March 12, 2009

How much would you pay for all the knoweledge in the world?

I did my MBA in finance. I did not particularly love it, but it was useful. But there was one specific module called asset valuation that I liked. I was particularly impressed with a book called "Value at Risk"by an Indian-American scholar called Damodaran. He is a major expert on the subject (Actually pretty much all his writings are available for free in his web page http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/ ) . It was fascinating the way he worked solutions to try to put a value on everything (on a economical sense, of course). For example, how to measure the value of an organisation that never profited? Or of something that is still a plan? He discuss it. 

Of course that is interesting only for people that enjoy financial matters (And important to say not all economists understand or like finance. Several economists are dedicated to historical questions, or development, or marketing related issues, etc etc). But that idea of trying to find a way (creative, often) to measure things often comes to my mind.

All techniques we study recommend (and that is quite logical) that measures should be established to measure the evolution of the initiatives. Fantastic. How to measure knowledge? Of course there are processes and suggestions in several papers. You could measure number of improvements taken from knowledge present on a database, or number of ideas collected from employees, etc etc. BUt is that a good measure?

One could also think about how much money was taken out of an database, or how many bytes on a database..all numerical measures. But are that a good wat to measure?

Of course the best way would depend on the circumstance, on what you are using Knowledge Management for (and a very important feature is that you have to know EXACTLY what you are using it for, exactly what you are expecting to gain from it.


But is something hard to measure...

 



- 2 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Paul Roberts

    Another philosophical question Francisco. Can everything be measured? Taking Deming’s example of training – for a skill. The cost of training will show in the company’s financial results, the benefit you’ll never know – you cannot measure it.

    My interpretation of what he meant is that sure you can measure some things that have occurred as a result of training but some of the benefits you will never directly associate with the training that has been delivered.

    I would have thought that there are parallels with this example in the use of KM in an organization and the effect is likely to be more extensive and longer lasting than the delivery of a training course.

    12 Mar 2009, 10:48

  2. The most important things in life can not be measured. But what I`m really thinking is how well could one measure the importance of a KM program in a way that would allow it to be sustained based on measurable facts and not only on the belief of managers…

    12 Mar 2009, 21:27


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