Companies failing to generate revenues from corporate know-how

From: Adaptation Ltd
Published: Sat Mar 03 2007

Less than one in ten companies in a recent examination of the business development strategies of sixty companies are making effective use of what their people know to develop new income streams, according to Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas, author of ‘the knowledge entrepreneur’, while not one is helping its people to adopt the more successful approaches of high performers.

Commenting upon the latest stage in a continuing investigation at the University of Lincoln Coulson-Thomas explains: "The ‘knowledge management’ initiatives encountered were capturing and sharing existing know-how rather than helping people to compete and win. Companies are adopting managerial rather than entrepreneurial approaches."

The Professor considers new priorities are necessary: "The focus is upon managing what is currently known, rather than creating new information and knowledge-based services, tools, ventures and businesses. Most knowledge management processes are missing an explicit knowledge exploitation stage."

The investigation whose findings are summarised in Coulson-Thomas’ book ‘The Knowledge Entrepreneur’ reveals that most organisations and executives are barely scratching the surface. The book examines processes and practices for exploiting knowledge and highlights the scope for both improving the performance of existing operations and creating new knowledge-based products and services.

‘The Knowledge Entrepreneur’ reveals an enormous gulf between achievement and potential. Coulson-Thomas believes: "We stand at the threshold of a new management revolution. There is simply enormous potential for knowledge entrepreneurship, performance improvement and developing the additional knowledge needed to deliver greater customer and shareholder value."

Many companies operate in sectors in which know-how accounts for an increasing proportion of the value being generated for customers. Yet according to Coulson-Thomas "they lack an explicit strategy for obtaining, developing, sharing and exploiting know-how. Corporate culture, policies, processes and practices should all be supportive of knowledge entrepreneurship."

Coulson-Thomas warns: "We need to step up from information and knowledge management to knowledge entrepreneurship. There is an urgent requirement for knowledge entrepreneurs who know how to acquire, develop, package, share, manage and exploit information, knowledge and understanding."

The professor suggests "Individual business executives should endeavour to be role models when learning and sharing information, knowledge and understanding. They should understand the key requirements for success in the knowledge society and information age. Many boardroom and meeting room discussions would be enlightened by the presence of one or more knowledge entrepreneurs."

Coulson-Thomas concludes: "Overall, much greater effort needs to be devoted to knowledge creation and exploitation. Directors and senior executives should assess the scope for knowledge entrepreneurship, and consider steps they might take to create and enable a community of knowledge entrepreneurs and stimulate and launch new knowledge-based ventures."

’The Knowledge Entrepreneur’ by Colin Coulson-Thomas (Kogan Page, £22.50, Hardback, 0 7494 3946 7, 240 pages) can be ordered by: Tel. 01903 828800; Fax. 020 7837 6348; E-mail: or from

Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas is an active consultant and an experienced chairman of award winning companies. He has reviewed the processes and practices of over 100 companies and helped over 100 boards to improve board and corporate performance. Tel: +44 (0)1733 361149; Fax: +44 (0)1733 361459; Email: or
Company: Adaptation Ltd
Contact Name: Colin Coulson-Thomas
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Contact Phone: +44(0)1733361149

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