The KM Cookbook

Aug 2019 | 288pp

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The KM Cookbook
Stories and strategies for organisations exploring Knowledge Management Standard ISO30401

Chris J Collison, Paul J Corney and Patricia Lee Eng

The KM Cookbook serves up a menu of success stories and strategies for organisations wanting to know more about Knowledge Management Standard ISO 30401 – whether they intend to pursue certification, or simply seek to use it as a framework to review their existing programme and strategy.

The arrival of an internationally agreed standard and vocabulary, imbues fresh professional credibility to the field of Knowledge Management. Moving it on from a street food market of disparate approaches, it provides knowledge managers with a brand-new kitchen, and a moment during which they can pause and consider the service that they provide to their organisations.

The KM Cookbook uses the metaphor of the restaurant, its cuisine, owner, chef, staff, ingredients, menu-planners, customers – and a restaurant critic, to serve up ISO 30401 on a plate for the readers.

The second half of the book illustrates aspects of the standard by exploring sixteen different examples of KM in practice around the world, through the reflections of their own ‘KM chefs’. Case studies include: General Electric, World Bank, USAID, Schlumberger, PROCERGS, Médecins Sans Frontières, Transport for London, International Olympic Committee, TechnipFMC, Linklaters, Syngenta, Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, Financial Conduct Authority, Petroleum Development Oman, Saudi Aramco and MAPNA.

Readership: This book will be invaluable for CKOs, CIOs, CEOs and knowledge and information managers seeking to gain professional recognition for their function and to review
their approach within a new framework.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations


About the book 

Explaining the metaphor 


Part I  A new way to cook? 

1 A new kitchen 

2 What kind of restaurant? 

3 The role of the restaurateur 

4 The skilled chef 

5 Getting some help: the staff 

6 Understanding the ingredients 

7 The restaurant critic: what to expect in an audit 

8 Planning the menu: the KM Chef’s Canvas 

9 The KM chef’s specials: taster menu 


Part II  Menus to savour 

Introduction: how to read the menus 

The Americas

10 The World Bank: Knowledge Management and machine learning

Narrated by Margot Brown and Vivek Sharma

11 Knowledge Management in General Electric: leading-edge communities

Narrated by Dan Ranta

12 Beyond KM: Collaborating, Learning and Adapting (CLA) in USAID

Narrated by Piers Bocock and Stacey Young

13 Knowledge Management in Schlumberger: ‘Eureka!’

Narrated by Susan Rosenbaum and Alan Boulter

14 PROCERGS Brazil: using knowledge and innovation to make government more efficient 

—  Narrated by Luciana Menezes and José Jaeger



15 The Olympic Games: Knowledge Management and learning pathways

Narrated by Chris Payne

16 Médecins Sans Frontières: knowledge without borders? 

— Narrated by Robin Vincent-Smith

17 Transport for London (TfL), UK: learning to be world-class 

— Narrated by Liz Hobbs

18 Syngenta: leaping into networks and cultural KM 

— Narrated by Nicola Thomson

19 Linklaters: knowledge, value-add and innovation

 — Narrated by Rachel Manser and Ian Rodwell

20 Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl), UK: guarding against organisational amnesia 

— Narrated by Dominic Davies

21 Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), UK: using knowledge to improve detection 

— Narrated by Christine Astaniou


Middle East

22 Creating value in Oman: KM in Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) 

— Narrated by Hank Malik

23 Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia: identifying, extracting and regenerating the wells of knowledge 

— Narrated by Tony Melendez



24 MAPNA, Iran: the role of KM in designing and implementing world-scale projects 

— Narrated by Dr Mohsen Hamedi

KM in mergers and acquisitions – take-away chapter

25 TechnipFMC, France, UK and USA: agile KM in a newly merged organisation 

— Narrated by Kim Glover


Endings and beginnings 



Interview questions 

The restaurant critic (Chapter 7) 

Knowledge Management in Schlumberger (Chapter 13)

Transport for London (Chapter 17) 

Saudi Aramco (Chapter 23) 

MAPNA (Chapter 24) 


The KM Cookbook fulfils many of the needs of knowledge management professionals in the sense that it provides an applied deliberation on the new KM standard, ISO 30401. Collison, Corney and Eng continue by explicating the interpretation of ISO 30401, preparing for an audit and the actual audit process. However, The KM Cookbook proceeds by applying the key principles of the ISO 30401 as several leading use cases of KM are discussed from within the framework of the KM standard.’  

— Dr Deonie Botha, Associate Director, Deloitte & Touche

‘A book on knowledge management which not only sets new standards for this discipline but is actually fun to read. The enthusiasm and passion of the authors - who live and breathe KM - is reflected on every page of their cookbook.’

— Dr. Raffael Büchi, Owner of OWLegal, a consulting company focusing on legal KM, and Chair of the conference KM Legal Europe (since 2014)

‘Collison, Corney and Eng have taken a would-be dry subject and delved into it in a creative manner, weaving fact and guidance into a narrative that simultaneously informs and entertains. What they have done with this book is a demonstration of a key aspect of knowledge management itself: the use of storytelling to make important knowledge accessible to the average person. Certify that, ISO 30401.’

— Larry Campbell, Partner, KPMG China

‘Make no mistake - this book is worth its weight in salt. While it prepares you for the ISO Standards, it has some of the finest current case studies globally. Anyone reading this book will come away truly enriched and motivated. It is crafted in simple but elegant language devoid of jargon.  For me, this book serves a higher purpose. I am constantly asked to ‘simplify’ KM to a level where a lay person can understand. I have found an answer to that in the form of The KM Cookbook.‘

— Rudolf D’Souza, Chief Knowledge Officer, Afcons Infrastructure and Chair 2019, KM Global Network

Chris Collison, Paul Corney, and Patricia Eng have written a practical and easy-to-understand guide to knowledge management. The KM Cookbook combines a helpful explanation of ISO 30401 – the first international KM standard – with methods, tools, and stories to support successfully implementing KM. It uses the clever metaphor of a restaurant to describe the KM standard, tools, and stakeholders. The KM Chef’s Canvas is included as a useful tool to assess KM programmes applying the new standard.’

— Stan Garfield, Knowledge Management Author, Speaker, and Community Leader

'The KM Cookbook is aptly named, as it draws from global perspectives, global solutions and is patterned together through extensive, detailed experience. Both the immediate and the practical as well as the introspective, and strategic are offered as recipes. This is a book that will help to connect leadership within organizations with the insights and methods to enact their vision.'

— Eric Hunter, Managing Director of Spherical Models, LLC and Chief Technology Officer of Bradford & Barthel, LLP

'This is a wise, practical and very accessible book, spiced with examples from knowledge managers in the field, to illustrate how the ISO 30401 KM standard can be applied in practice. It captures the variety and context sensitivity of KM, as well as its focus on excellence. Metaphors can be distracting or overly abstract, but in this book, the restaurant metaphor is a winner!'

— Patrick Lambe, Partner, Straits Knowledge

‘Being a committed KM sponsor, or “Restaurateur” as The KM Cookbook would define me, I recommend the book as mandatory reading for all leaders and experts in KM roles. Not only does it explain the international standard on Knowledge Management, the new ISO30401, it also shares 16 very interesting stories on how different businesses, government organisations and NGOs deal with KM and exercise best practice.’

 — Aku Sorainen, Senior Partner, Sorainen

‘Much more than a recipe book. The KM Cookbook goes beyond the ‘what’ to the ‘how’. Part I offers a wealth of practical insight into the knowledge, tools and strategies that enable KM Masterchefs to reliably deliver great food, day after day. The rich diversity of KM is beautifully illustrated in Part II, with its global showcase of stories of KM in practice. Chris, Paul and Patricia show how getting the basics right can professionalise KM without compromising its wide range of flavours.’

— Dr Sharon Varney, The Henley Forum at Henley Business School

‘At last there is a book that guides but does not command, and is not afraid to highlight problems, challenges and issues as it goes along. As I came to the end of a second reading (in the space of a couple of days) I realized that this is a book that any information or knowledge manager will benefit from having on their bookcase. Quite brilliant in both concept and execution. Whether you are an experienced KM professional or just starting out on the journey the commitment of the authors to the benefits of KM will without doubt be a great inspiration to you.’

— Martin White, Managing Director, Intranet Focus Ltd.

'I'm one of the first to raise my hand as a skeptic of certifications and standards, feeling they are unnecessary boxes for emergent or complex practices. So I was gratified to read a pragmatic examination of the new KM standards and examples of how they might manifest through extensive case "stories" in The KM Cookbook. Standards aside, any organizational KM person can learn many things from this book - things they could implement tomorrow. So this is a win win, regardless of your view on the ISO standards! Dig into the "meal" that Chris, Paul and Patricia have prepared for us.'

— Nancy White, Founder, Full Circle Associates


'Having been part of the first wave of KM in the 1990s and being away from it for some time, I was especially taken by the “Menus to Savour” section. In it I found menus from some of the well known leaders from that time like the World Bank, GE and Schlumberger, who have now moved beyond the start-up energy of their KM originators to now managing KM as an established discipline. The book has been able to accumulate the collective knowledge about how to “best do KM” from what is now an established discipline, as evidenced by the newer Middle Eastern and Asian menus'

— Laurence  Lock Lee, Co-Founder & Chief Scientist, Swoop Analytics

Chris Collison is a bestselling business author, consultant and internationally recognised expert in Knowledge Management. He has served over 140 client organisations around the world, ranging from the World Bank to the International Olympic Committee, UK Government and several business schools.

Paul Corney is a globally recognised KM figure, a member of the BSI KM Standards Committee that helped craft the ISO KM Standards and an acclaimed author. With a background in KM stretching back to 1994 as an advisor and business head, he
has led assignments in more than 25 countries.

Patricia Lee Eng served as the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Senior Advisor for Knowledge Management where she created and managed NRC’s KM programme saving over 57 million dollars in two years. A highly regarded expert inspector/ auditor for safety and quality, she is co-author of two KM books, a certified ISO 9001 QMS Auditor, and the first certified ISO Auditor for KM programmes.

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