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KMGN Newsletter. Issue 6

                                                                    February 2023 Issue #6


Welcome to Singapore's edition to the Global KM Network newsletter. Managing knowledge in 2023 is going to be different. Being in the endemic stage of the Covid 19 virus, which saw the world experience massive changes not only to lives but to the future of work. In this edition, we would like to give you a view of Future Ready KM via the Singaporean lens. 

We begin this newsletter with an editorial by Faiz Selamat, Chair, KMGN (2023). He reinforces the need for sustainable KM with emphasis on people, process and technology, as well as the KMGN outreach in 2023. 

Our first article shares the KM Society of Singapore’s Knowledge ready Organisation award. A self assessed metric of six areas; Strategy, Leadership, Culture, Process, Technology and Impact that will help organisations grow and become more aware of the areas that they will need to improve on. In 2023, KM Singapore congratulates Cognizant, India on achieving the Knowledge Ready organisation award. 

Stories have endured thousands of years of uncertainty, we have Anjali Sharma, Managing Director of Narrative: The Business of Stories, a management consulting firm that helps businesses solve their communication challenges with stories and narrative techniques shares on how business story telling in an important part of how organisations remain sustainable. 

Singapore has long been known as a leading country of choice when it comes to doing business internationally. Having an efficient and growing economy, stringent Intellectual Property Rights and its focus on skilled resources has made it a melting pot for both, local and international companies. With its only natural resource being its people, Rajesh, president of KM Society Singapore shares on the Singapore’s government readiness plan for its workforce to be future ready with the skills future, demands of future work and how managing knowledge is the most important aspect in being future ready.  

The future of KM lies in the hands of the KM students of today. Three students (Liu dingding, Chen yongjun, Jia Yifan and Xu Jing Ying ) pursuing their Masters in KM from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, discuss the skills that the future global KM worker in the digital economy must have. They walk us through the phases of the Knowledge Worker. As Confucius said “What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.” And thats what Cong Chongyu brings into this newsletter as she takes us on a journey of looking at managing knowledge through the Zen philosophy lens, pointing out the similarities between a zen inspired life and a sustainable knowledge organisation. 

We hope that our contributions here help you peek into the future. While its no crystal ball, its the first few steps that we all should take to an awesome 2023. KM Singapore organises talks and a conference annually. In 2023, as the KMGN chair returns back to Singapore, we are excited to plan our conference with the collaboration of other KMGN partners on 16th October 23. Look out for more details at 

Rajesh S Dhillon,

KM Society Singapore / Acies Innovations

The View (Editors Letter)

The Year of the Rabbit had just begun, and we bid farewell to the Year of the Tiger.

Extract from 

“The upcoming Year of the Rabbit, however, embodies yin, the passive principle of the universe, which manifests in relaxation, fluidity, quietness and contemplation. If 2022 felt fast, hard or busy, 2023 will offer opportunities for contemplation, rest and nurturing of body and soul in an attempt to provide balance under the basic concept of yin and yang — that opposite forces complement one another to offer harmony overall.”

Whether we believe in astrology or zodiac signs or not, have you ever wondered what has been the premise of such knowledge/insight, and how has such knowledge survived over many centuries, and promulgated across different civilisations? Personally I am curious as to what might be the secret to sustaining knowledge, especially given their relatively primitive technology. 

Just as Nonaka’s model operates in a circular manner, and agile practitioners work in multiple iterations (spirals), I believe that such knowledge/insights also flow in a circular manner - just as the water cycle moves in a circle (evaporate, condense, precipitate, transpire, respire).

KMGN endeavours to facilitate such circularity amongst practitioners and academics. Beyond capturing and sharing knowledge, we hope to facilitate the flow of knowledge amongst practitioners such that it creates value to the profession, as well as the organisations and businesses that our professionals serve. 

The newsletter hopes to facilitate sustainable knowledge management as it provides a platform for KM professionals to share and glean from each other’s perspectives, and hopefully provide a  scaffold for the development of future resources.

This edition includes articles from both practice and academia, depicting the circularity between the two as it blends practical and theoretical views of knowledge management. I hope that such insights will add value to the reader, such that they provide practical value to the work that you do. 

Yours Sincerely

Faiz Selamat

Chair, KMGN (2023)

The Knowledge Ready Organisation – KM Society Singapore. Being Knowledge Ready

This article was contributed by the KM Society Singapore team

Being Knowledge Ready


The last three years have been a roller coaster for many organisations, and if there is anything that we can take away is the need for us to be ready. Ready to bounce up when contingencies occur, ready to be move into action.


While this maybe “common knowledge” as defined by Dr Nancy Dixon the knowledge that employees learn from doing organisations task, (Dixon, 2000) the importance of recording, sharing and evolving  this know how to ensure that the organisation can continue to operate given the change that occurs is paramount to survivability. The global pandemic lockdowns of 2021-2022 created new know hows and forced change to happen. This too is not new, in the generations and challenges we have faced over the past 30 years.


Being "knowledge ready" means being prepared to learn and acquire new knowledge. It can refer to being mentally and emotionally prepared to learn, as well as having the necessary resources and support in place to facilitate the learning process. It can also refer to being open to new ideas and willing to consider different perspectives. In general, being knowledge ready means being open to learning and growth, and taking an active role in seeking out and acquiring new knowledge. It means having a strategy to becoming resilient and ensuring critical knowledge is captures, shared and revised.


Today, we have numerous articles that talk about being knowledge ready, this cover technology, education, medical and defence sectors, but what does being knowledge ready mean to an organisation? How do we evaluate it?


In the Knowledge Management Society Singapore, we have defined this looking through the lens of  the unique organisations needs. What does an organisation need to be ready with in order to ensure knowledge sustainability. Promulgated in 2015 and further refined in 2017, the Knowledge Ready Organisation (KRO)  includes the expertise of local and international experts take on facets knowledge readiness.

The KRO was created by the KM Society’s (KMS) past president Dr Karuna Ramanathan in 2014 through 2015, with the aim of developing and providing a KM framework for Organisations to better assess their readiness in order to succeed in the volatile and uncertain environment that they operate in.

KMS, first worked with Dr Madanmohan Rao and later Dr Arthur Shelley, both who were engaged as consultants. Dr Arthur was engaged to assist in developing the KRO assessment matrix and as an independent assessor. The expansion of the KRO is in the hands of the current KMS team. The KRO is not associated nor used in conjunction with any other framework or measurement. It is based on an evolving metric to guide organisations in their readiness in the current climate. The KRO is a transparent read back by professional evaluators providing a personalised report on your organisation's strengths and areas that may need further focus. Unlike other KM awards, it does not focus on competing with other organisation instead recognises the unique challenges, environment and context of each organisation and provides a platform of self analysis/self discovery.

As a successful knowledge readiness organisation, one must focus on transformation, creativity and innovation in order to address the uncertainty and complex nature of business and operations. By leveraging on KM as an enabler for creativity and innovation, the KRO framework serves to enable organisations to conduct an assessment of its own knowledge framework in six key areas; Strategy, Leadership, Culture, Process, Technology and Impact. Over and above an independent assessment framework, Organisations may also be recognized for their progress in these six areas through the award of a KRO Award. This award seeks to recognise the progress that qualifying Organisations may have had success in and demonstrating its Knowledge Readiness state.

The management of knowledge has evolved, with the journey from industry 1.0 to now heading towards industry 5.0, advanced information technologies including AI, Information of Technology (IoT) and internet of everything (IOE) post covid have been injected to almost all organisations. Unlike the 1980s where managing knowledge was largely based on library sciences, todays KM is all about collaboration, accessibility and the boost of productivity and effectiveness leading to improved organisational outcomes.

Being in the shadows of terms like agile, transformation and Smart Organisations, the importance of managing knowledge has been revived and the need to be knowledge ready more evident in todays post covid period. To be knowledge ready, organisations must have a strategy to manage knowledge, have leadership, lead by example, develop a learning and sharing culture, ensure processes are in place to improve organisational development, embrace technology and measure the impact that KM brings to organisations. 

To date 25 organisations from Singapore, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia and Thailand have successfully attain the status of being knowledge ready and received the award.

Saving Half a Million Dollars via Knowledge Sharing Storytelling, After All, is Hardly Something to Shrug Off 

Anjali Sharma

“ Why don't our teams share knowledge and be more efficient !” says a disappointed leader of a large semiconductor factory.  I am in his office to discuss how storytelling can help reduce duplication of efforts amongst teams. We are in a boardroom where his leadership team and I are witnessing his frustration. 

 I turn to a department head and ask, “ What are the challenges of sharing knowledge with other team members? “ His response is telling, “ We capture everything in a report and send it out weekly. I am not sure what exactly we are doing wrong? Why is no one reading the reports? “  

As soon as the word “report” was mentioned, I  had a mental timelapse of several other projects I have been involved in where despite reporting knowledge, knowledge didn’t spread and led to duplication of efforts. 

In the meeting it  was also the right  time for me to share a NASA case study I had read in doctoral dissertation research by Katherine H Hansen author of Tell Me about Yourself: Storytelling to Get Jobs and Propel Your Career

I was confident that the team would know why no one read the reports after I told the NASA Story. 

On January 30, 2002, The United States Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a report entitled NASA: Better Mechanisms for Sharing Lessons Learned. Motivated by the costly 1999 losses of the unmanned spacecrafts Mars Polar Lander and Climate Orbiter, the report concluded that “NASA’s processes, procedures, and systems” did not “effectively capture and share lessons learned and therefore, NASA has no assurance that lessons are being applied towards future missions” . The report noted that NASA had undergone significant organizational change beginning in 1992 with a mandate to complete projects “faster, better, and cheaper” . While the GAO acknowledged that NASA had initiated systems to capture and share lessons learned, the failures of the two spacecraft in 1999 “raised concern that NASA was not learning from its past mistakes and applying lessons learned toward future mission success” . One of the GAO report’s recommendations was that NASA employ storytelling as a mechanism to ensure that lessons were learned. Exactly one year and two days after the GAO report was published, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.

The notion of using storytelling to share knowledge at NASA was not entirely new. Storytelling was a component of NASA’s Knowledge Sharing Initiative founded in 2000. Just a few weeks after the 2002 GAO report was issued, a consultant, story proponent, and author of the book The Story Factor spoke at a NASA Masters’ Forum, a semi-annual program produced for NASA and other project managers by the Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership (APPEL), a significant player in the space agency’s Knowledge Sharing Initiative. The author said, “We need stories because cognitive learning doesn’t always cut it ” author’s name is Annette Simmons.

What stuck for me is, “We need stories because cognitive learning doesn’t always cut it“ . Now, this statement was made in 2002.. Cut to 2023, our challenges have grown with overwhelming information and noise inundation but there has been minimal growth in many parts of the world when it comes to understanding the importance of Storytelling for knowledge sharing. 

Till today, it is not unusual for me to find myself in a meeting and be told, “ Just don’t use the word story or storytelling. We will lose credibility. “ 

I am surprised, baffled, confused and sometimes a little bit disappointed that Storytelling is still associated with being kiddish, not true, fluff, plots and all things negative. I mean, if NASA can, you also can use the power of the Storytelling discipline for better business outcomes.

As expected the team understood the challenge and started a year long storytelling project in the organisation with a clear short term objective of reducing duplication of efforts and eventually, eliminating it. 

During the project, I had to keep using stories to overcome the objections raised by the team and ensure that the team didn’t lose motivation to do the arduous work required to turn reporting into storytelling for better business outcomes. 

One question I was asked by a  team member was, “ What is the ROI of Storytelling?”  

I responded to it with the story of Marty Davis and how it lead to a saving of half a million dollars. 

NASA has a few knowledge sharing platforms, one of which is ASK Magazine. There are many  knowledge sharing stories you can find in the magazine but I wanted to share one that is special ?

Why is it special ? Soon after this story was published in ASK Magazine. Marty Davis ( The author ) got a call from a lady who applied all the learnings from the story and saved half a million dollars. Now, isn’t that the purpose of knowledge sharing !

Additionally, what is  insightful about this story is that the only reason the reader picked up on the story as something valuable was because – she felt just like Marty Davis ( the author ) whilst reading the story. In other words the story had high levels of resonance for the reader.

If NASA had used Marty’s experience and created a process ( the normal corporate way)  She would have never connected with the process but the story has the power to build resonance, create connection and lead to a desired action. 

Marty Davis who has been a project manager at Goddard Space Flight Center for almost 30 years. He’s been in charge of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite program (GOES) . At the time the story was written Mr Davis was close to retirement. Marty Davis is a perfect example of one of those people we hear about in government agencies with a wealth of knowledge in their head and unless someone bothers to try and capture it, this knowledge will go when he does. But not at NASA because NASA will capture his story.

Here is the Story about Tangled up in reviews told by Marty Davis

As we all know, here at NASA requirements keep coming. Not surprisingly, they seldom go away. Reviews, for instance. Over the years we have seen many additional reviews laid on us. There are at least a dozen reviews in the life of a project. While I don’t mind doing a review — if I feel like I’m getting value out of it — when these things are thrown on helter skelter and there’s never a look at combining or refining them, then each new review feels like just another requirement, another hoop to jump through, which is frustrating because you’ve got to spend time and effort preparing for it.

What I wanted was something quite simple, to combine as many of the reviews as possible.

So, these are the 3 things I did


Ensure that project reviews are for the one being reviewed and not for the reviewer. They very often come across as blame game and reviewers demonstrate authority. That is not what the review process is. The desired outcome is -a better project.

Reviews should encourage joint problem solving rather than just reporting. To do this, ensure that the review process is viewed as feedback from independent and supportive experts.

After Marty Davis’s Story got published in the Ask Magazine, a supervisor from a different centre of NASA read it and took the article to Sue Mortil who had experienced a Concept Review that had not gone well, and her entire team was in the dumps. It took months for them to stop feeling lousy about their work and themselves. Not exactly a fun place to be in for Sue, the project manager, as she headed into the next review.

After reading the article Sue met Marty and explained to him what had happened with her review. After listening to Sue, Marty said,“Well, you don’t want that. Here are the 3 areas for change”


A project manager needs to be involved in selecting the review panel which is not the usual practice. This doesn’t mean that the panel is going to be less independent, or that you’re trying to hide a problem. It means that you’re looking for particular expertise. He encouraged me to be forceful. “This can best be handled by presenting the benefits to making this change,” Marty told me


My program manager identified the person who ended up being chair of the review board. I called and spoke with him to find out if he was interested in working on the board. He had more than 25 years of experience with hardware similar to my project. He understood what it took to take a flight project from concept to design and through development


Quite often in a review process you get questions about very detailed information which leads to 2 problems. The review runs overtime and off purpose.

Marty explained that if he ever encountered that he would step in and say , “Let’s have a one-on-one about this tomorrow.”


I blocked 2 weeks and had streamlined reviews for -high level stuff which was a presentation

-detailed stuff which was organised in an informal dialogue way

It was amazing how well it went

Upon reflection in Sue’s words, the difference between the two reviews she had experienced was

“I estimate that the first review which had not gone well cost the project $700,000. The second review was about $200,000. Reviews are expensive and time consuming — but they should also be beneficial. If you can refine the process and tailor it to best serve your system, your project will reap benefits.

Saving half a million dollars via knowledge sharing storytelling,  after all, is hardly something to shrug off”


We go to a review process like we are giving an exam. Reviews are a joint responsibility of the panel and project team. Most of the follow up for further action from reviews builds because of the miscommunication between the reviewers and project team.


One on One communication can solve that. If you take the formality away a lot can be achieved. Addressing inappropriate follow up questions is a waste of my time, the engineer’s time, and the reviewer’s time. The review board did write Request For Actions, but many others were not written because of the one-on-one sessions with the technical people on the project. With every comment that the review panel made, they gave us valuable suggestions. The whole board, by the way, recommended that we go forward with the design

I purposely shared a very detailed version of this story with the team members as they come from technology and analytics background who would need more than concepts and examples. 

After a few  months we were able to change the reports into storytelling which meant knowledge naturally travelled and duplication of efforts reduced. But most importantly,  the team didn’t sit in a meeting wondering, “ Why is no one reading reports?” 

Anjali has helped companies to increase Staff Engagement and Performance, increase Client Satisfaction and Sales, define Company Values and effectively Position Brands by embedding Story Skills into their organisations. Her work with Business Organisations has involved Narrative’s own programmes in Corporate Consulting to identify and solve corporate difficulties and promote strengths: Teaching and incorporating Story Skills to present brands and products successfully and to engage clients, using Story Skills in the Narrative Medicine programme, speaking on Business Storytelling at keynotes in conferences and teaching business leaders to more effectively engage and inspire clients and employees. Anjali has worked with a wide variety of private and government organisations such as SAP, BASF, Roche, Shell, Danone, Cisco, Economic Development Board and Central Provident Fund.

Anjali has worked in corporate roles for over 15 years and has an extensive background in Sales, Marketing, Business Development, Branding, Events and Client Relations, having worked in management roles with the Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and Brand Experience Agencies such as Jack Morton Worldwide and George P. Johnson, in India, Singapore and Australia. Anjali has also had an opportunity to work with the world’s best airline – Singapore Airlines.

You can contact Anjali at

Being Future Ready – The Demands of The Future of Work

 Rajesh Singh Dhillon 

On the 16th of January 2023, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Minister for Finance of Singapore, Mr Lawrence Wong, delivered a speech at the institute of policy studies Singapore on his Perspectives for 2023. 

Extracted from his speech, there are many concerns and strategies that are KM centric. “Work is a very timely theme for this year’s Singapore Perspectives. Because work is not just a source of income. It’s also about dignity and purpose in life. And it’s crucial to our social compact. It’s central to our system of meritocracy, where we want every citizen to progress and excel, regardless of their start point in life.

That’s why promoting work has been such a key part of the Government’s economic and social policies. A healthy labour market has long been the foundation for inclusive growth and shared prosperity in Singapore. But as our external environment and as the nature of work itself evolves, so will our challenges.” 

The future of work has changed , having gone through the pandemic period, we have observed the benefits of remote working, the interconnectivity of a global workforce and the refinement of organisation strategies. DPM Wong elaborated on three challenges, one being the future of work, where technological advancements are disrupting industries everywhere. While it will not render humans to a state of joblessness, it does require an element of change, embracing AI and robotics as part of the advance economy. Looking back, many jobs of just the past 30 years are almost non existent. We have grown and adapted, while we need to embark on the lifelong learning journey to seize the opportunities, and enjoy tremendous rewards. those who are unable to adjust and adapt will certainly face more challenges.

Another challenge that was highlighted in his speech was the challenge around the reward of work – how can we make rewards fairer and more equitable. within the KM community, we are aware of the need of recognitions and rewards to motivate KM involvement. 

DPM Wong, further explained that the challenges outlined can adversely impact social compact – when workers find themselves left behind, or they feel that the system is unfair, resentment sets in, and social cohesion starts to fray. 

He defined three strategies that would help mitigate these challenges .one of this being need to redouble our investments in skills and human capital. Where Singapore has drawn out the skills future plan in 2015 to strengthen adult skills training and improve pathways to better jobs, he stressed that this must form a core pillar of our refreshed social compact. Where workers must be able to access skills training to update themselves and stay relevant. It has been refined several times, the last revision being in 2022, and he mentioned that this will again be studied to ensure the Singapore workforce remain ahead of things. 

In a  2019 study involving approximately 80 organisations across 28 sectors, it was revealed that more enterprises are beginning to recognise that soft skills support their employees’ performance and business competitiveness. These skills were termed critical core skills (CCS) for the future of work (See Below) 

As we look into the 5 critical core skills for the future of work in cluster 1: These are cognitive skills needed to think broadly and creatively, in order to see connections and opportunities in the midst of change. Cognitive skills can be termed as the root of technical skill development and progression. Efficient knowledge management supports all these skills, the ability to be creative, effective decision making and problem solving, sensemaking of Data and information and transdisciplinary thinking. 

In Cluster 2, being effective at interacting with others means thinking about the needs of others, as well as being able to exchange ideas and build a shared understanding of a problem or situation. Where in todays global workforce, individuals need to be able to combine their technical skills with others to succeed, what we term as collaboration and co creation and well as the mindfulness of Diversity, Equality and Inclusivity of the team. Of the six skills listed ;building inclusivity, collaboration, communication, customer orientation, people development and influences there are linkages to KM strategies to ensure knowledge sharing and transfer as well as co-creation is optimal. 

Cluster 3, looks at managing oneself effectively, and paying close attention to trends impacting work lives, helps create strategies, direction, and motivation for technical skill development. Skillsets like adaptability, digital fluency, having a global perspective, learning agility and effective self-management are also KM skill sets 

holistically, the 16 skillsets identified as critical of the future of work, includes the all the elements of an effective knowledge manager. This is evident where in Singapore the emphasis of knowledge management as a skill had somewhat become absorbed into being secondary or tertiary tasks in job roles experienced a rekindling of the focus and now lies within the top ten priority skills for the digital economy. (see below) 

To conclude, the future of work has been a cyclic evolution that needs the effective management of knowledge, sharing and transferring of knowledge will ensure continuous improvements and that the workforce grows and contributes to a sustainable knowledge economy being future ready. 


1. Speech by Mr Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance at IPS Singapore Perspectives 2023 on 16 January 2023.   

2. The Skills Demand for the Future Economy (SDFE) Report 2022 

Beginning his career as a civil servant, Rajesh served 21 years in the navy and retired as a Naval commander, holding positions in command, project officer for the hovercraft program and as a contingency planning officer for humanitarian missions. He has served in several missions and led two in his tenure as command. In the private sector, he has held positions such as Head of Strategy and Regional Head of Advisors Alliance Group, singapore,  and as the principal consultant for iLeadSG. 

you can contact Rajesh at

The Future Global KM Worker in The Digital Economy  

Liu Dingning, Chen Yongjun, Jia Yifan and Xu Jing Ying 

Embarking in a professional graduate study, the four of us were asked in class what is our view on the future of KM Work , this led us to exploring this thru the eyes of the digital era  pandemic generation graduate students.

The term “knowledge worker” was first coined by Peter Drucker in his book The Landmarks of Tomorrow (1959). Drucker defined knowledge workers as high-level workers who apply theoretical and analytical knowledge acquired through formal training to the development of products and services. He noted that knowledge workers would be the most valuable assets of a 21st-century organization because of their high level of productivity and creativity.

They include professionals in several different fields, such as programmers, engineers, architects, lawyers, physicians, scientists, financial analysts, design thinkers, ect.

A KM worker is not only one engaged in knowledge work, but also a life-long learner who is armed  with  several years of formal education and training to master the information needed to perform certain specialized roles. Most of them are the specialists in their professional field. They engage in frequent exchanges, decision-making conversations, goal setting journeys, and brainstorming sessions between the co workers and clients, and other stakeholders. They focus on essential information that will help them solve problems, answer questions, and generate ideas. KM workers utilize critical thinking skills to use analytical reasoning and relevant judgment to make decisions and practice enterprise agility. 

Don Tapscott first coined the term digital economy in his 1995 best-selling book The Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence. A Digital Economy that takes advantage of the latest technology to digitalize processes and drive business growth.

In 2010, Singapore’s R&D strategy was expanded to span Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE). The RIE2015 and RIE2020 plans included translation, commercialisation and innovation strategies to tap on the growing pipeline of promising research outputs and support enterprises. Given the rapidly evolving global and technology landscape, RIE plans have also evolved to include White Space funding for unanticipated needs and opportunities. This has enabled Singapore to respond nimbly to new priorities, and to seed capabilities. RIE remains a cornerstone of Singapore’s development into a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy and society. It is a key enabler in creating new avenues of growth and raising Singapore’s economic competitiveness. It also generates scientific breakthroughs that meet our societal needs and improve the lives of Singaporeans.  In RIE2025, the Smart Nation and Digital Economy (SNDE) domain continues to support the development of strategic and emerging technologies and enhance the translation of digital capabilities to industry. The aim is to achieve Singapore’s Smart Nation ambitions, and leverage growth opportunities in the digital economy.

Singapore is in a constant state of transition and at every stage knowledge is considered the most important force driving the world economy. Knowledge management, the emerging discipline that studies the construction, transfer and innovation of knowledge, has been developing for more than 30 years.

As KM workers, we have been through the journey of change. We have adapted and we have grown in the process, looking back KM workers' Development Process leading to todays Digital Economy. It falls into the following 3 main stages:

KM worker 1.0

Knowledge Sharing Period(Within the organisation)

When the internal knowledge of organisations was one of their most important resources.[1]

To facilitate the management of knowledge resources within the organisation, for example how to make tacit knowledge more visible. Therefore, this required knowledge managers to have a deep understanding of the nature of knowledge within the organisation.

KM worker 2.0

Knowledge Transfer Period (Across organisations)

As companies expanded into global markets, resulting in the emergence of many multinational companies that set up production and manufacturing sites in overseas countries to satisfy local market requirements, and creating many international R&D centres.[2]

The KM worker focused not only on knowledge within the organisation but also on the use of Internet technology to improve the efficiency of global knowledge transfer and collaboration, to facilitate knowledge collaboration between the parent company and its subsidiaries, the company and its partners, so as to achieve the goal of knowledge transfer across the organisation.[3]

KM worker 3.0

Knowledge Creation Period

With the development of 5G technology, BD (Big Data) and AI (Artificial Intelligence), and the transformation of the global economy, the digital economy has become the direction of economic development. The internet of things has been established and is now making way to connect people, process, data and simply everything in the transit into the internet of everything.

In this new era, companies experience not only new opportunities but also face new challenges. Only by constantly acquiring new knowledge to create value can they be able to outperform their competitors in the same industry.

This led companies to adopt an open innovation model, and their strategy change from "How to facilitate knowledge transfer from two established partners" to "How to find high-potential and valuable partners from the many SMEs" and "How to establish an agile and dynamic knowledge sharing model with many temporary partners".[4]

KM strategy has been elevated at this stage  as the need for KM in companies has shifted from "Sharing existing knowledge resources" to "Predicting complex knowledge innovation".[5] KM workers are therefore required to obtain and utilise knowledge from massive amounts of unstructured data[6] , to promote knowledge sharing between companies and data-driven knowledge innovation in the context of the digital economy.

Essential competencies for Future KM workers in the Digital Economy

Market Acumen & Forward Thinking

In the digital economy, the form and speed of knowledge is very different from the past: products and services are updated in increasingly rapid cycles as consumer needs change constantly and competitors emerge rapidly.[4]

Future KM workers are therefore required to accurately predict the knowledge creation process combined with big data-based analysis and to build agile KM models so that they can react to the market and develop and implement new KM strategies as quickly as possible.

Ability to Analyse Data & Think Critically

Social networks, mobile communication and other smart tools are representative products of the digital economy, and the development of the Internet has led to the rapid growth of various open knowledge platforms.[4] Large amounts and multiple types of data are being generated at every moment, but the Internet information explosion causes a scarcity of valid information.

Future KM workers are therefore required to have critical thinking to extract valid information, as well as to have the ability of data analysis to explore and process the hidden knowledge in huge amounts of data in real time.

As the digital landscape evolves at rapid speeds not only in Singapore but globally and accelerated by the recent pandemic, digitalization is not a choice but a requirement to ensure efficient, effective and agile knowledge management for business survivability. This has been coined as the term Knowledge sustainability and as we embark into our journey as fresh graduate knowledge workers, we are the leaders who have the responsibility to ensure not only do we have the environment but also the knowledge realm leading to knowledge worker 4.0 and more.

All four writers are full-time postgraduate student in Knowledge Management at Nanyang Technological University  

Liu Dingning, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Economics, and has worked in commercial banks and also served onboard Singapore Airlines with 4 years of cabin service experience. Currently, she and her team's academic research focuses on how to use knowledge management to provide high quality knowledge service on mobile based learning platforms.  

Chen Yongjun specializes in the fields of auditing and management and is a global distinction student of ACCA. She has published two essays in Chinese Provincial and Core Journals. She is also actively involved in internship activities and has worked as the project assistant at Accenture and CITIC. she aspires to concentrate on human resource management and integrate knowledge management into the development of enterprises to help them effectively exploit and protect knowledge assets, thus enhancing their competitive advantages.

Jia Yifan, completed her undergraduate studies in public administration and biological sciences at Sichuan University, and worked as a management trainee at the headquarters of Evergrande Group for 3 years. She aspires to contribute in the field of public management, and through the practice of knowledge management theory and modern management concepts, let knowledge become the intellectual capital of management and application in enterprise organizations.

Xu Jingying completed her undergraduate studies in Information Management at Wuhan University and interned as a HR director at ByteDance. she wants to develop and contribute to the field of human resource management, promote corporate knowledge innovation through efficient employee knowledge management, and utilize the maximum potential of human capital to drive business development.

A Peak At Knowledge Management Through The Zen Lens 

Cong Chongyu

Chinese Buddhism Zen believes that there are three realms in life: (i) looking at a mountain as a mountain, (ii) looking at a mountain as not a mountain, and (iii) looking at a mountain as still a mountain.  Translating the meaning into English, This can be interpreted as three realms as – (a) to look something as it looks, (b) to look something as it means, and (c) to look something as it is. 

This refers to the perception of things, which can be compared with a person's life. For organizations, before having a mature knowledge management system, the organization will also experience a journey through these three stages, from simple and direct learning by doing, to encountering challenges and change when transformation is necessary, discovering its strategy and knowledge gaps, and then in the end, integrating all into one, to develope its own knowledge management system in order to establish a long-term agile competitive advantage – i.e  become an organization with awareness and mindfulness. 

The First Realm of Life – To Look at something as it Looks

When we were children, we were one with our true self, everything was taken for granted in our eyes, what is, is what it is. In our eyes, everything was restored to its original state. Mountains were mountains, and water was water. What we saw was the real thing, and we did not dwell into them deeply, so we believed that things were what we see. Looking at this from the lens of a startup organization or a new business venture, the most effective way of learning has been Learning by Doing

The “Action Learning facilitation (AL) is a process to foster learning by working on real problems and actually implementing solutions. It is a form of learning by doing. AL is grounded by the assumption, that learning is best achieved in small groups (so-called ‘sets’) by individual practice and asking skilful questions.” As in this chart created by “”, the process of AL starts from asking Powerful Questions, Active Listening, Sharing and learning, Reflection, Action, to Group and individual development.

In my daily zen practices, keeping awareness of my own thoughts, meditating from daily life, trying to study and understanding the Buddhist’s doctrine while experiencing and generating my own perception of life, is the most effective method of Zen. When negative emotions and thoughts arise, being aware of it, observing it, and realizing the true self from it. 

The Second Realm of Life – To Look at something as it Means

As we grow older, we begin to gradually detach from our true self, so often blinded to the truth. Many things we pursue are actually delusions in our minds, not reality. There are too many unspoken rules hidden behind the surface, and what we see is not necessarily true. It is easy for us to lose our way in reality, followed by confusion, hesitation, pain and struggle. Some people are lost in this chaotic world. We begin to experience this world with our mind and perceived mindsets, and we have more rational and realistic thinking and even fear about everything. Mountains are no longer simply mountains, and water is not simply water. As for organizations, there is also a difficult stage like this, if the organization did not realize the challenge created by the changing environment, it might be the start of the end thus being phased out in the river of history. But if the organization became aware of the situation by finding out the knowledge and strategic gap it has between the current state and reality as the chart shows, then managing knowledge as the Zen practice of its transformation has begun and the ability to be knowledge ready will set its gears into action.

The Third Realm of Life – To Look at something as it Is

As we age and lived a rich life of experience and lessons leart, in both personal life and work life then we realize the vanity we pursued in our younger days was superficial, and we will begin to return to the awareness of our true self. This true self is the eternal and immortal "Tao" in the universe. It is the truth that connects the essence of all things. However, if our understanding of the world only stays on the surface, we will not be able to see through the mysteries of it, and we will eventually run into obstacles everywhere in reality, thus having doubts about reality and the world. Seeing the mountains as still the mountains and the water as still the waters is a kind of returning to the basics after gaining insights into the ways of the world, but not everyone  and not every organization can achieve this state. This state brings awareness of the value of knowledge management and spends a long time with patience and understanding to eventually build its own knowledge management system aligned with its culture and strategy and beyond character and personal traits, some call this, the organisational DNA. To achieve this state, organizations needs its KM strategy to be beyond a person but encompass, a series of values such as culture, leadership strategy, values and desired outcomes, by understanding the Knowledge Value Chain, and going through the KM processes from Knowledge Identification, Knowledge Acquisition, Knowledge Codification, Knowledge Storage, Knowledge Dissemination, Knowledge Refinement, Knowledge Application, to Knowledge Creation. Organisational KM outlives the person and follows the path towards sustainability.

There are many similarities between becoming a Sustainable knowledge organisation and the Zen philosophy. To look at one of this principles is “the denial of the ego, the focus on interconnectedness in the universe, the recognition of attachment as a source of suffering, and the realization that human perception is faulty.” Wearing my KM hat, I interpret this as todays collaborative world. Post Covid, the need for collaboration to co-create new knowledge is no longer about “Me” but about “our team” working either in a hybrid model or remotely we are better equipped to understand that traditional management is no longer a thing for all, the last two years has been a  time of awakening for organizations if they never had a remote work inkling in their modus operandi. 

The basics of managing knowledge was resuscitated during the pandemic period, again energising people in organizations to transform their individual implicit knowledge into explicit knowledge for their organizations, either elevating sharing or breaking barriers in asking for help, this was the key event that led to improved collaboration or using the zen term “interconnectedness” leading to an agile competitive advantage in the industry.

The Question thus remains – are we there yet ?

Even with such hard work from all the Zen practitioners and Knowledge Managers, reaching the third stage is tough, and staying there is tougher. To sustain the journey all of us must keep practicing and learning as continuous learners in our lifetime. I believe we will be on the right track to the final stage. To quote Doctor Li Chanxia, who shared his life lesson in his speech of why he spent his whole life in studying medical science, “Knowledge itself is not power, but knowledge can be sublimated into wisdom through practice, and wisdom is our power” Thus as journey into the endemic lets ask how can we sublimate our knowledge and life experience into wisdom that can create value for others?


Chyi Lee, C. and Yang, J. (2000), "Knowledge value chain", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 19 No. 9, pp. 783-794.

Cong Congyu is a full-time postgraduate student in knowledge Management at Nanyang Technological University. A graduate from the Farmer School of Business, Miami University in Human Capital Management and Leadership. Congyu has a minor in creative writings and has worked in the mega eplatform Alibaba group. She recently completed the UN course on Sustainable Finance and aspires to contribute more to sustainable knowledge management.

The Bedrock of KM in Singapore (NTU AND KMS) 

Rajesh S Dhillon 

In 1999,  a small group of people, brought together by their interest in knowledge management and by the nanyang technological university’s KM Master program, met regularly to discuss  KM matter, then led by Dr Suliman Hawamdeh, it planted the seeds of the information and knowledge management society (iKMS) as we crossed the millennium. in January 2001, IKMS was officially registered as a non profit society in the registry of societies in Singapore. serving both the public and  private sectors. To date it continues  to promote knowledge management among organisations which seek to become more knowledge ready, 

Renamed as Knowledge Management Society (KMS) in 2016, the team has continued to pursue inclusive, practitioner-focused perspectives, grounded in research.bringing together practitioners, researchers and commercial providers through publications, workshops, conferences, and online platforms such as webinars and global network online meetings.

Two years prior in 2014, KMS, led the formalisation of Knowledge Management Global Network (KMGN) with parner countries Australia, Hong Kong and Thailand, with the addition of India, Japan, Russia and the USA in 2015 and later iaugrated it at the Global Learning Week (2016) in Nanyang Technological University, which brought together leading KM experts from various partner countries. These were the humble beginnings of the KMGN network we have today.

The Wee Kim Wee School at the Nanyang technology University, has been running the Masters in Knolwedge Management for 23 years. Designed for students from both public and private sector organisations that utilises human and knowledge resources to contribute directly to its survivability and has had students from Brunei, China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia Singapore and Switzerland to name a few. As the only fully fledged KM Graduate program in Singapore, the program blends theoretical and industry practice, with emphasis on creativity innovation, strategy and storytelling the program is often fully subscribed. 

The close relationship between NTU and KMS continues with exploration into how we can further provide valued KM education to students and practitioners. 

NTU accepts global students annually for the KM Masters program and more information is available at 

Be closer: official KMGN channel for sharing news, discussion and any types of collaboration.