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“Smallness is not a disadvantage for countries as they enter the new knowledge economy,” asserted Dr. Laurence Prusak, prominent US researcher and consultant and founder of the Institute of Knowledge Management in a special one-hour presentation at the APO Secretariat in Tokyo on 17 April on Knowledge Management and Innovation for SMEs in Asia and the Pacific. It was attended by an audience of 40 researchers, consultants, academics, and APO Secretariat staff.
He remarked that the monopoly of useful knowledge by Western civilizations was over and highlighted the attributes of the knowledge economy and the opportunities it presented to the SMEs of Asia and the Pacific to become globally competitive using innovation. “Knowledge is better off with small offices and small groups with more live interactions and less hierarchy,” he said, because SMEs were agile and had the size, scope, and speed to innovate. He also emphasized the importance of “different perspectives” to create knowledge and be innovative since, “Better outcomes come from cognitive diversity.”
Dr. Prusak complimented the APO’s achievements in promoting KM in the Asia-Pacific region as well as its KM Facilitators’ Guidebook which is in the process of publication. He also encouraged efforts to develop KM measurement methodology and research on “knowledge productivity,” which is another interesting emerging area.
APO Secretary-General Shigeo Takenaka thanked Dr. Prusak for his informative, inspiring lecture which gave the APO “a powerful and theoretical boost” to continue its initiatives to promote KM among SMEs in its member countries. He added that the APO had organized a series of projects to promote the concept and application of KM in its member countries since 2000. KM was designated as an APO thrust area in 2001. As the KM concept has steadily gained acceptance in its member countries, the APO continues efforts to review and promote the concept, particularly its relevance and contributions to enhancing productivity. One of the latest initiatives was to develop a common KM definition, framework, and implementation approach for member countries and provide guidance for KM planning and implementation, especially for SMEs. Case studies of KM practice in SMEs are also being compiled.