Dr. Alex Bielak, United Nations University, Canada

It has taken almost two years for Prof. Allam Ahmed and his co-author (Mohamed Elhag) to complete their newly developed Knowledge Management (KM) Framework—SMART KM Model. Their book, Smart KM Model: An Integrated Knowledge Management Framework for Organizational Excellence, is very readable and efficiently describes the landscape associated with KM. It outlines a methodology to “support the successful introduction of KM to an organisation through systematic and well-defined steps”. In our experience, the term KM has historically been used as a catch-all related to knowledge. People understood it to be important, but did not necessarily understand it fully and used it loosely. Two years ago we convened a landmark, invitation-only conference in Canada under the aegis of the United Nations University, where we first met the energetic Prof. Ahmed. He brought his understanding of KM to the table along with others more familiar with terms such as Knowledge Translation, Knowledge Exchange, Knowledge Intermediation, Knowledge Brokering, Knowledge Mobilisation and others. They are all related: insights provided by participants including Prof. Allam were useful in helping us position the hugely important field of KM along with all the “Ks”. Collectively we proposed that they were called K* (KStar) and developed a Concept Paper which offers a framework to share knowledge effectively among science, practice and policy, and increase research impact and knowledge-informed policy and practice. Ahmed and Elhag’s book—informed by best-in-class KM practices from a number of organizations as diverse as coffee-giant Starbucks, a municipality in Iran, the U.S. Army, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)—can help ensure KM becomes part of organizational culture and underscore to practitioners and policy makers alike the fundamental importance of investing in all K* activities.

Dr. Alex Bielak
Founder and Chief Knowledge Broker, Alex Bielak Communications
Former Senior Research Fellow and Knowledge Broker,
Institute for Water, Environment and Health, United Nations University (UNU)
Ontario, Canada