In a fully connected and ever-changing world, what does knowledge mean? 

 The global public has access to seemingly all the information that one might desire to know. However, despite this possibility, understanding and information are still somehow disconnected from each other. There seems to be only a select few who can decipher data in a way that presents that data. Yet, again, this translation often does not reach the general public or even the practitioners and professionals that might use it.

So, we might take a few steps back and ask ourselves, first, “What is knowledge?” Knowledge is the absolute, indisputable truth that is often provided in the form of information or indicated intuitively. Knowledge is grander than memorization or recollection because it involves a processing phase, one in which an individual or group absorbs specific information in a manner that allows them to heighten their understanding or to earn from such information.

Upon defining the concept of knowledge, we can return to our first question and ask, “What does knowledge mean?” and further, “What does knowledge represent?” An ageless discussion, knowledge is sometimes pursued individual understanding in and of itself, yet more often, knowledge is sought as a means to an end. As a vessel of transportation, knowledge is often necessitated throughout and within the search for solutions. However, in a world where problems are vast and solutions sporadic, a conversation on the obtention and usage of knowledge might be at hand.

Knowledge is absolute; yet, the vast connectedness of our world often makes it difficult to transmit this importance. Our system demands some sort of network for the spread and sharing of knowledge so that our interconnectedness and subsequent delivery of expertise will not be corrupted by political sway nor by personal beliefs. The world has a great need for reliable data and transparent information so that we can create solutions. This need will not be met in a single location nor come from an exclusive mindset.

We must have a more meaningful conversation on Knowledge Management (KM), and more so, a discussion about the platform from which we can appropriately discuss KM. In the age of information, why is knowledge attainment so difficult?

“Knowledge Management is the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge” (Davenport, 1994).

Organizations must be given instruction and access to construct and promote their systems of Knowledge Management. This has mostly been the missing step in the process of obtaining information and drawing out knowledge from that information. Therefore, there must be a more significant network that allows individuals, or better pre-existing organizations, who wish to seek and assist in the dissemination of knowledge, to connect with and be supported by each other.

The International Council for Small Business Launches A Knowledge Network

It was off of this basis that the International Council for Small Business (ICSB) launched their Knowledge Hub, or KHub, network. The idea was originated and promoted by the Chair of ICSB, Mr. Ahmed Osman. Operating in collaboration, these KHubs work to promote entrepreneurial missions across the globe. With ICSB functioning in the middle of these centers, they will work to connect and uplift the voices of those who seek real knowledge.

Their KHub structure works similarly to a membership role in that organizations from around the world subscribe to ICSB in the form of KHub members and are thereby given the benefits of individual members and receive support as an organization at large. This bolstering relationship not only connects KHubs to other ICSB members and organizations, but it also provides the KHubs with a platform off of which to operate and with support from the ICSB Senior Leadership. Therefore, organizations that are interested in encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship and the stimulation of small businesses are now capable of developing their organization and their reach even further. Portrayed in the form of monthly access to collaborative mentoring, ICSB Leadership helps and supports KHubs, provides critical reviews of how an organization can advance in its vision, and better supports their organization’s participants.

If KHubs is the solution to connecting individuals and organizations to real knowledge, then the International Council for Small Business has well used the principles of frugal innovation to work to fill the void in the entrepreneurial understanding of knowledge. In hopes of creating more significant opportunities for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises worldwide as well as for the more significant human population, we might consider the practice of Human Entrepreneurship as a common goal to connect these KHubs. Not only could a virtuous standard of HumEnt be regarded as a motivating factor, however, but KHubs can also aspire to further their Knowledge Management en route to practicing HumEnt. KHubs behold the potential to change the channels of Knowledge Management significantly worldwide toward the attainment of a positive Humane Entrepreneurship status for firms and, potentially, for national Leadership.

To learn about ICSB Knowledge Hubs:

Article by:

Dr. Ayman El Tarabishy
President & CEO, ICSB
Deputy Chair, Department of Management, GW School of Business