08 November 2018

Interview with Arthur Shelley about the new ISO KM Standard

Filing cabinet
Well, after several years of hard work by an international committee the new ISO-30401:2018 Knowledge Management Systems standard is upon us (you can preview and purchase it here). For us Down Under this replaces the old Australian KM standard AS-5037:2005 but also builds on some of the lessons we gained from it.

As with most new things, change can be hard. That is also true of standards and just like the arrival of ISO-9001 before it, the new KM Standard has some doubters and naysayers; some saying it’s too late, others questioning the non-collaborative ISO authoring process and of course the ones standing on either side of the road yelling it goes too far, or doesn’t go far enough, etc, etc.

RealKM’s article last week gives some of the details but I wanted to find out from one of the authors just what the standard is all about so I interviewed Dr Arthur Shelley to get his take as the Australian ISO representative on the committee. You can see the interview below.

One of the things that has always struck me about KM is the difference between the simplicity of most of the concepts when compared with how long it takes the average manager to understand them. Maybe it’s because we all think. So thinking about thinking is unnatural as a fish pouring themselves a cup of water. Whatever it is, there is an obvious gap between those who practice KM and those never exposed to it.  

When I asked Arthur about the benefits of ISO-30401, he pointed out the power of a single international standard to address this inequality by providing a measurable foundation for knowledge work in organisations, even when you don’t have internal advocates. For those of you that have ever tried to excite policy change in a government department, this is great news and an important contributor to winning over the committees and lawyers that stand in your way. For those that know what factors are needed for success but have trouble convincing management that all them need to be in place, this standard helps you get support for the less obvious ones, helping you avoid the “You don’t need some show of support from us young lady, just install the software and I’m sure they will all use it.”


I hope you enjoy this short chat with Arthur. It was recorded in the middle of a thunder storm with massive hail falling right outside, so apologies for the audio quality. 


If you would like to have a chat yourself with Arthur then you will have a golden opportunity next week at the AusKM Conference in Melbourne, Australia.  Click here for tickets and the chance to discuss your projects and goals with some of the top KM people in the world as we are hosting the Global Network for the first time. An opportunity not to be missed.

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