KNOWLEDGE-BASED ECONOMIES AND SOCIETIES
of presentation to NSW KM Forum, Standards Australia, 1 April 2004.
Paul reviewed the
Australian Bureau of Statistics’ measures of Australia’s knowledge-based
economy and society, released as a web-based compendium in September 2003 and
based on an earlier discussion paper, Measuring
a Knowledge-based Economy and Society: an Australian Framework, published in 2002.
Government policy is shaped
by the premise that an increased level of knowledge in society leads to
economic growth. This direction is influenced by the work of international
bodies such as OECD and APEC in defining and benchmarking the ingredients of knowledge-based
economies and societies and developing the rationale for associated
programs. The transition to a knowledge-based economy and society, the
ABS discussion paper argues, needs structural change rather than incremental
or windfall change.
measurement framework is needed to drive this change. The ABS chose a suite of
indicators as its preferred framework, influenced particularly by the work of
APEC, rather than a single index, a direct measurement approach, and other
approaches identified in 2002 discussion paper.
Australian framework consists of three core dimensions: innovation and
entrepreneurship; human capital; and information and communications
technology. Two other dimensions – contexts; economic and social impacts –
make up the package, although these are not currently available on the ABS
website. In addition to the
four levels of pages linking dimensions, characteristics, indicators, tables,
charts and commentary, the ABS site has information on associated projects,
activities and tools. These
include, for example, a survey measuring Australian business innovation,
expected to be completed at the end of 2004, and the gratis e-newsletter Science
and Technology Statistics Update Bulletin.
on research from local and overseas bodies such OECD, European Commission,
DIST, DEST and ARC, 99 More Unuseless Japanese Inventions, Arts
Business’s Measuring the Arts, The Arts Council of England’s Measuring
the Economic and Social Impacts of the Arts, The White House’s Guidelines
for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility and Integrity of
Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies, Sexton’s Good
Intelligence Couldn’t Make Itself Heard Against the Noise of McNamara’s
Band (SMH 1.4.04), Neustadt and May’s Thinking in Time: The Uses of
History for Decision Makers, IBIS’s industry and enterprise indicators,
Stewart’s Intellectual Capital, Burk & Horton’s Infomap,
Zairi’s Benchmarking for Best Practice, Allee’s The Knowledge
Evolution, Davenport’s Information
Ecology, Tiwani’s The Knowledge Management Toolkit and selected
posts to ACT-KM, Paul
briefly touched on indicator types, principles, limitations, pitfalls and
lessons. He asked whether metrics for value, performance, knowledge management
and a knowledge based economy and society were the same or different,
whether subjectivity can be introduced into statistical frameworks
(such as those incorporated in Measuring the Arts, another thin air
business), and to what extent the ABS framework can be adapted for use in
he posed the questions: what are the implications for the NSW KM Forum? Is
there a KM community in Australia? Who represents it? Is it possible – or
even desirable – for it to speak with a unified voice? What is its position
on the ABS Framework? How does it
intend to contribute to the development of the Framework?
ABS compendium and associated information is available at the Australian
Bureau of Statistics site http://www.abs.gov.au.
Paul’s article Libraries in the Online Environment:
Part 1: Contexts (Online Currents January/February 2004), briefly
surveying recent research on knowledge-based economies societies and national
information policies, is now available with a bibliography on the Wolanski
Foundation site. He
would be happy to make his PowerPoint presentation and accompanying rough
notes available to anyone who is interested.