectual capital and intangible assets that are in the category of values, wellness, identity. This is directly related to the opportunity and challenge of knowledge and learning. 

On Aug 31, 2021, at 2:14 PM, Robert M. Taylor via groups.io <Robertmartintaylor@...> wrote:

Indeed, Ed. We now face an existential crisis if we fail to account for the value of nature and wellness - orthodoxically seen as an 'externality' and not a proper subject for business. With our close ties to intellectual capital and intangible asset accounting KM has a role to help here.