This is the 66th article in the Profiles in Knowledge series featuring thought leaders in knowledge management. Ron Young is the founder of Knowledge Associates, an international knowledge and innovation management consulting and solutions company based at St Johns Innovation Centre, Cambridge, UK. He has been active in the development of standards for knowledge management, including ISO 30401:2018. Ron presented about his standards activities on the SIKM Leaders Community call on January 19, 2021.


Ron is acknowledged as a leading international expert and thought leader in strategic knowledge asset management and innovation. He specializes in knowledge driven results for organizations. He advised and assisted the UK DTI Innovation Unit in 1999 in the production of the UK Government White Paper Our Competitive Future: building the knowledge driven economy.

Ron regularly provides presentations and workshops at leading knowledge management and innovation conferences around the world. He has chaired and participated for several years in the British Standards Institution (BSI) Knowledge Management, Innovation Management and Asset Standards Committees, European CEN Knowledge Management Standards, and International Standards Organization (ISO) KM Standards development workgroups.

Ron is a visiting lecturer for international business administration and global knowledge economy programs. He runs regular Knowledge Asset Management master classes at King’s College Cambridge University, UK.




Top 10 most highly recommended books on knowledge management

  1. The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-First Century Organization by Thomas A. Stewart
  2. Learning to Fly: Practical Knowledge Management from Leading and Learning Organizations by Chris Collison and Geoff Parcell
  3. Working Knowledge by Thomas H. Davenport and Laurence Prusak
  4. The Knowledge-Creating Company: How Japanese Companies Create the Dynamics of Innovation by Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi
  5. Knowledge Asset Management by Gregoris N. Mentzas, Dimitris Apostolou, Andreas Abecker, and Ron Young
  6. Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organizations by Thomas A. Stewart
  7. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity by Etienne Wenger
  8. Harvard Business Review on Knowledge Management by Peter Ferdinand Drucker, David Garvin, Dorothy Leonard, Susan Straus, and John Seely Brown
  9. Knowledge Management: Concepts and Best Practices edited by Kai Mertins, Peter Heisig, and Jens Vorbeck
  10. If Only We Knew What We Know: The Transfer of Internal Knowledge and Best Practice by Carla O’Dell and C. Jackson Grayson

KM Roles and Responsibilities

  • Chief Knowledge Officer
  1. Able to place KM within a theoretical and historical context
  2. Able to critically appraise KM solutions
  3. Able to manage organisational knowledge effectively, as a strategic asset, to further the organisation’s objectives
  4. Able to manage organisational knowledge effectively
  • Knowledge Base Owner
  1. Responsible for conducting the best Knowledge process
  2. Reviews new knowledge nominations (expert)
  • Knowledge Manager
  1. Aware of the central importance and strategic benefits of KM
  2. Understands the underlying principles, processes, enabling tools and technologies
  3. Aware of the critical success factors, organisational and individual
  4. Able to better manage knowledge effectively at an organisational and team level
  5. Responsible for harvesting knowledge, ideas generated
  6. Responsible for submitting to the Knowledge Base Owner
  7. Able to identify and critically assess the value of knowledge in the organization
  8. Aware of how the new communications, collaboration and information technologies effectively support the KM processes, within and between organisations
  • Knowledge Worker
  1. Able to better manage knowledge effectively at an individual and team level
  2. Able to manage information, time, tasks/processes and goals
  3. Able to better access, filter, analyse, synthesise, accumulate, store, communicate and apply knowledge · Able to better collaborate in a dynamic, virtual team environment
  4. Able to use communication, collaboration and information management technologies effectively to navigate the information and knowledge environment
  • KM Consultant
  1. Able to conduct change readiness and knowledge sharing risk assessments
  2. Able to audit existing KM processes and intellectual capital
  3. Able to develop KM objectives and strategy to support inter-organisational and international organisation KM processes
  4. Able to educate and coach management and facilitate the change to a knowledge based organization
  5. Able to understand the creativity and innovation process in terms of team collaboration and organisational KM

Knowledge Management — Back to Basic Principles

Drucker provided much original insight, inspiration and common sense in the founding age of Management science, and also to the start of Knowledge Management. He said, “The most important, and indeed truly unique contribution of management in the 20th century was the fifty-fold increase in the productivity of the manual worker in manufacturing”. This is indeed a great achievement and a great accolade for the development of Management science.

Drucker went on to say that “The most important contribution management needs to make in the 21st century is similarly to increase the productivity of knowledge work and the knowledge worker”. Herein lies our first challenge. How can we dramatically increase the productivity of knowledge work? I propose that the answer is to implement effective knowledge management at all levels, for individuals, teams, organizations and communities, locally, nationally, regionally, and across the globe.

The future of knowledge management

Quite simply, the emerging innovative knowledge processes and tools are as new and as different as the invention of writing and the printed word was for information and knowledge transfer for the individual!

Extraordinary knowledge management is also concerned with putting the power and timeless principles of storytelling, for example, into new virtual collaborative processes. This then combines the richness of figurative language with multimedia to create even better corporate newsrooms, corporate tv channels, web centric participatory publishing and so on.

We know that the knowledge driven organization, to succeed in the global knowledge economy, will be based on principles of high trust, open two-way communications, rapid and continual learning, natural knowledge sharing and effective knowledge application. This brings the next stage of our organizational evolution and development into the spotlight.

If you are considering improving the knowledge management in your organization, whatever stage you are at, and if you wish to use consultants to advise and assist you, I strongly recommend that you ask them to demonstrate how they are, themselves, personally practicing knowledge management on a daily basis.

Knowledge and Wisdom are my Passion and Work

Throughout my life, I have always been extremely passionate about knowledge and wisdom

At one end of the spectrum, I am extremely passionate about knowledge management (KM) for individuals, teams, organizations and global communities and networks. It became my profession, as a knowledge management consultant, since 1995. I founded this website in 2005, knowledge-management-online which provides many free resources to students, practitioners and KM consultants.

At the other extreme, I am passionate about what you might call ‘higher knowledge’, philosophy, especially moral and spiritual philosophy and/or higher ethics. I am passionate about both, the ancient wisdom, especially eastern philosophy, and modern scientific knowledge, whether it be about quantum theory, neuroscience, nanotechnology or even molecular biology.

I am interested in all the major world religions and their same universal teachings of Love, Compassion and Wisdom. I have a special interest in the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism and the Hindu Vedas and Upanishads (Books of Knowledge).I am interested in the study of consciousness, and have practiced yoga and meditation for 30 years.

I am also a Director of Intellectual Property for a Film, TV and Video Production Company and I am passionate about great storytelling, using the best entertainment and information technologies. I love educating through comedy.

Putting it all together, at least my work with knowledge management, my study of the ancient knowledge and wisdom, and my contemplation and meditation over the past 30 years, has led me to know that, at a deeper level, we are all interconnected as one.

Articles by Others

  1. Knowledge: ‘Acquaintance with the Facts, truth, or principle, as from study or investigation’. The Term knowledge is also mean that ‘confident understanding of subjects’. Another definition ‘The sum of what is known: the body of truth, information, and principles acquired by mankind’
  2. ‘Knowledge management will deliver outstanding collaboration and partnership working. It will ensure the region maximizes the value of its information and Knowledge assets amd it will help its citizens to use their creativity and skills better, leading to improved effective and greater innovations’.


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Stan Garfield

Stan Garfield


Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager