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KM strategy bears fruit in Russia

This article appears in the issue March 2014 (100 Companies) [Vol 23, Issue 3]
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"Every seed knows its time," goes an old Russian proverb, and the seed of KM seems to have borne fruit in Russia. I recently spoke at the annual KM Russia 2013 conference in Moscow, held in a stunning art gallery featuring the paintings of Ilya Glazunov.

Spearheading the KM Russia conference is the team of KM Alliance of Russia, led by Vadim Shiryaev and Oleg Lavrov, who have also partnered with UK-based Knowledge Associates to exchange best practices in KM strategy. In 2014, the MAKE Awards for KM excellence will be coming to Russia, and a number of business publications and books in the Russian language address KM strategy and impacts.

Case studies of KM in Russia have emerged. For example, Lukoil launched its KM initiative in 2007 and now uses KM for activities ranging from innovation to public relations. Its components include a bank of ideas, criteria for vendor assessment, asset management expertise and knowledge sharing via social media. The lessons learned categories include industrial safety. One hundred best practices were developed from 2007 to 2012, accounting for $200 million worth of business.

"Noisy marketplace"

"KM via social networks is a big part of our life now," said Elena Klimenko, senior knowledge manager at PwC Russia. With an average employee age of 29 years, a major thrust of KM is social media. She offered a useful metaphor: "KM is more like a noisy marketplace than a solemn church."

SPARK (the name of the KM initiative at PwC) is focused on people engagement, client engagement and business growth. "KM has made our large company feel small, and improved innovation," Klimenko said.

The organization used the term "wave" rather than pilot project to describe the phase-wise KM rollout. "Connect, collaborate, create—that is the essence of our KM," she said. KM has helped to improve team morale, form new teams quickly and unify scattered teams. For example, a two-week proposal was finished in one week; a research question received 23 replies from 17 countries.

KM cases

Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport, the largest in Eastern European in terms of passenger volume, leveraged KM to build a shared encyclopedia of the aviation industry, along with regulatory practices around the world. Its KM portal, which is referred to as "the airfield of knowledge activity," helps build expertise and promote brainstorming.

Russian Railways' Corporate University
(CU) was set up in 2009 by the board of directors to teach global best practices in management based on a value-oriented approach and the latest knowledge, skills and culture. It is driving co-creation and knowledge-sharing initiatives across the world's second largest railway network (after the United States).

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