What is Knowledge-Based Development?

Knowledge-based development is the process of using knowledge management (KM) in the development processes as well as developing an economy and society that is able to capture new opportunities and to compete successfully in a sustainable global knowledge economy. The former is also called KM for development.

Knowledge and other intangible assets have become important creators of value for nations, communities and organizations (see Apin’s blog post on “Intangibles: More Essential for Value Creation").

The global economy is changing in fundamental ways (see also “Curious Reversals,” a short chapter Apin wrote in 2000 in his e-book):

  • Increasingly, national economies create more wealth (GDP) from knowledge through services than from industry or agriculture. Global trade in services has been growing faster than global trade in commodities. Economies are becoming “weightless”.

  • Market values of most corporations now consist more of intangible knowledge assets than tangible assets. Market values are now 4-5 times book values in most corporations, and in excess of 100 times in some Internet companies.

  • The knowledge content of goods and services are increasing. More and more we are buying and selling knowledge.

These changes have given birth to new development paradigms. The World Bank has introduced a knowledge-based framework at the national level called the Knowledge-Based Economy or KBE. It consists of four pillars — education; science and technology, and innovation; ICT infrastructure; and economic incentive regime. The Asian Development Bank, through Daan Boom and with the contributions of CCLFI Directors Apin Talisayon and Jasmin Suministrado, expanded this KBE framework to include the applications of KM to the socio-cultural and natural-environmental domains. The resulting framework is called Knowledge-Based Development or KBD. KBD is the combination of two powerful development paradigms: sustainable development and knowledge-based management.

A copy of this ADB publication is available freely at: http://www.adb.org/Documents/Reports/Technical-Notes/Knowledge-Based-Eco...  This paper also examined Asian best practices on national development strategies and programs towards becoming a knowledge-based society and economy.

Developing countries, poor communities and start-up entrepreneurs are discovering that wealth can be created from knowledge and other forms of intangible assets:

  • Human capital: One-tenth of Filipinos are living and working outside the Philippines. They are sending US$15 billion of remittances every year. Services of Filipinos staying at home to work in business process outsourcing companies, including call centers, are earning US$5 billion yearly.

  • Social and structural capital: The success of the famous Grameen Bank model of microfinance is due to, among others, peer pressure to pay loans on time (“social collateral”) and a decentralized management system (structural capital) based on transparency and trust (social capital), and run by dedicated staff (human capital).

  • Stakeholder capital: MySpace.com, an Internet enterprise that created a network of millions of users, was bought by News Corporation for $580 million; ICQ, an Internet instant messaging network of millions of users, was bought by America Online for $287 million.

  • Cultural capital combined with natural capital: UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme in the Philippines has developed a number of successful cultural eco-tourism models of community-based enterprise.
  • CCLFI studies show that successful anti-poverty projects are those that leverage on a community's intangible assets. In addition, they set up structural and stakeholder capital for the community that often possess the three criteria of sustainability: socio-cultural empowerment, economic sustainability, and stability of natural support systems.

The latter observation led CCLFI to a new community-level development framework called the Knowledge for Poverty Alleviation or KPA (click the link to go to the KPA website). This framework was proposed by CCLFI and validated in successful projects funded by the Peace and Equity Foundation (or PEF).The e-book was officially launched by CCLFI and PEF at the World Bank's Development Innovation Marketplace last April 2008. The e-book is entitled “Community Wealth Rediscovered: Knowledge for Poverty Alleviation.”

 It was reported by Apin Talisayon and Jasmin Suministrado in a paper (click HERE to download the paper entitled “Knowledge for Poverty Alleviation: A Framework for Design and Evaluation of Development Projects for Low-Income Communities”) read at the “Knowledge Architectures for Development” conference at Singapore Management University last March 2008.

KM for development is more complex than KM for the corporate sector. In the development sector, there are many stakeholders each with their own perspectives, interests and power. Apin is working with the Information and Knowledge Management Emergent Research Programme (Netherlands) and the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (Germany) to develop a framework for monitoring and evaluation or M&E in KM for development where Apin proposed a generic Sustainable Development Scorecard. Once it is published around mid-2009, the results will be made freely available in this CCLFI website. He is also a member of the Board of Editors of the KM for Development Journal.

 CCLFI is partnering with the Asian Institute of Management’s TeaM Energy Center for Bridging Social Divides to develop and publish an e-manual on Post-Project Knowledge Capture. Once it is published around mid-2009, it will also be made freely available for development workers and development institutions.

 Services that CCLFI offers along KM for development and KBD include:

  • Participatory and appreciative assessment of community intangible and tangible assets (for input to project identification and project design);
  • Pre-project assessment of community strengths and risks;
  • Stakeholder and customer-driven monitoring and evaluation of development projects;
  • Improvement and documentation of work/business processes in government and non-government organizations;
  • Training in KM for development organizations;
  • Customized or generic sustainable development scorecard for local communities;
  • Training in organizational learning practices: lessons-learned sessions and post-project knowledge capture, lessons-oriented manualization, team learning and dialogue, working with mental models, personal learning mode;
  • Setting up and nurturing virtual e-communities;
  • KM for project managers;
  • Demand-driven websites/knowledge repositories for development programs/projects;
  • Documentation of best/good practices, development of best/ good practice template, production of vignettes of best practitioners.

CCLFI has implemented 21 KM projects funded by bilateral or multilateral donor agencies. Read about the Success Factors in KM for Development culled from the experiences of CCLFI in these projects.

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