Resilience, the future of Knowledge Management?

Resilience is the future of Knowledge Management and I am nailing my colours to the resilience mast!  The way I see the organisational environment, regardless of sector or location, resilience (see this post for what we mean by resilience) is gaining momentum as a powerful organisational objective and, in my opinion, it could also secure the future for Knowledge Management.

Knowledge Managers have struggled for years to align input and output with a coherent value proposition.  This has resulted in ambiguity, a feeling (the lowest level of feedback in the KM Value pyramid) that Knowledge Management is under performing and even, perish the thought, of little value inside the organisation.  The concept of resilience is a game changer, pure and simple.

Resilience, the adaptive capacity of an organisation, or its ability to deal with a dynamic environment, is built upon boundary controls that include sensory and response management processes.  An ever changing, complex (dynamic), environment requires a feedback system.  That same environment will challenge organisational capabilities, which requires problem-solving and decision-making capability and capacity.  Problem-solving and decision-making requires critical thinkers, informed by personal and organisational knowledge, skills and experience.  A well aligned Knowledge Management function should be positioned to respond to all these needs.

Take a look at the 12 signifiers for resilience, below (a concept that we hope to have in Quick Scan format, powered by Cognitive Edge and SenseMaker, within the next few months – allowing organisations to get quick feedback on their resiliency (resilience capability), with the signifiers providing signposts for action).

12 signifiers of resilience

12 signifiers of resilience

Knowledge Management will be needed to power sensory and response management processes within resilient organisations.  Knowledge Management needs to focus on informing these organisational boundary control mechanisms and, in doing so, prove its worth through proven results, impact and return (again, see the KM value pyramid).

Resilience is not just a new buzzword, it is the way forward for strategic and operation planning.  Resilience will determine the future of organisations and Knowledge Management needs to hitch itself to the resilience band wagon, pronto.


  •, Peter Golodsbury – Coordinator Tipu Ake Team

    Thanks David
    We could suggest that your statement that “Resilience is the future of Knowledge Management” is but a subset of a bigger picture “Resilience is the futuure of organisations and communities”. In the context of complexity, shared information, inter-dependence and ambiguity, it takes much more than the conventional KM tools (that ofter ride strongly in the complicated domain) to nurture relilience, agility, inovation, proactivity and success. Perhaps one of the other nutrients needed is a new way of challenging and growing corporate cultures and behaviours at all levels that might result in “Living Organisations” that constantly sense their environment. We have been doing some pioneering work in this area in New Zealand, that might mutually lever with your work and thinking. This is shared on the web at at and the best summary of it is at
    We would appreciate your feedback please

    • David Griffiths

      Very, very interesting. As you will know from this blog, I have been working on resilience as an organisational development solution for the past couple of years. This has resulted in the identification of 12 signifiers, underpinned by a ‘Resilience Proposition of the Minimum’ (both are in previous blogs on the subject). I find your work very interesting and highly relevant.

      I would agree wholeheartedly that KM is but a subset of a much broader approach to resilience – this is something that I have spoken of in my blogs and an issue that I address in my forthcoming iBook release (April) ‘Creating value from knowledge: A resilience based strategy toolkit’. I see a lot of synergy in our work/research focus and would be happy to continue this discussion offline, if you are interested. We are currently working on ‘Quick Scan’ capability, where organisations can begin to understand the impact of core competencies upon adaptive capability/capacity (resilience). Happy to keep the conversation going… the post you might most be interested in, in that it sums up our research, can be found here:

      Thanks for making contact and for sharing your work – hope to speak at greater length offline David (