International Association of Knowledge Auditors (Proposal)

Dr Ann Hylton - Knowledge Auditor and Author

Dr Ann Hylton - Knowledge Auditor and Author


I am proposing the formation of this professional body for Knowledge Auditors and asking that interested parties make their interest known to me. This will help me to determine if Knowledge Audit Specialists and Practitioners:
(a) want such a Knowledge Auditing professional body
(b) would like to be founding members of this association.
Founding members will have the important role of being committee members, (if they so desire), with all that such membership entails in a professional body organization.

The simple RATIONAL for this proposed professional body for Knowledge Auditors is:

1. I believe that the field or discipline of Knowledge Auditing has reached the level of maturity to warrant such an association.

2. There are only a few 'practicing' Knowledge Auditors and Knowledge Auditing Consultancies world-wide and we work disparately.

3. There are wide and varied methodologies, systems and standards of knowledge auditing being developed and used.

4. It is now time for commonality of base or core elements, methodologies and standards be determined and agreed within the field/profession of Knowledge Auditing, while still, of course naturally, allowing for variation in approaches, emphasis and delivery.

5. The Field/Profession/Discipline of Knowledge Auditing needs this level of credibility, which it currently does not have.

*Note: The above points are NOT necessarily in priority order, neither are they exhaustive.

If you are interested, as per above, you can email me at:

You can also visit my website to learn more about me as a Knowledge Auditor.

Note: Here on Knowledge-Management-Online is the first and only forum that I have submitted this information/proposal/call.

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Jul 13, 2008
Re: what is this about? by: Dave Snowden
by: Dr Ann Hylton

Dear Dave
Your comments are noted with thanks and humility. As one of the highly respected great pioneers of KM, I am sure that many will give due consideration and weight to your views on this "International Association of Knowledge Auditors (Proposal)". I certainly will.

At this point I consider it inappropriate to answer your posed questions: "What is the field?", "What do you mean by an audit?", "What professional standards would you introduce?".

However, such questions will undoubtedly have to be addressed and fully explored in due course, if there is sufficient interest in the proposal to warrant it. Indeed, these are the types of foundation or fundamental questions that MUST be examined in detail by the founding members of such a knowledge auditing association (if this association were ever formed).

Also, concerning professional groups in KM as a whole, I would not want to venture into that debate. However, correct me if I am wrong, but are there not already credible Knowledge Management (KM) professional bodies of different flavours in existence?.

Concerning your statement/views on the page rating system of this forum. That has nothing to do with me or the members of this forum. This is how the principals of Knowledge-Management-Online have structured it.

Finally, as I have stated in response to previous comments, it is my position to remain as neutral as possible.

With Sincerity
Dr Ann Hylton
Chief Knowledge Auditor, Consultant and Trainer
skype: pdah77

Jul 13, 2008
Re: An interesting idea - by Gopika Kannan
by: Dr Ann Hylton

Dear Gopika
Sorry for taking so long to reply to your comment of July 2. I did not realize it was there until today (July 13).

Your comments are noted. Thanks. I look forward to others responding to what you have said.

With Sincerity
Dr Ann Hylton
Chief Knowledge Auditor, Consultant and Trainer
skype: pdah77

Jul 12, 2008
what is this about?
by: Dave Snowden

I was very tempted just to do an attack blog on the very idea, but decided best to ask first. What is the field? At the moment it is very dubious that a professional group could (or should) be formed for KM as a whole, let alone audit. What do you mean by an audit? What professional standards would you introduce?

PS asking people to rate your page is a bit off, setting the default to 5* (highest) is very dubiouls. If you are going to do it give people a "do not wish to rate" option, pendng that I chose lowest simply in protest at the limited options

Jul 02, 2008
An interesting idea
by: Gopika Kannan

Dear Ann,

I think this is a great idea. I have used knowledge audits extensively in my work which has focused on post-merger integration. In my experience a well conducted knowledge audit presents valuable insights and is a great decision support tool. There is definitely a need to standardize the methodologies used and to make it available to a larger audience.


Jun 21, 2008
Reply to Patrick Lambe's Response
by: Dr Ann Hylton

Dear Patrick
Thank you for your prompt response to the posting. Indeed you are the first to respond, as I only posted this late yesterday evening (Europe time). So if this association becomes a reality, then that makes you the second member (myself being the first) and so automatically you qualify for a senior committee post (unless you decline).

Now, I will refrain from commenting directly on your views/suggestions, as I want to be as objective as possible concerning this proposal. Rather I am planning to post responses that I get and let others comment. Then after a period, if the responses warrant it, I can do an analysis and write a report. But first let us see if there are any further responses or interest.

Much Blessings
Dr. Ann Hylton

Jun 20, 2008
Intrigued by Proposal for International Association of Knowledge Auditors
by: Patrick Lambe

Hi Ann
I was intrigued by your proposal for an international association of knowledge auditors. I'm curious to know what kind of response you get, because although I agree with your general principles, I wonder if it's too small and fragmented a field to be able to form an association. Another alternative might be to associate with another association as a chapter eg a KM association or something like ISKO.

So curious to know more about the response and open minded

Patrick Lambe

Jun 19, 2008
Thank You Ron Young for Your Active Support
by: Dr Ann Hylton

Dear Ron
Thank you for your comments/feedback. I am happy that you find the idea/proposal appealing. I will comment on your points, generally.

I prefer that all responses, whether by email to me, or posted here on the KMOsite, be public so that every one can know directly what others are saying and thinking and freely comment. Then at the appropriate time I will do the analysis and write a report based on the responses. Next action will depend on the findings/conclusions of the Report. Also, I want to remain objective throughout this process.

Let me say that I could write, or I could have written, a book concerning my dissappointments in the early, let's say formative, years of my KM consultancy (back in the Hylton Associates days), concerning this very issue.

Once I had determined that my almost exclusive KM specialist/practice area would be the Knowledge Audit (back in 2000/2001), my natural next move was to target 'Traditional' Auditors as both partners and customers. It was logical, it made absolute sense, it was right... or so I believed. That also, incidentally, included representatives of the, yes then, BIG 5.

I myself knew many accounts and auditors: colleagues, associates and even very close friends. I even had one or two as principals in Hylton Associates. And I wanted them all to work with me in cohort to give the Knowledge Audit due professional credibility. I gave presentations to their professional bodies also. But, while I did get plenty of nods of approval, none of them could really fathom what I was trying to show them. It seems, sadly, that I was 'far' ahead of my time.

I must say also that I did try to get the British KM Standards Committee interested, indirectly, via two of my then Associates who worked closely with the British Standards concerning Business Processes Standards. To be sincere, I don't even really know why the KM Standards Committee was never interested.

Since this is not the 'book' that I could or even should, have written, let me just say that I gave up my former quest in frustration, leaving it to time. But, I knew then, and know perhaps even more now that it would be only a matter of time that active, or should I say pro-active interest would come concerning proper standards for the Knowledge Audit.

Let us see what the response from this proposal for the International Association of Knowledge Auditors reveals.

As always
Much Blessings to you and the KMOsite Team.
Dr Ann Hylton

Jun 18, 2008
A very worthy initiative indeed
by: Ron Young

Dear Ann,

I have always been strongly in favour of the knowledge audit and I continue to promote the concept whenever I can at conferences, seminars and master classes.

The idea of an International Association of Knowledge Auditors is very appealing.

In Hong Kong 2002, a global conference for accounting and auditing firms was held with the over-riding theme 'redefining the auditor in the knowledge driven economy'.

When I worked with the British Standards Institution KM Standards Committee until 2003, we discussed knowledge asset auditing regularly.

We talked with the then 'big 5' Accounting Practices who advised that they were all working on more innovative audit processes that embraced knowledge as an asset.

Various standards and KM bodies around the world have talked about this in varying degrees.

But the fact remains that today, there seems to be no evidence of further development. Also, as you probably know much better than I, there is little appreciation and implementation of this concept in many parts of the world.

I believe that a key to all of this is the inclusive approach to the methodologies on the one hand, yet the need for a rigorous audit process on the other.

Maybe the time is right to surface this important issue again, through your initiative.

I would suggest a meeting in London some time when we could try to invite some interested practitioners, accounting firms and standards bodies?

Or is it better for you to see what interest and comment you can develop first?

Anyway, I am interested in your initiative and would like to see it develop further.

Good luck


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