KM Singapore 2009 kicks off, KM Excellence Awards announced

Knowledge Management: KM Singapore 2009 kicks off, KM Excellence Awards announced


by Madanmohan Rao

KM Consultant and Editor

Singapore; August 13, 09



The KM Singapore 2009 conference kicked off today with the theme “Knowledge Workforce, Knowledge Economy” ( The conference this year featured 12 case studies, and drew 220 participants from 60 organisations and 20 countries (up from 160 participants and 50 organisations last year).


The KM Excellence Awards for 2009 were also announced (see 2008 award winners at for culture and process, and technology infrastructure. The levels of awards for the initiatives were bronze (launch), silver (some success), gold (success across the oranisation), and platinum (culture and process + technology infrastructure). All contestant offices were visited by the Singapore members of the jury committee.


Singapore organisations are still at the silver level. The winners have been doing KM for five to ten years, thanks to continuity of management support. All submissions were from the public sector: disappointingly there were no submissions from the private sector or government-linked companies, observed Patrick Lambe, founding partner of Straits Knowledge.


2009 Awards went to the Ministry of Finance (bronze award for technology infrastructure), National Library Board (bronze award for culture and process), Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (silver award for culture and process), and Jurong Town Corporation (silver award for technology infrastructure, bronze award for culture and process).


KM is firmly entrenched in many organisations today, and is being enabled by a range of new media supported by broadband mobile infrastructure, according to Ronnie Tay, CEO, InfoComm Development Authority of Singapore. (Singapore has unveiled a new initiative for mobile content:


Etienne Wenger, jokingly referred to as “the grandfather of CoPs,” and co-author of the recent book “Digital Habitats: Stewarding Technology for Communities,” urged knowledge workers to think of learning as mutual meaningfulness and “learning as activism.”


The act of knowing is a practice and contributes to one’s identity. Within organisations, “transversal leadership” is needed for emergent governance in a KM practice. Wenger also cautioned against blind belief in CoPs; they too have their limitations.


Steve Ellis, author of “Knowledge Based Working: Intelligent Operating for the Knowledge Age,” said the current economic downturn has adversely affected KM in some organisations via loss of investments in future initiatives, retrenchment into older models, and intensified search for value and performance in the near term.


Organisations need engaged knowledge workers if they are to survive. KM should not be owned by HR (“fluffy bunnies”) or IT function (“techno-fetishists” – brain pain guaranteed!) or fully by outside consultants! It should be where the knowledge-evangelists live.


The four Cs of KM according to Ellis are culture, commitment, convergence and avoidance or clearing of confusion. (FYI: My framework has eight Cs! :-)


The book “Knowledge Management: Singapore Perspectives 2009″ was also released; it has chapters dealing with failures in sustaining KM practices, organisational learning, Web 2.0 in education, and intellectual capital.


Book editor Siew Ning Kan, technology director at the Singapore Police Force, said KM does not work well in some organisations where people fear the boss or people suck up to the boss, or if backstabbing is prevalent. KM has to do with people and people are complicated, so KM will be complicated.


On a more humorous level, he explained some of the cultural complexities of KM by explaining to husbands what their wives really mean while communicating at home:

We need = I want

I am sorry = You will be sorry

Sure, go ahead = You better not

Do what you want = You’ll pay for this later





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