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Steven Flinn shows how to quantify KM at KMWorld Connect 2020

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At KMWorld Connect 2020, Steven Flinn, CEO, ManyWorlds, and author of "Optimizing Data-to-Learning-to-Action," presented a session on how KM can help to not only improve efficiency and productivity but also enhance decision making.

KMWorld Connect, November 16-19, and its co-located events, covers future-focused strategies, technologies, and tools to help organizations transform for positive outcomes.  

Today’s organizations are challenged with sustainability, disruption from many forces, changing technology and human perspectives, dealing with analytics for the overwhelming amount of data, navigating complexity in a world of multiple possibilities, and much more. 

According to Flinn, it is understood that knowledge flows within an organization, particularly actionable knowledge, has value, but how can you quantify the full value that it delivers and do so in a way that results in KM receiving the sustainable support that it deserves?

The baseline for KM value is typically productivity bene?ts but that is almost always only part of the value story. The other part of the story, often the much larger part, is KM's ability to improve decision effectiveness.

What determines decision effectiveness? According to Flinn, it is the effectiveness of the corresponding Data-to-Learning–to-Action (DLA) process (Data>Learn>Decide>Act). Knowledge can have fuzzy boundaries but putting it in the context of the DLA process can promote clarity, Flinn said. Learning, whether in people's minds or machines, is the process of better predicting. Learning what causes a decision to change is actionable learning (resulting in actionable knowledge), which has tangible value that can be quantified.

According to Flinn, DLA uniquely enables value-driven conversations among KM, peer organizations, and stakeholders. This positions KM to deliver even more value by leading the identification of value bottlenecks and directing the organizational focus to resolve them.

Knowledge management is fundamentally about identifying and resolving constraints on actionable learning, and resolving the constraints on quantifiable value from data acquisition to data filtering to information management, to search and discovery, to predictive analytics, to process and collaboration, to deciding and acting. The reason that there is so often suboptimal ROI is the failure to identify and resolve the limiting constraint, said Flinn, who likened it to a garden hose kink. If you don't resolve the kink in the garden hose, it won't work properly no matter what else you do like buying an expensive nozzle.

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