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What's in a name? Shifting to Modern Knowledge Management and why it matters.

Knowledge management (KM) can be a tricky business. One of the challenges I’ve faced when discussing KM with clients is that it suffers from what I think of as the everything and nothing complex: Overtime KM all too often becomes something that everyone does, but for which no one is responsible. Or a practice that one person (or one department) leads, and therefore no one actually does. I've come to understand why. The fundamental notion of “managing knowledge” is big and amorphous and likely even flawed (but I can get into that some other time).


Why this challenge? After a decade working in this space, I have a few ideas.

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Shell partners with Bio-Bean to fuel London buses with coffee grounds

The average Londoner drinks 2.3 cups of coffee a day2 which produces over 200,000 tonnes3 of waste a year, much of which would otherwise end in landfill with the potential to emit 126million kg of CO24. bio-bean works to collect some of these waste coffee grounds from high street chains and factories.The grounds are dried and processed before coffee oil is extracted. bio-bean works with its fuel partner Argent Energy to process this oil into a blended B20 biofuel. 6,000 litres of coffee oil has been produced, which if used as a pure-blend for the bio component and mixed with mineral diesel to form a B20, could help power the equivalent of one London bus for a year. 

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Ernest and Young: Impact Investing Goes Mainstream

While impact investing has been around for decades, to date, it’s been largely the province of small and middle market private funds, NGOs or other quasi-public entities, many of which focused on projects with high social impacts, but that may have delivered below-market rate (concessionary) returns. However, that picture and focus is changing. Increasing awareness around social issues is precipitating a generational shift that is driving an increasing amount of assets toward investments that are serving as a social additive. Large, established managers have entered the space, backed largely by traditional private equity (PE) LPs, many of whom are making some of their first allocations to impact investments, suggesting that the asset class may finally be going mainstream. Perhaps most importantly, this new generation of investors are adamant that returns can be comparable to, or better than, other non-impact investments. 

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HBR: Competing on Social Purpose

"Consumers increasingly expect brands to have not just functional benefits but a social purpose. As a result, companies are taking social stands in very visible ways. Airbnb used a Super Bowl ad to publicly cement its commitment to diversity. Tecate, based in Mexico, is investing heavily in programs to reduce violence against women, and Vicks, a P&G brand in India, supports child-adoption rights for transgender people. Brands increasingly use social purpose to guide marketing communications, inform product innovation, and steer investments toward social cause programs. And that’s all well and good when it works. But missteps are common, and they can have real consequences." 

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Blockchain as a New Concept of CSR

"The possibility of using blockchain technology to monitor the origin of a product or to record intangibles, such as hours worked, opens up a new field that could revolutionize the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility.


 As blockchain technology gains familiarity and is further established, new ideas about its possible applications are getting more and more widespread. Little by little, these ideas are taking shape, either as proposals or as projects that are already underway in different market sectors. The banking, insurance and energyindustries have probably shown the most interest, investing resources and efforts to develop new uses for it. Blockchain technology has not gone unnoticed by the governments of different countries, nor among the institutions that comprise the third sector." 

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SSIR: Across the Returns Continuum

 Omidyar Foundation argues that investors should consider accepting below-market returns only in certain limited circumstances. At Omidyar Network, they accept such returns only—with very rare exceptions—when intentionally pursuing market-level impact. They have developed a clear framework for assessing that kind of impact. Adopting such an approach should not provide an excuse for investing in weak business models. But in certain circumstances, Omidyar Foundation believes, impact-oriented investors should adjust their return expectations in order to support companies that have the potential to catalyze new markets that will drive social change. 

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