Originally posted 12-Oct-23

Stan Garfield
5 min readOct 13, 2023


Carla O’Dell founded APQC along with her late husband, Jack Grayson. She is one of the world’s leading experts in using knowledge to drive productivity and competitiveness.

Carla leads APQC’s Board of Directors in its governance and oversight responsibilities. Previously, she served as APQC’s CEO from 2012 to 2018, president from 1994–2012, and in leadership roles since joining in 1978.

A practical visionary, she plays a strong role in APQC’s research. She works to inspire the next generation of ideas, research, and people so that APQC remains true to its mission: to research and embrace advances that make people more productive and that enrich their work life.

Over her 40-year career with APQC, Carla launched many of APQC’s signature research areas and tools. In 1995, under her direction, APQC launched its first knowledge management best practices consortium. Since then, APQC has worked with more than 500 organizations and produced the world’s largest body of actionable best practices in designing and implementing KM strategies, and measuring the impact of KM.

Carla is an active author, contributor to APQC’s knowledge management blog, and frequent interviewee for national and industry press. Her popular Big Thinkers, Big Ideas interview series captures new insights on learning, knowledge, innovation, and leadership from some of the top business minds. She was the executive champion for the formation of APQC’s Open Standards Benchmarking® database, which standardized the processes and measurements that global organizations use to benchmark and improve performance.


  • Stanford University — BA, Psychology
  • University of Oregon — MS, Experimental Psychology
  • University of Houston — PhD, Industrial and Organizational Psychology



If Only We Knew What We Know: The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice with C. Jackson Grayson

The New Edge in Knowledge: How Knowledge Management Is Changing the Way We Do Business with Cindy Hubert

The Executive’s Role in Knowledge Management with Paige Leavitt

Stages of Implementation: A Guide for Your Journey to Knowledge Management Best Practices with Cindy Hubert and Susan Elliot

Knowledge Management: A Guide for Your Journey to Best-Practice Processes with Cindy Hubert and Susan Elliot

Handbook of Knowledge Management Vol. 1 edited by Clyde Holsapple — Chapter 31: Identifying and Transferring Internal Best Practices — with C. Jackson Grayson

Handbook of Knowledge Management Vol. 2 edited by Clyde Holsapple — Chapter 44: Achieving Knowledge Management Outcomes — with Susan Elliot and Cindy Hubert; Chapter 51: Successful KM Implementations: A Study of Best Practice Organizations — with FariDa Hasanali, Cindy Hubert, Kimberly Lopez, Peggy Odem, and Cynthia Raybourn

Knowledge Management Lessons Learned: What Works and What Doesn’t edited by Michael E. D. Koenig and T. Kanti Srikantaiah — Chapter 5: Successfully Implementing Knowledge Management: Lessons Learned and Best Practices with Cindy Hubert



  1. Big Thinkers, Big Ideas: Host and Thought Leader Herself, Carla O’Dell, Gets Interviewed
  2. Definition of a Good Idea
  3. How Social Networking Makes Us Smarter
  4. Expertise Shortages and What It Does To Knowledge Management Programs
  5. How Individuals Learn
  6. How Organizations Learn
  7. How Communities Learn
  8. Social Networking: What Does It Mean for Knowledge Management?
  9. How Mobile Devices Are Changing Knowledge Management
  10. Social Media: Friend, Fad, or Foe of Knowledge Management?
  11. Social Media and Information Security: Can They Peacefully Coexist?
  12. Getting Started with Analytics
  13. Knowledge Management Best Practices
  14. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Knowledge Management Organizations
  15. KMWorld 2015 Keynote






  1. People and organizations learn differently. (Benedict Carey: How We Learn)
  2. You have learned something when you are able to recall it when you need it.
  3. People will remember the first thing you tell them and the last thing you tell them.
  4. Knowledge management is how organizations learn and remember.
  5. Organizations often create business rules as a result of something that went wrong.
  6. KM can help people learn by alerting them when something has changed: more dynamic than formal training and at the teachable moment.
  7. KM should be there at the teachable moment. Avoid dead ends, empty shelves, and desert islands.
  8. Communities are still KM’s killer app. Members’ allegiance to the group makes it possible for them to help others.
  9. Members of the group bring outside ideas to the group, which are vetted by the group, leading to improvement and innovation.
  10. People approaches make system approaches work. Technology matters, but change management to implement it is more important.

SIKM Leaders Community

February 2013: Trends in knowledge management — with Cindy HubertSlides



Stan Garfield

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