Entovation International
The Search For New Knowledge Standards
The Finland Agenda

Debra M. Amidon

In May, Esko Kilpi of Sedecon Consulting organized two major events in Helsinki, creating a national dialogue. In his opening remarks, he outlined new frontiers of knowledge management:

  • theory of organizing, power and governance
  • contrast of authoritarian and democratic power
  • the power of purpose
  • management accountable for the flow of ideas, not any one owner or group of people

With the formula: Capital = Community + Creativity, he suggest that the heart of the movement is actually a function of the flow of meaning. The challenge then is to connect people in a meaningful way and enhance their capacity to transform information into invention and initiative.

Using the Hamel/Prahaled chart (customer needs met/unmet), he argues that it requires an understanding of unarticulated needs, to serve the new needs of customers: "If acompany wants to see its future, 80 per cent of what it is going to have to learn will come from outside of its own industry. Connectivity is the focus. The thicker the networks - including partners, customers and other stakeholders - the richer the knowledge."

In presentations for the Ministry of Education in a conference "Knowledge Management and Knowledge Productivity in Contemporary Society and Organizations", useful insights were provided by various experts, including Rob van der Speck (Cibit), Lilly Evans (Global Learning Web), Annikki Jarvinen (University of Helsinki), Seija Kulki (Helsinki School of Economics) and Debra M. Amidon (ENTOVATION).

The key messages can be summarized according to a management architecture:

I.  PERFORMANCE has become a balance of tangible and intangible assets. The investment/return equation has been challenged. It is far more a matter of linking human potential and economic value. Incentives need to reward knowledge-sharing and resources allocated for the long term.

II. STRUCTURES represent connection - clusters of knowledge, communities of practice. We are beginning to observe fields of knowledge-creation both personally and professionally. Through multiple relationships, things are happening.

III. Real value lies within the INDIVIDUAL. It is a matter of becoming a better practitioner, not a matter of best practice. Cognitive processing has shifted from serial to parallel causing quantum breakthrough impacts. We rely on the individual for the capacity to innovate.

IV. The PROCESS is one of innovation - idea creation through commercialization. At its core is participation, interaction and interdependence. The context is the international marketplace and a variety of cultures which value these and bridge and build interfaces.

V. The TECHNOLOGY - an integral enabling factor - shifts from information to knowledge processing. Communicaitons requires an externalization of knowledge - both human and technical, which takes the form of groupware, Intranets and the Internet - leading towards a global innovation infrastructure.

In summarizing the conference, Finland's Minister captured the key themes that echoed throughout the day:

  • The need for 'context'
  • The half life of knowledge
  • The importance of meaning and purpose
  • The difference between "have to" and "want to"
  • The relationship between knowledge management and life-long learning
  • The value of participatory innovation
  • The multi-dimensionality of the topic.

He suggested follow-up activity which would include training of the public sector, a focus on dissemination and diffusion, continued international discussion, and further elaboration of ideas.

Debra M. Amidon - Email: debra@entovation.com


1996-1999 ENTOVATION International. All rights reserved.
Reprinted from I3 Update - 21.