Debra M. Amidon Abstracts

"The NGM Imperative: Innovation Strategy for 2020"

Presented at 'Workshop on Manufacturing: 2020' sponsored by The National Research Council and the National Science Foundation, Berkman Center, Irvine, California 1-2 April 1997.

People feel resistance to being told they must change. This phrase implies that they have not developed the right skills or do not have the necessary education, and that the pressure is now on. Individuals have a very different reaction to being told they must innovate. This phrase implies that everything they are and have been before is still valid, that their developed competencies are ready to be applied, and that the only question is where and how. The three main messages of the presentation are as follows: we are moving into the knowledge economy where knowledge and innovation management are essential; the innovation process can be managed; knowledge and innovation management within the field of manufacturing is part of the larger picture....."

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"The Knowledge KaleidoscopeSM:
Focus on Practice"

Presented at 'Knowledge Management Dialogue'. Sponsored by Milagro Systems, LearnerFirst and Entovation International in Austin, Texas 10-11 March 1997.

Organisational leaders are struggling with 5th generation change dynamics using 2nd and 3rd management technology. This is a sketch of the knowledge management movement, including identification of the various constituencies of the 'community of knowledge practice.' By using the ten dimensions of knowledge innovation strategy, participants can gauge their innovation capability and learn specific examples of leading edge practices.

"The Knowledge KaleidoscopeSM:
Focus on Practice"

Organizational leaders are struggling with 5th generation change dynamics using 2nd and 3rd management technology. This session will provide a sketch of the knowledge management movement, including identification of the various constituencies of the 'community of knowledge practice.' By using the ten dimensions of knowledge innovation strategy, participants will gauge their innovation capability and learn specific examples of leading edge practices.


"Imagine for a moment that you are peering through a kaleidoscope. As you turn the barrel, the images change shape... a little. Then, you touch it - ever so slightly, and the entire image takes new form. One things is for certain; there is no going back."

Innovation Strategy for the Knowledge Economy: The Ken Awakening (Amidon)

  • To provide a mechanism for tracking one's journey in knowledge management (e.g., key events, publications, accomplishments, etc).
  • To illuminate how the myriad of functional initiatives are coming to a common language (i.e., complementary competencies to be put to task).
  • To provide a quick Litmus Test for innovation capacity (i.e., the one competence needed for the 21st century management according to Drucker).
  • To provide a sneak preview of the research results of 33+ case studies soon to be published (Skyrme and Amidon) by Business Intelligence (UK).
  • To offer the unifying concept - 'ken' - to describe the fundamental transformation of the knowledge economy.

Unfamiliar Terms:

(1) "5th Generation:" the evolution of business management focusing upon 'knowledge' as the asset to be managed (i.e, beyond 'product,' 'project,' 'enterprise,' and 'customer').

(2) "Complementary Competencies:" The strengths of an individual, team, group or organization that can be brought to bear on a particular problem or opportunity.

(3) "Ken" a term with international derivations (English below)

v. 1. To know (a person or thing). 2. To recognize. 3. To descry (i.e., discern something difficult to catch sight of; discover through careful observation or investigation); to have an understanding of something.

n. 1. Perception; understanding. 2.a. Range of vision. b.View; sight; to make known.

(4) "Knowledge Innovation:" the capacity and capability to create new ideas and move them into the marketplace for the success of an enterprise, the vitality of a nation's economy and the advancement of society-as-a-whole.

(5) "Kaleidoscopic Change:" then dimensions of constant alteration or variation in patterns, the shift in one factor having automatic and oftentimes unpredictable effects on the others and the whole.

The Productivity Paradox:
Economics, Behavior and Technology

Debra M. Amidon, Founder, ENTOVATION International
Diana Wormuth, V. P., Strategic Information, Skandia (Sweden)
Carolyn Krusinski, President of Snow Lion Consulting
Dennis Bengston, IBM Knowledge Services Consulting


For over a decade, analysts have tried to understand why there are not commensurate financial returns for significant investments in information technology. The answer lies in the interdependence of economic, behavioral and technological factors. Major initiatives at the National Research Council, the SEC, the OECD (Paris), the World Economic Survey (The Economist) are rigorously pursuing answers which lie in understanding how to better manage the intangible, hidden assets of the firm. The session will focus from the perspective of lead practitioners; but it will be the interaction with the audience which will glean the most insight.


"The wrong solution to the right problem is better than the right solution to the wrong problem."
-Tom Johnson, Professor, Portland University


  • To provide a scope of the definition and dimensions of the Productivity Paradox.
  • To describe how some leading companies are wrestling with the problem.
  • To identify some key resources and initiatives on the topic.
  • To illuminate the micro-, meso-, and micro-economic dimensions of the paradox.

Unfamiliar Terms:

(1) "Productivity Paradox:" Billions of dollars spent annually on technology to improve the productivity of individuals and groups appear to have little impact on the productivity of organizations. Increases in individual productivity are not reflected in the measures of organizational productivity.

"The Emerging Community of Knowledge Practice"

First presented at 'Knowledge Management 96', London 3-4 December 1996. Also presented at the 'National Business Conference' sponsored by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, 22-24, January, 1997. Also presented at Knowledge Management in the Oil & Gas Industry' sponsored by FirstConferences in London 11-13 February 1997.

The momentum of knowledge management has evolved rapidly. Enterprises are searching for management techniques which reap better results than what was yielded by quality, re-engineering and restructuring efforts. What has emerged is an international community of theorists and practitioners dedicated to shift the management orientation from one of accounting of financial assets to one of measuring and monitoring the intangible assets relevant in a knowledge economy. Indeed, innovation has been redefined according to the prosperous flow of knowledge. This session traces the evolution of the movement, defines the elements of 5th Generation R&D, positions the material under the rubric of innovation strategy, illustrates some lead practitioners and outlines a prospectus for the future. Ken represents a cross-cultural term to capture this modern sense of perspective and range of vision.

"Successfully Managing and prioritizing R&D Projects"

First presented, April 24-26 1996, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri
Sponsored by the Institute for International Research (IIR).
Also presented at the IIR Conference 'Accelerating Innovation and Knowledge in R & D, New Orleans (Sept 1996)

Innovation has long been the domain of R&D professionals. Peter F. Drucker has said that there is only one competence needed for the future - innovation and the ability to measure its performance. There is also a growing appreciation for the value of intellectual assets in the management of the process and the business as-a-whole. Leadership has emerged from a variety of functions to capture the opportunities afforded a networked, global economy. This presentation gives insights into:

  • From where did this movement come?
  • Why has it developed so rapidly?
  • Who are the constituents?
  • What is the vision forward?
  • What are the implications for our respective enterprises?
  • How can the R&D competence be effectively leveraged?

In the session, the evolution of each main business function is traced to show how they are coming to a common appreciation for knowledge and innovation.

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