Networking Meeting

 Following on from the webinar on "7 Deadly Sins of Knowledge Sharing" Andrew Lamb from Sustainable Improvement Team, NHS England produced a blog on Knowledge Enabled Organisations

Knowledge Enabled Organisations

The now defunct Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise (MAKE) awards identified the leading knowledge-enabled organisations, those characterized by, "the rate at which an organisation is transforming its tacit and explicit knowledge into new enterprise intellectual capital and increased shareholder value (or in the case of non-profit and public organisations, stakeholder capital)".   Between 1998 and 2017, MAKE finalists were assessed against eight criteria:

  • Creating an enterprise knowledge-driven culture
  • Developing knowledge workers through senior management leadership
  • Developing and delivering knowledge-based products/services/solutions
  • Maximising enterprise intellectual capital
  • Creating an environment for collaborative enterprise knowledge sharing
  • Creating a learning organisation
  • Delivering value based on stakeholder knowledge
  • Transforming enterprise knowledge into shareholder/stakeholder value

Technology multinationals - Google, Apple, Samsung, IBM, Mircosoft - were MAKEs regularly; international consultancy service organisations too – including PWC, Deloitte and Accenture.  European MAKEs included LEGO, Atos IT Solutions and Royal Dutch Shell.  It was rare, however, to see non-profit or health sector MAKEs.


It's never been more important for the NHS to be knowledge enabled.   The Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt MP, the former Health Secretary, in a 2016 presentation to the Global Patient Safety Forum, reaffirmed and built on the idea he’d outlined in a 2015 speech to the Kings Fund, for the NHS to become the world’s largest learning organisation, a criteria of MAKE.  In the context of avoidable deaths, he spoke of building a culture of transparency and learning, saying, “we can see world class organisations…have the boldness to probe more deeply, thus learning precious lessons…”, concluding, that learning should be, “…fired by an insatiable curiosity to pursue improvement”.

This echoed and reinforced recommendation six of the patient safety Berwick Report (2013):  “The NHS should become a learning organisation.  Its leaders should create and support the capability for learning, and therefore change, at scale.

Both link knowledge and learning with improvement and change.  To not only address avoidable deaths, but the health and well-being, care and quality, and funding and efficiency gaps (Five Year Forward View, 2014), the NHS’s future will be marked by innovation, integration and transformation.  To improve and change, it needs to adopt the intent of Hunt and Berwick – to build an enterprise-wide knowledge culture, maximise intellectual capital and create a learning organisation.  And a good place to start would be to talk with some of the MAKEs, learn from their successes and challenges.   In this way, the NHS can begin its journey towards a (most) admired knowledge enterprise.

To learn more about how the NHS can be knowledge-enabled, take a look at this NHS animation, Better Knowledge, Better Care, developed by my team.


Andrew Lambe

Senior Knowledge and Intelligence Manager, Sustainable Improvement Team, NHS England