Change management

Change management (CM) is assisting an organization go through a desired change process. CM is often needed to accompany knowledge management (KM) as well as knowledge-based development (KBD) programs or projects. CM seeks “how” best to implement KM or KBD in any specific context.

Based on global best practices in CM as well as 17 years of experiences of CCLFI on what works, we recommend:

  • A mix of top-down and participatory processes;
  • Appreciative inquiry (to generate energy or enthusiasm that the members will need to participate in the changes);
  • Recruitment of believers and champions for change from within the organization;
  • Engagement of a formal in-house cross-functional team (they know better than external consultants the organizational context and culture);
  • Flexibility and realism.


A. Services that CCLFI offers in CM: 

  • Pre-project assessment and resulting recommendations to determine the need, scope and nature of CM component (a) for input to the design of a larger project, or (b) for augmentation to an existing project;
  • Implementation of the CM component of a project (usually after and based on the above assessment);
  • Participatory assessment of community tangible and intangible assets and liabilities;
  • Multi-disciplinal risk assessment covering both technical and “soft” aspects (e.g. behavioral, cultural and/or social aspects);
  • Social network analysis, political sociogram construction, sociogram among top executives, stakeholder analysis and/or analysis of informal groupings and power relations;
  • Ethnographic assessment of worldviews, values and goals of two or more competing groups;
  • Quantitative identification of potential KM or KBD champions;
  • Quantitative and qualitative forecast of social costs arising from a project; social impact assessment as part of a larger environmental impact assessment; survey of opinions of various publics and stakeholders in relation to a proposed or existing project;
  • Organizational climate survey, generic alone or with additional items customized for a group, community or organization;
  • Design and implementation of policy changes, communication initiative, incentive scheme and/or other management interventions to address a particular organizational issue.


B. CCLFI Experiences in CM 

First, we reproduce here Apin’s answer to an email from Rodrigo Gallegos Veliz from one of the biggest NGOs in Chile, Fundacion Chile. Rodrigo was asking Apin on “How to Start KM” (see links at the right panel). The principles are: start with need or demand, start a small doable project, obtain support from the top, enlist champions or those already with energy, revise the "rules of the game," and show visible results or benefits.

One of the earliest and repeating clients of CCLFI is the Department of Health in the Philippine government. It is the first government agency to adopt KM and establish a KM unit. Read about what worked and what didn't in “KM Lessons at DOH.” 

CCLFI Board Member Alwin Sta. Rosa is the Assistant Vice President for Business Excellence in a big Philippine conglomerate. Based on his experiences in the corporate sector, he advocates that effective CM success is more likely if personal and organizational energies are located and recruited. “Energy management” is thus a new framework CCLFI is developing and testing. CCLFI asked 73 knowledge workers from different organizations the question “what helps you do your job well?” The 850 answers showed that human performance depends not only on knowledge assets but also on motivational or “energy” factors. To read more about this, click “Head and Hearth Approach.” 

The importance of motivation was corroborated by other Asian experiences. In 2006-2007, Dr. Serafin (Apin) Talisayon was designated by the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) to head a team of nine Asian KM experts in producing 22 case studies of good KM practices from different Asian countries. Apin wrote the Overview and Concluding Observations chapters and also edited the resulting book that APO published. One of his surprising observations is that good KM practitioners often employ a variety of means to motivate knowledge workers (click “Motivating Knowledge Workers”). KM is about knowing how to do a job well, but Apin found that “willing-to” or “wanting-to” is as important as “knowing-how”! 

In 1991-1998, Apin had valuable experiences in CM at the national level when he was appointed by President Fidel V. Ramos as Assistant Secretary for Policy and Plans at the National Security Council. Among his first duties was to assist (described briefly in “Reflecting on Philippines 2000”) in the preparation of an economic reform strategy and program for President Ramos’ government. CM at the national level can be seen as based on the same principles as CM at the organizational level.  

CM requires a different perspective and skill set: process awareness rather than content expertise, affective more than cognitive skills, sensitivity to feelings more than technical excellence, etc. After Apin presented a paper entitled “Some Stories about How Personality and Culture Come into Our Knowledge Management Practice” at a KM conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last June 2008, KM guru Larry Prusak complimented him for giving the “best presentation in the conference.”

To get more evidence for CM, CCLFI studied the 21 development-oriented KM projects it had implemented since 2001 and culled the success factors in starting and sustaining KM initiatives (click “Success Factors in KM” on the right panel). These KM/KBD projects were funded by bilateral or multilateral donor organizations, or were KM projects for their own Philippine offices.