Originally published October 31, 2018

This is the 34th article in the Profiles in Knowledge series featuring thought leaders in knowledge management. Arthur Shelley is a capability development and knowledge strategy consultant who has held a variety of professional roles including managing international projects in Australia, Europe, Asia and the USA. He is an author, speaker, workshop facilitator at international conferences, and the former Global Knowledge Director for Cadbury Schweppes. He is founder of The Organizational Zoo Ambassadors Network (a professional peer mentoring group), creator of the RMIT University MBA mentoring program, and co-facilitator of the Melbourne KM Leadership Forum.

Arthur has presented on multiple SIKM Leaders Community calls, starting in 2009. I first met him when I visited Australia in 2010, where he was my very gracious local host. I was able to return the favor when he visited Detroit in 2015, and we were both at KMWorld 2016. We have become good friends over the years.


Arthur Shelley is founder and CEO of Intelligent Answers and the Producer of Creative Melbourne. An independent capability development and knowledge strategy consultant with 30 years’ experience in international professional roles. Leading projects provided him with unique insights into what motivates people to collaborate. He works closely with clients to build individual and team capabilities through the facilitation of knowledge co-creating initiatives. His interactive workshops and programs focus on understanding behavior and relationships, to increase productivity and successfully implement change.

Arthur regularly speaks and facilitates interactive workshops at international events. He is the course coordinator for Knowledge Management in RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) University’s MBA program and was formerly the Global Knowledge Director for Cadbury Schweppes.

Arthur enjoys sharing the lessons, insights and comedy of workplaces and projects. Participants quickly identify with Organizational Zoo characters and are drawn into interacting with other participants, sharing stories about their own workplace strategies, behavior and relationships.

Arthur’s specialties are leadership, knowledge co-creation, behavioral development, team dynamics, stakeholder engagement, Influence, facilitation, and inclusive event production. His objective is to stimulate learning to be more socially engaging to enhance capability development and build relationships based on co-creation and collaboration and reduce confrontation.


  • RMIT University — PhD, Project Management, 2012
  • RMIT University — Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Learning and Teaching
  • University of Queensland — MSc, Microbiology and Biochemistry, 1985
  • The University of Queensland — BS, Microbiology and Biochemistry, 1981


  1. Organizational Zoo
  2. Professional Profile
  3. Intelligent Answers
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Facebook
  6. Knowledge Management Online
  7. Aslan
  8. AusKM


  1. Intelligent Answers
  2. Organizational Zoo
  3. Twitter
  4. Google Scholar
  5. Blog
  6. LinkedIn Posts


  1. LinkedIn Articles
  2. RealKM
  3. Stories stimulate KM activity in your organisation
  4. 12 Principles of Knowledge Leadership
  5. Active Learning Innovations in Knowledge Management Education Generate Higher Quality Learning Outcomes
  6. The intelligent social change journey: Moving into the information field of consciousness with Alex Bennet, David Bennet, Theresa Bullard, and John Lewis
  7. The Behavioural DNA of Creativity: Insights from Creative Bangkok Metaphor Interaction — pages 29–31

Articles by Others

  1. Interview with Ana Neves
  2. Stuart French and Victor Perton chat about Australian Leadership
  3. Interview with Victor Perton on Australian Leadership: “pragmatic resilience with a dash of larrikinism”
  4. How Technology Will Affect the Future of Knowledge Management by Lauren Trees — Arthur Shelley, founder and CEO at Intelligent Answers, added to this conversation: “Knowledge and intellectual property are like cash — they need to flow to create value. This requires trusted relationships, a willingness to constructively engage, and preparedness to share the value created.” All of these aspects are “difficult things to define in a legal contract,” he added.
  5. Weaving Networks in Melbourne by Nancy White


  1. SIKM Leaders Community Posts
  2. AuSKM 2018 in Knovember 12 Nov 2018–14 Nov 2018
  3. Opportunity to form an international knowledge professionals society
  4. International Knowledge Professionals Society LinkedIn group
  5. KM Chicago
  6. Association of Knowledgework (AOK) — Preparing for Conversations with Arthur Shelley

Cited and Quoted in My Blog

1. Wiki Conversation Visualised

2. What Good KM Looks Like

On February 26, 2008 I presented on a member audio conference for Pure Insight on Knowledge management systems: What makes a successful system? Arthur also presented.

I asked Arthur if I could quote from his presentation, and he graciously agreed. Here are some of his key points.

Gradual change focused on people & behaviors

  • Knowledge Management is NOT Rocket Surgery
  • Have a clear vision aligned with business strategy
  • Communicate the vision and strategy widely
  • Find the pockets of excellence and leverage them
  • Generate some benefits to demonstrate why change is positive
  • Change people’s habits by demonstrating collaboration is better
  • Continue to grow a foundation aligned with business priorities, goals and objectives
  • Embed knowledge principles into everyday business activities
  • Constantly support ownership in the business

What does good KM look like?

  • People naturally collaborate and have extensive global networks
  • Leaders support their teams’ collaboration activities across business and with external parties
  • There is a high level of adaptation and adoption of other’s ideas
  • Sharing behavior is acknowledged and rewarded
  • Tools enable learning before, during and after activities and events
  • Networks and communities are self-sustaining and refresh knowledge as they complete projects and rotate leader and administrative roles
  • Community activities are driven by business needs and deliver benefits, both tangible and intangible
  • Knowledge behaviors are embedded into everyday business processes
  • Intellectual property is defined and made available for others to use
  • Learnings from change programs are captured and reused in, or adapted for, related future projects
  • Information and knowledge is constantly refreshed and easily accessed by appropriate parties

Key points for success

  • Focus on the people, bring them together, get them comfortable with each other and match behaviors
  • Create opportunities for collaboration on activities that deliver value and make their jobs easier
  • Show how the knowledge management activities align with business priorities and generate benefits
  • Build an identity around your knowledge program to get people to feel part of it
  • Communicate widely and often, especially success stories
  • Develop Knowledge Platforms and capabilities in background (Networks, Behaviors, Processes, Tools and Infrastructure)
  • Find senior sponsors and lead facilitators who can transfer ownership and build a self-supporting network
  • Introduce fun and social aspects to your teams

3. 50 Categories for Assessing Organizational Culture

The Organizational Zoo

  1. A is for Ant
  2. B is for Bee
  3. C is for Chameleon
  4. D is for Dog
  5. E is for Eagle
  6. F is for Feline
  7. G is for Gibbon
  8. H is for Hyena
  9. I is for Insect
  10. J is for Jackal
  11. K is for Kid
  12. L is for Lion
  13. M is for Mouse
  14. N is for Nematode
  15. O is for Owl
  16. P is for Piranha
  17. Q is for Quercus robur
  18. R is for Rattlesnake
  19. S is for Sloth
  20. T is for Triceratops
  21. U is for Unicorn
  22. V is for Vulture
  23. W is for Whale
  24. X is for X-Breed
  25. Y is for Yak
  26. Z is for Zoo

4. How to Be a Great Community Manager

In an actKM discussion on the role of community managers summarized by Arthur Shelley, the following attributes were supplied by the participants:

Community manager key responsibilities:

  • Lead the community, engage membership and other stakeholders
  • Organize community interactions and activities on regular basis
  • Ensure the purpose of the community remains aligned with personal aspirations of the members as well as business goals
  • Create an identity for the community to which people want to belong
  • Generate an atmosphere of fun to keep the interactions vibrant
  • Network with potential new community members to promote community benefits
  • Collate feedback from members and facilitate responses to source of feedback
  • Ensure collaboration activities are beneficial to the community members
  • Engage members and generate a sense of commitment to community activities
  • Network with HR and Communications personnel, advise them of interest stories
  • Communicate community benefits and successes to wider stakeholder groups
  • Establish (with members) agreed processes for community activities and events
  • Establish accountabilities and timeframes for agreed projects, tasks and activities
  • Identify objectives, roles and responsibilities for community members
  • Designate resources requirements and determine any funding arrangements
  • Anticipate risks and explore impacts non-delivery of desired outcomes
  • Establish a monitoring and review process
  • Liaise with the Content Manager to discuss layout and formats of content on the portal
  • Screen submitted content for appropriateness and relevance
  • Encourage members to load useful content to the relevant portal pages

5. Getting a PhD in Knowledge Management, and 10 possible research topics

It is good to see you getting a variety of great advice from some wonderful people. One of the basic essences of KM is to ask good questions of experienced people.

I advise the best way to approach a PhD is to start doing some research and find something that you are deeply interested in researching further. It will become apparent during your exploration who the experts are in the area of research you are most interested in and you should then approach the relevant experts seeking to study with them (demonstrating your interest in their work and what you question you would like to research). The research question you seek to explore needs to be your own and something you have a passion for as it will occupy 3–4 years of your life. If you are not deeply interested in it, you will struggle to keep it as a high priority (which it needs to be for good research and your interest/enjoyment of the learning).

Typically, here is Australia a PhD candidate needs to prepare a detailed research proposal in order to be accepted to enroll in a PhD. This investment in prework is not lost as it is all able to be included. The Universities do this to ensure the candidate is serious about the endeavor and also to get some idea about the quality of the student for entry purposes.

Different universities (and countries) have very different rules about PhD study. In some countries it is very expensive to complete a PhD (especially of you are not a citizen of that country) and in other countries it is free for citizens. In Germany one can study for free (perhaps even get an allowance to do so), but in Australia it would cost a lot unless you had a sponsor or a scholarship.


1. SlideShare

2. KM Singapore

3. KMWorld

4. SIKM Leaders Community


1. Intelligent Answers

2. ZooTube

3. YouTube

4. Vimeo — iKMS Evening Talk: Organizational Zoo


1. KNOWledge SUCCESSion: Sustained Performance and Capability Growth Through Strategic Knowledge Projects

2. The Organizational Zoo: A Survival Guide to Work Place Behavior

3. Being a Successful Knowledge Leader: What Knowledge Practitioners Need to Know to Make a Difference

4. Knowledge Management Matters: Words of Wisdom from Leading Practitioners edited by John Girard and JoAnn Girard — Chapter 10: Leading Knowledge Flows and Cocreation for Sustained Future Outcomes

5. Successful Knowledge Leadership: Principles and Practice edited by Helen Roche — Chapter 1: 12 principles of knowledge leadership

  • University Context for the emergence of knowledge leadership
  • Knowledge as a foundation for effective leadership
  • Is knowledge leadership another fad?
  • What does a knowledge leader do
  • 12 principles of knowledge leadership

6. Next Generation Knowledge Management IIIAmazon — Chapter 3: Knowledge disruptors in mergers and acquisitions

  • Insecurity in times of change
  • Trust in unstable environments
  • Excuses, excuses
  • Sharing not forced by ethics or law
  • Who gets credit?
  • White owl in a dog eat dog world
  • Positive self-interest
  • Sneaky self-interest
  • Valuing, not counting heads
  • Human matters matter

6. The Profundity and Bifurcation of Change: The Intelligent Social Change Journey with Alex Bennet, David Bennet, Theresa Bullard, and John Lewis

  1. Part I: Laying the Groundwork
  2. Part II: Learning from the Past
  3. Part III: Learning in the Present
  4. Part IV: Co-Creating the Future
  5. Part V: Living the Future

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/