CKO, CIO, Director of Knowledge Management - Will the KM Strategist Please Stand Up?

As a KM consultant, it is heartening to step into an organisation that already has dedicated resources to drive KM. What happens though when you have a CKO, a CIO and a Director of KM all existing in different line functions of that one and same organisation? Who should drive the KM strategy? Who should drive the KM implementation? How do we delineate roles without making them so contained, they compromise effectiveness? Any thoughts?

I have read several articles and reports on the roles of the CKO, CIO and CKO vis a vis CIO. When you have a third entity of a Director, KM, though, things get a teeny bit complicated. It is not that I am averse to having so many drivers in an organisation for a KM/IM cause, but it is not merrier, the more. My experience had led me to see that when one party drives planning and another drives implementation, the picture never turns out as pretty as everyone “originally” imagined. The “original” picture as everyone would soon realise was different to begin with in everybody’s minds. Call me a classicist but I think initiatives work out better when there is a stable driving force from start to finish, from planning to implementation.

The water is this glass is, we get to propose!

4 Comments so far

Matt Moore

The strategy/implementation dictomy is an interesting one - and misleading. If we’re dealing with a complex system then creating your strategy is part of your implementation and you are constantly developing your strategy as you implement. Hence I would very much agree that splitting responsibility for these activities is a recipe for disaster.

Posted on May 12, 2006 at 08:55 AM | Comment permalink


Matt, I think your take on developing strategy as you implement is an interesting one. Pardon my ignorance but what constitutes a complex system?
Is it one where there are unstable conditions or too many variables? 

You might have just provided me with a wider outlook on the issue, although I also have to be careful not to make more than there is. Thank you.

Posted on May 14, 2006 at 11:21 PM | Comment permalink


Call me an optimist, but I don’t much care whether the strategy folks are the same as the implementation folks… KM naturally crosses divisional and functional boundaries, and requires collaboration and coordination of effort from strategic management level down through the operations, and across “implementation” functions such as planning, IT, HR, project management. The key for me is not where responsibility is placed but how required collaboration is assured. Different organisations have different politics and therefore different requirements for how collaboration is assured (or enforced).

Posted on May 15, 2006 at 11:30 PM | Comment permalink


I guess this suggests that politics does add to the complexity of the organisational system!! 

Here then is my simple or shall I say simplified understanding of the collaboration potential of organisations:

Collaboration potential = f[complexity of system, collaboration motive, opportunity, means]


Complexity of system = f(environment including the political environment, etc.)

Posted on May 17, 2006 at 12:34 PM | Comment permalink

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