Global MAKE winners for 2008

I attended yesterday's KM Community Call, hosted by Carla O'Dell of APQC.  The topic was the 2008 Global Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises (MAKE) as announced by Teleos on the 9th of December.

Getting to the meat of things, here are the winners for 2008:

  1. McKinsey & Company
  2. Google
  3. Royal Dutch Shell
  4. Toyota
  5. Wikipedia
  6. Honda Motor
  7. Apple
  8. Fluor
  9. Microsoft
  10. Pricewaterhouse Coopers
  11. Ernst & Young
  12. IBM
  13. Schlumberger
  14. Samsung Group
  15. BP
  16. Unilever
  17. Accenture
  18. Tata Group
  19. Infosys Technologies
  20. APQC

The speakers on the call were, first off, Rory Chase of Teleos, who talked about the awards nomination and selection process and announced the winners.  I had read about the process in the past, and the reports clarify how it is done, but it was interesting to hear about it directly.  Also interesting was the claim that the winners have consistently shown a number of common attributes across the years:

  • creating a corporate knowledge-driven culture
  • developing knowledge workers through senior management leadership
  • innovation
  • maximizing enterprise intellectual capital
  • creating an environment for collaborative knowledge sharing
  • organizational learning
  • delivering value based on stakeholder knowledge
  • transforming enterprise knowledge into stakeholder value

The other thing he said is that the winners typically outperform their peers in a number of familiar business numbers factors, such as shareholder return (outperforming by 2:1!) and R&D expenditure.  And many of the MAKE winners appear on other "most admired" type surveys.  I have to wonder if there is a bit of chicken-and-egg going on in that regard.  Are they admired because they are good at "knowledge management" or are they good at KM because they are watched more closely?  (I've been reading Built to Last , and the answer is "neither."  The companies that last are the ones that are built to do so.  If KM is part of that, then it is there.)

APQC knowledge flow frameworkThe rest of the call was highlights of KM programs from several of the winners.  Carla O'Dell from APQC spoke about their models and findings through the years. This was more of an overview of their research into other companies than discussion of the KM program within APQC.  One thing I liked was the offer of their models to the KM community.  I believe they will be publishing some of this at KM Edge, but the graphic here is one of their models that I found interesting. 

The other thing Carla highlighted was three trends she sees as affecting knowledge management, what she calls the "New Edge of KM:"

  1. Social computing / Wisdom of Crowds
  2. Multiple generations of people at work
  3. KM and innovation

People in KM have heard about the first two for the last five years or so.  And we are now starting to see real deployments of social computing used within corporations as well as corporations acknowledging the great value of knowledge that exists outside their walls (as if that is new).  The "generations" topic has always been a non-starter for me, but the way that Carla described it suggested something a little more interesting.  It's not that there are Gen Y employees in the workplace, it is that workplaces are growing more and more diverse: generationally, culturally, nationality, location.  It's the growing diversity that is going to make for the trends in KM and just about every other area of KM.  And the last element, Innovation, is something I've always associated with KM.

The other speakers were more focused on the KM programs at their companies and showed a range of activities, right across the board for KM.  These were Tom Barfield of Accenture, Dan Narrison (sp?) of Fluor, and Susan Rosenbaum of Schlumberger.

7 Comment(s)

Lauren Trees said:

I'm the editor for APQC's KM Edge blog (, and I just wanted to say thank you so much for the great coverage of our community call yesterday. I also wanted to let your readers know that the slides and audio recording from the call can be accessed at:

Matt Moore said:

I have two problems with the MAKE awards:

- Do those voting for them actually have a clear picture of what's going on inside those organisations KM-wise? In most cases I doubt it. I have a suspicion that a lot of people think: "Hmmm, Google are pretty cool right now. I use their search engine a lot, they must be a knowledge enterprise, why don't I vote for them?". Just because people say they admire you, it doesn't mean what you're doing is any good.

- As a list there are few if any surprises there. It tends to be Fortune 500 companies that make the list (because those are the ones people have heard of) and yet many organisations that are doing cool stuff tend to be smaller and less visible.

I think that in terms of promotion of KM, the MAKE awards are OK. But having worked for 2 of the organisations on that list (one of which topped it a few years ago) and having seen how patchy their KM activities are/were, I'm having my MAKEs with a large pinch of salt.

Jack Vinson Author Profile Page said:

Lauren. Thanks for the link to the recording.

Matt, Thanks. Given Rory Chase's comments during the webinar, I think you are onto something. These companies are Most Admired, so they make it onto any variety of lists. if they are good at X, then they must be good at Y, right?

Luis Suarez said:

Hi Jack! Really really nice blog post! Many thanks for putting it together and for sharing your thoughts on the topic. While going through some of the criteria and also through the listing, one thought came about that's been in my mind for a little while... It looks like I seem to be working for a completely different company or I may be missing something else from the selection criteria. Or both.

Finding it surprising to see how low it came about in the ranking and while reading Matt's comments kind of wondering as well what's happening with those other companies equally admired, but relatively smaller not having a good enough marketing or comunications campaign. Am I missing something larger in here? :-)

PS. For those folks out there reading this, the usual disclaimer; I work for #12 on the list and this is just my personal opinion and perception. My two cents, basically hehe

Melissa said:

I'm curious which are the winners for this year, I bet on Google. Because made such a great impact with Android and the Google TV.

Karina said:

Apple definitely ruled the market! They deserve to win!

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