Excerpt from ADB's Annual Report 2011: Knowledge and Learning for Organizational Effectiveness

The Knowledge Management Framework crafted in 2004 began ADB’s evolution into a learning institution that delivers knowledge for development effectiveness in Asia and the Pacific. In 2011, these 7-year efforts were rewarded with global recognition.

With a citation for collaborative, enterprise-wide knowledge sharing, ADB’s first-ever win in the prestigious Asian Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises award—in which it was one of 20 top Asian entities (and one of only four from the public sector) picked by a panel of Fortune 500 executives and knowledge management experts—confirms ADB’s progress.

One of the main reasons for the accolade was ADB’s successful completion of the Knowledge Management Action Plan, 2009–2011. This comprised a succinct set of actions and outputs organized into four priorities: sharpening the knowledge focus in ADB’s operations, empowering communities of practice (CoPs), strengthening external knowledge partnerships, and further enhancing staff learning and development.

To sharpen focus on, and improve understanding of, knowledge in its operations, ADB completed three studies in 2011. The first investigated demand for ADB knowledge products through resident missions and regional offices and pointed to the need to better identify audiences and prepare matching products. The second identified learning issues that might be resolved with better knowledge classification, enabling efficient retrieval and sharing of data, information, and knowledge. The third revealed the increasing emphasis in country partnership strategies, reports and recommendations to the President, and technical assistance reports on knowledge management and communications.

To further empower the 14 CoPs it hosts, ADB engaged CoP members in the peer review process for country partnership strategies and lending products. It involved CoP leaders in internal and external selection panels for international staff positions. CoP member contributions were officially recognized in performance reviews.

To strengthen external knowledge partnerships, ADB published the Guidelines for Knowledge Partnerships, which provided a framework for strengthening ADB’s existing partnerships and developing new ones. Notably, the guidelines integrated the Criteria for Evaluating Development Assistance formulated by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

To better capture and expand the know-how of staff, ADB introduced a searchable technical skills registry to plan work, support recruitment, and direct career paths. It also developed modalities for learning, from flash animations to e-learning modules. Complementing these were new avenues for bringing knowledge closer to staff. One example is i.prompt.u, the first-ever e-newsletter for CoPs. It is database-driven, with each issue harvesting for wider impact the news, events, and knowledge products promoted by individual CoPs.

ADB’s work on building a living archive, initiated in 2008, proceeded with the construction of an interactive multimedia platform showcasing ADB’s accomplishments in sustainable development. The platform is based on an ADB and a world sustainable development timeline, ADB historical milestones, and a timeline of ADB-hosted CoPs. It highlights firsts and fosters learning. It is intended to energize staff recruitment and induction, enrich conferences and other events, and boost ADB’s profile externally.

ADB’s drive to broaden understanding of tools, methods, and approaches for knowledge management and learning continued through the Knowledge Solutions and Knowledge Showcases series.