The KM strategy map
In another reprise from the archives, here’s a post about that useful tool, the KM strategy map
A strategy map is an established way of mapping out the strategy of a company in a visual way, The approach was invented by Robert S Kaplan, and is well described in this HBR article from which the example above – a strategy map of Volvo Dealership – is taken. A strategy map can be linked to Balanced Scorecard, and can be used to explain why a company is choosing the initiatives that it has.
The standard Kaplan map starts from the vision, and works down, via elements of the strategy (in the example shown, growth and efficiency), then looks at the financial, customer, process and learning elements or objectives that support it.
Knowledge Management should be aligned with this strategy map.
As we know, Knowledge Management should be driven by the corporate vision and strategy, and should support the key activities that are needed to deliver that strategy. When Kaplan and Norton developed the ideas around strategy maps (later published in this book), KM was in its infancy and the “learning” elements were pretty generic (and to be honest, judging from examples, the learning elements are still pretty generic). What KM can do is make these less generic, more specific, and show how the elements of KM can directly support the business strategy.
As an example, I have added a Knowledge Management layer to the HBR “Volvo dealership” example. Sales and Marketing, for example, can be supported by more than generic “active participation, quality focused co-workers” etc, it can be supported by a Sales and Marketing CoP, actively developing and sharing ideas, solutions, good practices, and so on. Similarly continued education of Volvo dealers can be supported by an online knowledge based, eLearning, and a dealers’ community of practice.
Each KM intervention supports a process, which supports a customer and financial objective.
The two advantages of this form of strategic map is that it helps the KM team top focus on those interventions that most directly support business strategy, and it makes it clear to the business how KM will help in delivering that strategy.