K&IM Matters: arise the chartered knowledge manager
13 June 2018
Posted by: Gus MacDonald
LAST year I was asked to become a Knowledge & Information Management Ambassador to help promote CILIP in the wider world. Why? Perhaps because I’d recently co-authored a book with Patricia L. Eng who had driven a KM programme for the regulator of the US Nuclear industry. Navigating the Minefield: a practical KM companion was published by the American Society for Quality (ASQ) in May 2017.
In this article, I want to draw on one of the chapters to discuss a topic which, along with the imminent introduction of ISO’s (International Organization for Standardization) KM Standards, is at the top of Knowledge & Information Managers “must have” list: a globally accepted accreditation for Knowledge Managers. Here’s how Chapter 7 begins:
What surprised us
“If there’s one thing we’ve learned conducting the research and reflecting on our combined experience is that while there are often generic similarities few KM programs are the same in either conception, or inception. Why? To come back to an earlier theme, ‘it is all about the people’ and each organisation has its own culture and ways of working.”
It wasn’t a surprise to discover that organisations with the most vibrant programs were those for whom knowledge is their core product or where the loss of critical knowledge can have catastrophic repercussions.
As we looked at the 18 KM programmes, we saw some things that we didn’t expect to find in our research. Here’s an extract from one of the 10 “surprises”:
Surprise #8: Few KM’ers have formal KM qualifications
“Perhaps this (that few KM’ers have formal KM qualifications) is not surprising since the majority of the people we spoke to have been doing KM for over a decade and started at a time when there were few, if any, accredited KM programs.
In the UK, Knowledge & Information Management is seen as one of the professions of Government, with a learning curriculum in the process of establishment.
Some universities and business schools in the UK and the US have Knowledge and Information graduate and postgraduate courses. There are also KM Communities around the world attached to business schools and universities where KM practitioners gather to share experiences and work on research of mutual interest.
There are a few organisations who offer a KM Certificate, but in most cases, the people who teach these courses focus on cognitive theory, business practices and examine case studies.
There is no recognised industry body that has established a universally agreed KM qualification or certification criteria.”
Arise the Chartered Knowledge Manager
Is there a need? I’d argue most definitely. Having run master classes in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East in the past decade, I know how many of the attendees require certificates of attendance and completion. Such certificates might be prized but they carry limited weight with HR or an organisation’s senior executive cadre.
The imminent arrival of the ISO KM Standards (albeit that adherence is voluntary) provides a framework against which KM Programs can be viewed. An independently assessed external accreditation is another key component of the KM practitioner’s path to corporate legitimacy.
At the recent KM Summit in London, a group of about 50 joined CILIP CEO Nick Poole to:
gain an insight into CILIP’s work on recognition and accreditation for KM professionals
have an opportunity to consider and discuss the value of accreditation for quality control in KM
be inspired to work with us to develop and improve CILIP support for KM practitioners.
That two thirds of those attending expressed an interest in getting involved confirms my belief that CILIP’s establishment of a global Chartered Knowledge Manager accreditation is to be applauded.