Entovation International - Delivering Knowledge Innovation Strategies for the Millennium
The Knowledge Management Dialogue

Notes on sessions at the Knowledge Management Dialogue
Austin, 10-11 March, 1997
You will shortly find synthesised dialogue notes of the session
at the site of our co-sponsor, LearnerFirst.

The Knowledge KaleidoscopeSM: Focus on Practice

Presenter: Debra M. Amidon
Founder, ENTOVATION International

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 by Debra M. 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.



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Last updated: 13 Aug 1999