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Knowledge management in 2017: the year in review

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s great to look back over what has been another bumper year for RealKM Magazine, with a large number of insightful articles published on a wide range of knowledge management (KM) and related topics, and considerable growth in our readership. The year has also seen a number of significant developments in KM generally, including the publication of the draft KM standard ISO 30401.

Some big highlights of 2017

Draft knowledge management standard ISO 30401 published

Arguably the most important development for KM in 2017 was the publication of the draft of the new international knowledge management standard, ISO 30401 Knowledge management systems – Requirements, on 23 November 2017.

As RealKM Connect’s Amanda Surrey advises, knowledge management as a discipline is maturing, and is ripe for an international standard which will articulate and synthesise a global standard of best practice for practitioners.

The publication of the draft KM standard has sparked some controversy, but if the causes of this controversy can be properly addressed, then I’m hopeful that the KM community can unite in support of the standard.

Don’t forget that the comment period on the draft closes on 16 January 2018.

#KMELB2017 conference convened

On 13-14 November 2017, RealKM Magazine host organisation KnowQuestion joined with the Australian Society for Knowledge Management (AuSKM) and Intelligent Answers to convene the conference #KMELB2017 – Creativity, Chaos and Collaboration.

Ron Young, the #KMELB2017 keynote speaker, laid down a challenge to the profession. He called on us all to create a unified, global professional KM society with vision, values, a code of ethics and an agreed professional practice, with a body of knowledge and a set of core competencies, leveraged on a global platform. Ron sees the draft ISO 30401 Knowledge Management Systems Standard, to which he has contributed, as a real opportunity to get it right for the profession, and to make significant progress in embedding KM in our organisations.

The two days of the conference not only explored the catchwords and hashtags of the moment, but were a shout out to the KM profession to step up and act collaboratively. Day 1 was a fascinating array of local and international presenters, and the unstructured nature of day 2 allowed the group to relax and take the time to explore and contrast a number of techniques in a real world setting.

RealKM Connect launched

RealKM Connect, a bi-monthly evidence-based knowledge management (KM) professional development seminar series, was launched in Melbourne, Australia in January 2017. Six seminars were held through the year, representing the scope and vision of RealKM Connect’s approach to learning and topics.

If you’d like to explore the potential for adopting the RealKM Connect model in your area, feel free to contact us. Or, if you’re in Melbourne, we extend a warm invitation to join us in 2018 for our second year.

RealKM Connect is facilitated by Amanda Surrey, a strategic knowledge management professional with extensive experience in global business environments, including BHP Billiton where she worked for the past 14 years.

SLA/AGC 2017 conference in Bahrain

I was very pleased to be invited to participate in the 23rd Annual Conference & Exhibition of the Special Libraries Association Arabian Gulf Chapter (SLA/AGC) from 7 to 9 March 2017 in Bahrain. My involvement in the conference included participating in a panel session on the expanding role of business information in the knowledge economy.

Library and information services (LIS) have an increasingly vital role in KM, so there is great value in RealKM Magazine supporting events such as this.

Registration is now open for the 24th SLA/AGC conference, which is being held in Muscat, Oman from 6-8 March 2018 and has the theme “Big data and its investment prospects: The way towards knowledge integration”.

CILIP Knowledge & Information Management Special Interest Group

As a result of meeting Luke Stevens-Burt, Assistant Director, Member Services of the UK-based library and information association CILIP at the SLA/AGC 2017 conference, I’m very pleased to be joining the new CILIP Knowledge & Information Management Special Interest Group (K&IM SIG) in 2018.

CILIP represents a UK workforce of 87,000 information professionals, and plays a leading role in professional development not just in the UK, but worldwide. It also initiates and leads important advocacy campaigns, for example #FactsMatter.

In establishing the K&IM SIG, CILIP is recognising that knowledge management requires different approaches to information management, but also that the two are vitally intertwined.

RealKM Magazine an important go-to resource

Since its establishment two-and-a-half years ago, RealKM Magazine has cemented a vital role in the international KM landscape, becoming a key go-to resource for KM practitioners and the managers and leaders of organisations.

The ever-growing number of monthly active readers has just reached 5,000, and many of our articles have been viewed hundreds or even thousands of times, with our most popular article, David Williams’ “Components of a knowledge management system”, recently passing 10,000 views.

We’ve published a comprehensive range of articles through the year, including:

An extremely challenging and stressful set of experiences for me in 2017 – the mental illness and suicide attempts of a friend – also led to my writing of a series of four articles highlighting serious knowledge management issues around mental health awareness and understanding.

What’s ahead in 2018?

Introducing our new crowdfunding campaign

We look forward to continuing to promote evidence-based knowledge management in 2018 and beyond. To make this possible, and to keep building RealKM Magazine towards its maximum potential, we need to broaden our financial support base.

To do this, we’ll be launching a crowdfunding campaign early in the new year. Please keep an eye out for the campaign, and as well as considering your financial support (even if just a little), please help us to spread the word.

KnowQuestion joining forces with Cordelta

From 1 January 2018, RealKM Magazine’s host organisation KnowQuestion will be joining forces with Cordelta. All of the services that KnowQuestion has been delivering will continue under the Cordelta brand.

I thank KnowQuestion founder and principal consultant Stephen Bounds for his foresight in establishing RealKM Magazine, and for his strong and enthusiastic support throughout our two-and-a-half years of operation. I congratulate him on his new role as Executive, Information Management at Cordelta.

Thank you, and best wishes!

Thank you to all of our readers for your great support in 2017, and best wishes for 2018!

Our heartfelt thanks also go to our contributors for their outstanding articles. Over the past year, this has included (in no particular order) Lena Ross, Mark Trexler, Scott Fortmann-Roe and Gene BellingerDr Ra Jes Chelliah, Adi Gaskell, Buster Benson, David Williams, The Conversation, and Amanda Surrey.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the RealKM Weekly Wrap newsletter, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. You might also like to think about writing an article.

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Also published on Medium.

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes ( is a knowledge management (KM), environmental management, and education professional with over 30 years of experience in Australia and China. His work has received high-level acclaim and been recognised through a number of significant awards. He is currently a PhD candidate in the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group at Wageningen University and Research, and holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction. He is also the editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine (, and teaches in the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) Certified High-school Program (CHP).
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