E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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2006 World’s Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises (MAKE) Named

A couple of days ago Jack Vinson shared over at his weblog a post regarding the recent announcement on the 2006 World’s Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises (MAKE) winners. At the time that I am getting to write this particular weblog post it looks like the original link is actually no longer working (Perhaps they are updating it or it has been relocated) but you would be able to find the 2006 Global MAKE Study Executive Summary over here. Either way, Jack was kind enough to share with us the Top 20 winners and here you have got them listed so that you can take a look into them:

– Accenture
– Apple Computer
– BHP Billiton
– Buckman Laboratories
– Dell
– Ernst & Young
– Fluor
– Google
– Hewlett-Packard
– Honda Motor
– McKinsey
– Microsoft
– Novo Nordisk
– PricewaterhouseCoopers
– Samsung Group
– Sony
– Tata Group
– 3M
– Toyota Motor Corporation
– Unilever

As he mentions, as well, it is actually rather interesting to note how most of the 2006 winners are actually companies that were not there in 2003, which, to me, comes to indicate how much alive and kicking Knowledge Management is overall. We may be witnessing another stunning comeback from KM into the business world but the surprising fact is that most of the Top 20 winners are actually companies not very much related to the IT world. On the contrary, they actually deal with whatever other industries, which would make this list even so much more refreshing as it clearly shows how Knowledge Management has gone beyond the boundaries of the traditional IT industry into multiple industries that are starting to realise how much needed a KM strategy might have been. And, by the looks of it, things are running smooth with those relatively new KM strategies because they are all making it all the way into the top, which is, indeed, a very good thing. Quite inspiring.

I must say that while going through the list, and reading through the executive summary, I was a bit surprised not to find IBM listed in the Top 20, when in previous years, including 2003, it was actually listed on the Top 10, more exactly at #9. That clearly indicates to me how IBM might have lost a little bit of its focus in aligning its KM and overall business strategies, or, another possibility, that it might not have gone out there often enough to show what is actually happening in the KM arena both inside and outside of IBM. I suspect that part of the reason why IBM this time around this year has fallen into the 22nd place from the MAKE winner list is because we might not have gone out often enough and engage in different conversations with all different parties involved (Customers, business partners, IT industry, etc. etc.) showing where IBM is going with both its KM and business strategies.

I mean, pretty much the same way that different industries have been embracing a renewed Knowledge Management, thanks to that hyped social software, so has been IBM acting upon over the last few months, along with trying to embed it all into the different traditional KM strategies already put in place to walk hand in hand. But somehow it looks like the message might not have been strong enough nor good enough. We may need to continue engaging in the conversations taking place out there so that perception may change in, perhaps, next year’s MAKE winners. Who knows. The interesting and exciting fact is that the challenge is on and it would be quite rewarding to know if with next year’s MAKE winners things would be much more different than this year. We shall see. Only thing remaining now would be, would IBM be ready for the challenge? Would we be ready for it? Time will tell.

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  1. I wonder about bias in compilation of this list.

    IMO the list refects big companies that have splashy KM projects, high level KM appointments and make wide use of KM consultants. It may not refect adoption of key KM principles, wide implementation of novel KM practices, KM penetration & innovation, KM ethos or a blanced view of KM culture within those firms.

    Often wonder about smaller firms that have embraced KM, practice it daily, benefit from true knowledge driven competitive advantage and rely on KM for advancing innovation. These firms seem to be smaller, very social, exhibit strong cohesion, subscribe to core knowledge driven values and do little to pontificate about their KM – it is too close to their collective chest and the root of their success.

    What do you think?

  2. Thanks much, Denham, for the feedback comments and for the great contribution ! I, too, wondered about the bias in compilation of the list, but somehow it seems like MAKE has been doing this list for a number of years based on large businesses and has certainly carried on with the tradition that is highly respected and that somehow seems to follow the industries, in general.

    However, with all that said, and after having read your comments above I certainly agree with you that this is just, perhaps, one small fraction of what is actually happening on the KM world out there. I would very much like to see, like you mentioned, some hard facts that somehow could corroborate some of the criteria that has been selected to put such list together based on some of the great key points you mention: adoption of KM principles, implementation of novel KM practices, KM penetration and innovation, KM ethos or that same KM balanced culture you mentioned as well. I bet the story may be a little bit different and perhaps even much more surprising.

    Regarding your comments about the smaller firms I cannot but agree with you 100% on your thoughts. In fact, while reading through them the reminded me of another weblog post I created some time ago around the subject of how KM works best when it is local / localised, taken from a quote by Larry Prusak:

    It’s called localism. Knowledge is sticky, local and contextual. It stays where it is, especially innovative knowledge. Innovations in general come from the bottom up. It’s generally the interface between the worker and the work”

    It would be quite an interesting list to see an alternative list based on these same criteria. I doubt many of the firms coming up on the original MAKE list would eventually be making it all the way to the top. Don’t you think?

  3. That is certainly an interesting article and worth while a read ! Lots of things going to take place in the short term thus I would be curious as well as to see what would be happening next year and see if that time around US Joint Forces command would be on the list. Worth while watching what will happen, eventually, I would say. Thanks for the heads up !

  4. Just visited this site on MAKE details. I wonder to see the amount of work going on in
    KM and C areas. So we have a task to embark on. Putting IBM back in better place.
    Any strategy in accordance with MAKE guidelines has been already adapted? Just curious to know.


  5. Hi Raju ! Thanks a lot for the feedback comments and for dropping by. Yes, certainly, lots of stuff happening in this particular space. I have been talking to a couple of communities related to Knowledge Management inside IBM to see what we could do, or, at least, to bring it on to the table for a potential discussion and further updates on what we could actually do to try to improve things for future years. We shall see how it will go further. If you would want some more details about those communities, contact me offline and I will pass on some further information. Thanks again for the feedback !

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