Learning Lessons with Knowledge Audits
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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has committed to become a learning organization. But the use of evaluation for learning may be less important than that of other inputs, such as self-evaluation and training, and evaluation results may only marginally support policy, strategy, and operational changes. In 2006, concerned about the small number of downloads of its evaluation reports through the Internet, a corollary of user interest in a world driven by information technology, the Operations Evaluation Department in ADB determined to apply knowledge management to lesson learning. In 2007, it formulated a strategic framework to improve the organizational culture, management system, business processes, information technology solutions, community of practice, and external relations and networking for that. The framework holds promise not only in the department but, more importantly, vis-à-vis its interfaces with other departments in ADB, developing member countries of ADB, and the international evaluation community. It sets the stage for regular annual knowledge audits for systematic identification and analysis of knowledge needs, products and services, flows, uses, users, and gaps from the perspective of learning lessons. It also permits formulation of annual business plans to deliver outputs steadily against each interface. This paper explains the strategic framework. It also describes the knowledge audit methodology developed in 2007 to tie in with the department's audiences. The online, questionnaire-based survey of perceptions conducted as a first exercise that year provided ready and multiple entry points against which the department can take measures to that intent, as well as a comprehensive baseline assessment against which to judge progress. Fundamentally, the paper contends that evaluation agencies should move from "make-and-sell," at the simplest level, to "sense-and-respond" in ways that are increasingly satisfying to stakeholders. Knowledge from evaluations will not be used effectively if the specific organizational context, knowledge, and relationships of evaluation agencies, and the external environment they face, are not dealt with in an integrated and coherent manner. Knowledge management can shed light on possible operating frameworks for this and knowledge management initiatives can be applied to catalyze and facilitate identification, creation, storage, sharing, and use of lessons. That would be knowledge utilization indeed.
knowledge audits; organizational culture; knowledge management
Required Publisher Statement: © Asian Development Back. Available at ADB’s Open Access Repository under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY 3.0 IGO).
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Required Publisher Statement: © Asian Development Back. Available at ADB’s Open Access Repository under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY 3.0 IGO).