Sunday, February 21, 2010

The East have a major advantage with Knowledge Management

My travels to the East continually reveal new knowledge insights to me. Whenever I am asked to speak in a country I have not visited before, I try to learn as much as I can beforehand about their culture and major religious beliefs, so that I can be more meaningful in my presentations about knowledge management, and so that I can be more open in my own learning.

Being a yoga teacher, over 25 years ago, I instantly took to the culture and religious beliefs of India in my five trips there over the past two years. I already knew that the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita etc are the basis of Hinduism, and are the oldest recorded books of knowledge. I have had some truly fascinating discussions with my Indian friends and we have reconsidered this 'timeless wisdom'in an age of global knowledge. In fact, in the last few years, I have enjoyed many more discussions with Asian friends also looking at the perspective of knowledge for Muslims, Buddhists and Christians too, across Singapore, Malaysia,Indonesia, Phillipines and Fiji. I have also had discussions with Koreans, Chinese and Vietnamese about knowledge and Confusianism and the Tao.

What fascinates me about the East and Middle East is the very very high value that all religions and beliefs place on knowledge. There is divine revealed knowledge and the acquisition of daily knowledge of living a good successful life.

And in all of this, most importantly, there is no doubt at all about the value of knowledge.

This is why I am of the opinion that the Eastern perspective to knowledge management will develop much faster, and reveal much richer insights into global knowledge management than those of the West.

Don't get me wrong. I am still a great advocate and, hopefully, a good ambassador for the discipline of knowledge management, as developed in the West.

I do not wish to simplify, but for making the point that I am simply amazed at the major contributions that have come from the USA, especially, at least the openness, and the new enabling knowledge technologies we all enjoy across the internet. And I am indebted to our friends in Scandinavia and across Europe who are still, in my opinion, thought leaders in intellectual capital management, processes and reporting, but I am now really looking forward to the fresh developments and practices that will, undoubtedly, come from the Eastern perspective.

I have no doubt that, at this point in time, the East have a major advantage with knowledge management.

I take great comfort that absolute knowledge is the common unifier across diverse beliefs.

Ron Young

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Knowledge Management moves from the Corporate World to Development Organizations!

Naguib Chowdhury contacted me a few days ago and said, ‘Ron, what do you think is happening with Knowledge Management today, as there is much going on with KM in Development?’

That was a good and timely question to ask me as I was reading a report I had recently finished for the United Nations, Asia Pacific Regional office in Bangkok, when I received Naguib’s question.

Here is my reply to Naguib on his popular blog - KMTALK Asia
I hope it starts an interesting discussion.
What do you think?

Ron Young

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

The World in 2025 - Rising Asia and Socio-Ecological Transition

I am indebted to the European Commission, Directorate-General for Research Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities for allowing me to reproduce extracts from their report 'The World in 2025 - Rising Asia and Socio-Ecological Transition'.

In my work to better understand global knowledge management trends, current performance, and future scenarios, I find the research work from the World Bank, United Nations, Asian Development Bank, NASA, and the European Commission most informing.

Here are, from a global knowledge management perspective, some extracts that particularly resonate with me from this European Commission Report, 2009, ISBN 978-92-79-12485-3.


The Asian Century

In 2025, nearly two thirds of the world population will live in Asia.

According to the UN, between now and 2025, the world population will increase by 20% to reach 8 billion inhabitants (6.5 today). 97% of this growth will occur in the developing countries (Asia, Africa).

In 2025, 61% of the world population will be in Asia.

In 2025, the population of the European Union will only account for 6.5% of the world population.

The European Union will count the highest proportion of people of more than 65 years old in the world (30% of the population).

The cities in developing countries will account for 95% of urban growth in the next twenty years and will shelter almost 4 billion inhabitants in 2025. The number of inhabitants of slums at world level will double between now and 2025 to reach more than 1.5 billion.

Asia, with increasing inequalities, becomes the first producer and exporter of the world

In 2025 world production will almost have doubled (in relation to 2005). The USA-EU-Japan triad will no longer dominate the world, even if the United States preserve their leadership. A more balanced distribution will take shape. The energing and developing countries which accounted for 20% of the world's wealth in 2005 will account for 34% of it in 2025.

The centre of gravity of world production will move towards Asia. The group made up of China-India-Korea will weigh as much as the European Union. With the addition of Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia..., the share of Asia would in 2025 reach more than 30% of the world GDP and would surpass that of the EU, estimated to be at slightly more than 20%.

In 2030 the "global middle class" (with an income between 4000 and 17 000 dollars a year) could account for 1 billion people, of which 90% will be living in developing countries.

(In 2025)The positions of Asia and the European Union are reversed. The EU is no longer the first world exporter. The exports of the EU (39% of the world volume in 2005) could account for 32% while the share of Asia increases from 29% to 35%.

In an increasing knowledge society,a question remains on the growth of intangible assets (like human capital or use of ICT) and the share of these investments among the EU, US and Asia.

Asia catches up with (and overtakes?) the United States and Europe in the area of research

If the recent trend continues, in 2025, the United States and Europe will have lost their scientific and technological supremacy for the benefit of Asia. (China and India will have caught up with or even overtaken the Triad) even if they will still appear among the principal world powers as regards R&D.

In many crucial areas to Europe's future welfare, such as energy saving technologies, research on sustainable development and climate change, health and the spreading of diseases, food safety, security, social sciences and humanities, etc., it is the global access to such knowledge, the development of joint global standards and the rapid world-wide diffusion of such new technologies which is at stake. Ensuring access to knowledge in global networks also means being attractive for researchers and investment from abroad. can imagine that we will move from today's "brain drain" (mainly towards United States and the Anglo Saxon countries) to a more balanced "brain circulation" of young researchers between regions of the world.

Asia will be the main destination for the location of business R&D.


I simply love 'from brain drain to brain circulation' as this paints such a healthy picture for our collective planetary brains, and I am already seeing this brain drain reversal taking place in my work travels in Asia.

I may be over simplifying but I think we are slowly getting it - it's not just about competing for knowledge in a predominantly private and state capitalist society, as this will not produce the best results for the good of all, but its about a new order of global knowledge economics that better recognises and values the highly interconnected and collaborative knowledge society that has already emerged.

What do you think about these EU report extracts?

I recommend that you get the full report which discusses trends, tensions, and major transitions, all very interesting indeed.It's available as a free pdf.

Ron Young

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