Making Knowledge Management Work: Companies Everywhere Are Striving to Turn the Theory of "Knowledge Management" into Workable Practice. Here a Senior Executive of Global Industrial Group GKN Describes the Positive Results of the Group's Eighteen-Month-Old Innovation and Learning Programme

By Beresford, Marcus | European Business Forum, Autumn 2000 | Go to article overview

Making Knowledge Management Work: Companies Everywhere Are Striving to Turn the Theory of "Knowledge Management" into Workable Practice. Here a Senior Executive of Global Industrial Group GKN Describes the Positive Results of the Group's Eighteen-Month-Old Innovation and Learning Programme


Beresford, Marcus, European Business Forum


'As an employee of GKN you have the power and resources of a huge global company at your fingertips. Why not use it, and make your mark on our future?'

With those words in April 1999 GKN launched an ambitious knowledge sharing programme intended to harness the imagination of the company's 50,000 worldwide employees.

The theory was that those who work for our subsidiaries, spread between the automotive, industrial service and aerospace sectors and across 40 different countries, share between them a wealth of experience which had not been tapped to the full. Taking advantage of it would help maintain and encourage the culture of vigorous innovation which is vital for success in the 21st century.

While the company already had a programme to move decisively towards a growth strategy, our main concern as a senior management team was to ensure that culture of GKN would readily embrace the virtues of speed, innovation, empowerment, and the ability to manage risk. The creation of what we called our Innovation and Learning programme was one way of releasing the entrepreneurial spirit company wide.

The results so far

Promoted through GKN's worldwide intranet, the Innovation and Learning initiative has so far resulted in more than 500 ideas.

Inevitably, a significant proportion--10 per cent--of the submitted ideas are internet-related and a new business unit, GKN e-Business, has been specifically created as a consequence. It is run by the young executive who led the first stage of our innovation programme. The role of GKN e-Business will be to deliver maximum value from e-business opportunities by moving them quickly from the initial concept to becoming independent activities in their own right.

Innovation and Learning is not about seeking synergies nor, except at the very simplest level, is it about improving existing products and processes. It's about growth.

Informal advice came initially from 3M and Unilever, where managers generously shared their own experiences with us. This helped us realise that we needed to promote company-wide understanding of our technologies and that mapping them would help identify a number of common trends.

Clearly, the 200 or 300 most senior people in the organisation with access to networks and encouragement from colleagues were ideally placed to see their ideas through from theory to development, but what of everyone else? If you are not in that group, how do you get a good idea off the ground?

The answer came with the group-wide launch of the programme, using a network of divisional co-ordinators, backed by the latest communications technology, including CD-rom, intranet, and video conferences and traditional printed materials. We ran the launch like a new product marketing programme. The heart of a handsome pack handed to each employee by his or her divisional co-ordinator was a New Business Proposal form.

Available in five languages and entitled simply 'Your Idea', the form comes in three parts. The first simply invites the employee to 'describe the idea in your own words'--without prompts, hints, or potentially restrictive guidelines.

The second section poses a series of questions. Who would be the customers for your new product or service? How much would it meet their needs? How does your product or service differ from what is currently available?

Finally, the employee is asked to complete an 'attractiveness scorecard' assessing 'strategic fit'--a series of criteria to assess whether it is an idea for GKN or not--and 'attractiveness'--a further five-point scale to assess how much the project would cost, earn, and pay back, and over what period.

Some 200 part-time facilitators 'direct market' the programme, supported by a wider network of enthusiastic 'disciples'.

Once the two-page self-assessment, which is available in hard copy or on the GKN intranet, is submitted, the timetable for appraisal is set into motion. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Making Knowledge Management Work: Companies Everywhere Are Striving to Turn the Theory of "Knowledge Management" into Workable Practice. Here a Senior Executive of Global Industrial Group GKN Describes the Positive Results of the Group's Eighteen-Month-Old Innovation and Learning Programme
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.