Opportunities Survey, Enterprise 2.0 Debate, Development KM Strategies, Building Organizational Memories

21-Jun-07 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Question of the Week

Q: I recently read your article Masterclass: Identifying KM objectives and you mention conducting an opportunities survey. Do you know where I can find a sample of something like this? Is this something you’d recommend for me to try?

A: I do recommend that you try it. Here is another excerpt from my book which provides an example. Also see user surveys and employee satisfaction surveys.

Opportunities Survey

Use this survey when you are creating your Top 3 Objectives List. It allows you to test your assumptions and ensure that your program is designed to meet the needs of your organization. This should be conducted once before beginning any new KM initiative.

Here is an example of a survey you can use. You can adapt this as necessary to your situation.

1. Check all of the following challenges you are currently experiencing:

  1. It’s difficult for my team to make decisions, and when we make them, they are bad.
  2. It’s hard to find relevant information and resources at the time of need.
  3. We have to start from scratch each time we start a new project, and my team keeps reinventing the wheel.
  4. We repeat the same mistakes over and over.
  5. It’s difficult to find out if anyone else has solved a similar problem before or already done similar work.
  6. Information is poorly communicated to me, and I am unaware of what has been done, what is happening, and where the organization is heading.
  7. I can’t find standard processes, procedures, methods, tools, templates, techniques, and examples.
  8. I can’t get experts to help me, because they are scarce, in great demand, and unavailable when needed.
  9. We are unable to respond to customers who ask for proof that we know how to help them and that we have done similar work before.
  10. It takes too long to invent, design, manufacture, sell, and deliver products and services to our customers.

2. List any other challenges you regularly experience with sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, learning, and searching for knowledge.

3. From the challenges which you checked and the ones you listed, please rank the three most important in decreasing order of importance:

  1. <fill in the most important challenge>
  2. <fill in the second most important challenge>
  3. <fill in the third most important challenge>

4. What examples can you provide where sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, learning, and searching for knowledge are working well today?

5. What examples can you provide where sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, learning, and searching for knowledge worked well in the past?

6. What examples can you provide where sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, learning, and searching for knowledge worked well in the past or are working well today in other organizations?

7. What suggestions do you have for dealing with any of the challenges you identified?

8. What other needs do you have for sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, learning, and searching for knowledge?

9. What suggestions do you have for meeting the needs you identified?

10. Describe how knowledge management would work ideally.

KM Blog of the Week

A Bull in the Enterprise 2.0 China Shop by Tom Davenport

I felt like an atheist at a Baptist convention. I was at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston to debate Andrew McAfee, the movement’s high priest. My mission was to deny the existence of this faith-based initiative, or at least to argue that it’s not going to be our salvation.

I tried to make a few points:

  • That it’s not even clear what Enterprise 2.0 is.
  • That Enterprise 2.0 technologies will not, by themselves, revolutionize organizations and make them more democratic.
  • That Enterprise 2.0 technologies produce too much content for their own good.
  • That there is no business benefit from social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace other than giving people something to do at work when they get bored.

Watching the Film of the Fight by Andrew McAfee

I’ve just been looking over the (very high quality) video archive of the debate this morning between me and Tom Davenport over Enterprise 2.0, and I have to say it’s pretty good!

After one review of the video, it seems to me that our main point of disagreement concerned the extent to which the E2.0 toolkit really is something new, or whether it’s just an incremental extension to the longstanding set of technologies for collaboration, interaction, and information sharing. Tom stressed repeatedly that companies have been deploying such tools for decades, and he kept explicitly and implicitly asking the important question: what, if anything, is new now?

In my opening remarks and a few times subsequently, I tried to articulate my answer to this question: that digital platforms that initially impose little or no structure on interactions, but that contain mechanisms to let patterns and structure emerge over time, are actually quite new.

Speaking From the Heart, and off the Top of My Head by Andrew McAfee

I found myself in an uncomfortable position at the end of my short keynote speech during the Enterprise 2.0 conference yesterday. I got through my prepared material and still had about five minutes left in the allotted time. So I had to ad lib. The idea that occurred to me (from no identifiable source) was to make Enterprise 2.0 personal. I compared where my thinking was a year ago to where it was today, and tried to convey how big a shift had taken place.

KM Link of the Week

Two links from ActKM:

KM Book of the Week

Building Organizational Memories: Will You Know What You Knew?

A book edited by Dr. John P. Girard


Much has been written about how organizations create and exchange knowledge to achieve a competitive advantage. To date most researchers have concentrated on the present and how organizational leaders may use knowledge to create value today. The book builds on the many great works in the knowledge management domain; however, it is unique in that the focus will be on what leaders should be doing now (or soon) to ensure the next generation of organizational leaders know what they knew.

The term organizational memory is used to describe the preservation of organizational knowledge. Almost certainly there will be some debate about the exact meaning of this term — the following definition is provided to begin the debate: Organizational memory is the body of knowledge, past, present, and future, required to achieve the strategic objectives of an organization. Enabled by technology, leadership, and culture, organizational memories include repositories of artifacts, communities of people, and organizational knowledge sharing processes, which focus on achieving the organizational vision.

The Overall Objective of the Book

In the fields of management, information studies, information systems, psychology etc., there exists a need for an edited collection of articles in the area of organizational memories. The book aims to provide relevant theoretical frameworks, latest empirical research findings, and practitioners’ best practices in the area. The book will be multidisciplinary in nature and will consider a wide range of topics, each of which is related to preserving organizational knowledge for the next generation. It is written for professionals who want to improve their understanding of the strategic role of organizational memories.

The Target Audience

Professionals and researchers working in the field of knowledge management in various disciplines, e.g., library, information and communication sciences, administrative sciences and management, education, adult education, sociology, computer science, information technology. Moreover, the book will provide insights and support executives concerned with the management of expertise, knowledge, information and organizational development in different types of work communities and environments.

Table of Contents


  1. Section I The Enablers of Organizational Memories
  2. Section II The Components of Organizational Memories
  3. Section III Organizational Memories in Action
  4. Section IV Selected Readings


  1. Chapter I Organizational Culture and the Management of Organizational Memory: Peter Stoyko, Canada School of Public Service, Canada
  2. Chapter II Downsizing and Building Organizational Memory: A Paradoxical Relationship between “Brain-Drain” and “Brain- Gain”: Nicholas N. Bowersox, TUI University, USA
  3. Chapter III Effective Stakeholder Knowledge Sharing for Effective Organizational Memory: Nicholas P. Robinson, McGill University, Canada; Prescott C. Ensign, University of Ottawa, Canada
  4. Chapter IV Revising the SECI Model for American Organizational Culture: Jerry Westfall, Liberty University, USA
  5. Chapter V Knowledge Transfer within Multinational Corporations: An Intercultural Challenge: Parissa Haghirian, Sophia University, Japan
  6. Chapter VI Valuing a Multiplicity of Views: How to Tap Informal Networks to See the (W)hole: Patrice Dunckley, Mindful Connections, USA; Suzanne Roff-Wexler, Compass Point Consulting, USA
  7. Chapter VII Organizational Knowledge Sharing Networks: Haris Papoutsakis, Technological Education Institute (TEI) of Crete, Greece
  8. Chapter VIII Lessons Learned as Organizational Project Memories: Raul M. Abril, Universitat Pompeu i Fabra, Spain; Ralf Müller, Umeå University, Sweden and Norwegian School of Management BI, Norway
  9. Chapter IX Will You Recall What You Knew?: Jerry Westfall, Liberty University, USA
  10. Chapter X Added Value of Ontologies for Modeling an Organizational Memory: Maria de los Angeles Martin, National University of La Pampa, Argentina; Luis Olsina, National University of La Pampa, Argentina
  11. Chapter XI The Collective Process and Memory of Strategic Management: Juha Kettunen, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Finland
  12. Chapter XII Organizational Memory Challenges Faced by Non-Profit Organizations: Kimiz Dalkir, McGill University, Canada
  13. Chapter XIII Creating and Sustaining Meta-Organizational Memory: A Case Study: Susan G. McIntyre, Defence R&D Canada
  14. Chapter XIV Associative Patterning: The Unconscious Life of an Organization: David Bennet, Mountain Quest Institute, USA; Alex Bennet, Mountain Quest Institute, USA
  15. Chapter XV A Manifesto for the Preservation of Organizational Memory Associated with the Emergence of Knowledge Management Educational Programs: Michael JD Sutton, Westminster College, USA
  16. Chapter XVI: An Organizational Memory Tool for E-Learning: Marie-Hélène Abel, University of Compiègne, France
  17. Chapter XVII Understanding Organizational Memory: Sajjad M. Jasimuddin, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh & University of Southampton, UK; N.A.D. Connell, University of Southampton, UK; Jonathan H. Klein, University of Southampton, UK
  18. Chapter XVIII Managing Knowledge in Organizational Memory Using Topic Maps: Les Miller, Iowa State University, USA; Sree Nilakanta, Iowa State University, USA; Yunan Song, Iowa State University, USA; Lei Zhu, Iowa State University, USA; Ming Hua, Iowa State University, USA

Written by

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

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