ISO Knowledge Economics Standards Committee Forming LO27018

From: Mark W. McElroy (
Date: 07/18/01

Replying to LO27000 --


Given the sweeping implications of the press release posted below by the
group that calls itself GKEC, officials of the Knowledge Management
Consortium International ( ) , myself included, took it upon
ourselves to contact ANSI to learn more about the knowledge management
standards efforts described by GKEC and the role that GKEC claims it has,
or will be, securing for itself. The results of our inquiry to ANSI
reveals that Mr. Swanstrom's claims are a stretch at best and that the
reality of what's happening at ANSI vis a vis knowledge management
standards development is a far cry from what was described by Mr.
Swanstrom's notice to this forum. In the interest of accuracy, I am
posting ANSI's response to me below:

Dear Mr. McElroy:

I am responding at the request of Fran Schrotter to your inquiries
regarding the recent GKEC press release (copied below). ANSI has
expressed its concerns to GKEC that this press release contains a number
of statements that are either incorrect or reflect a misunderstanding of
the ANSI and ISO standards development processes and systems, including:
 * The press release assumes that ANSI and ISO will proceed with this new
activity. However, there will be a number of process and approval steps
necessary before we know whether both ANSI and ISO will do so or not. I
have detailed these steps below.
 * GKEC would not be considered "the U.S. Knowledge Management (KM) and
Knowledge Economics (KE) Standards representative to the International
Standards Organization (ISO)". Each country has a specific organization
that serves as the ISO member for that country, and ANSI is the
dues-paying U.S. representative to ISO. Within the ISO committees, it is
the ISO member organizations from the various countries (such as ANSI for
the USA) that are considered the members. Each country has its own means
and procedures for developing its positions and determining its delegates
to ISO committees. ANSI establishes and accredits U.S. Technical Advisory
Groups (US/TAGs) in relation to specific ISO committees to work in ANSI's
name for these purposes. GKEC may request that ANSI assign responsibility
to GKEC to serve as secretariat of the ISO committee (if formed) on ANSI's
behalf and/or to serve as the US/TAG administrator. In addition, GKEC may
serve as a member of the US/TAG and as a delegate to the international
meetings of the ISO committee.
 * GKEC will not be forming the US/TAG "within ISO" (US/TAGs are U.S.
consensus committees at our national level formed in relation to an ISO
committee at the international level).
 * A decision has not yet been made by the ANSI Executive Standards
Council that GKEC will serve as the US/TAG Administrator. This is a
separate ANSI process of application, public review and accreditation.
If you would like additional information on this process, please contact
James Thompson of ANSI staff (copied on this message).
 * Subcommittees in specific subject areas may be formed, and the
leadership of them will be assigned to specific ISO member organizations
from different countries. It cannot be assumed that "GKEC will spearhead
metrics standards efforts, KMCB will concentrate on competency standards,
and KIMPS will develop general KE/KM Standards". These may not be the
fields that will be agreed to by the ISO member organizations, and GKEC,
KMCB and KIMPS are not ISO member organizations to whom the ISO
subcommittee leadership roles can be assigned.
 * GKEC may wish to coordinate with its contacts in other countries to
generate interest and support for this proposal, and to ensure
participation via the appropriate ISO member organizations. However, the
official membership of the ISO committee, if formed, will result from ISO
soliciting its membership on their interests in participating. It will
not be a group of countries selected by GKEC and a country's participation
will not be contingent on "setting up a GKEC standards committee within
(the) country".

> In terms of process, once GKEC has developed its proposal and the
> accompanying documentation, it will submit them to me. Once I receive
> them, ANSI takes the following specific steps on all such proposals:
> 1) ANSI will subject the proposal and justification study to an open
> commenting period to all ANSI members and to the general public. This
> will generally be a two to three month commenting period.
> 2) At the close of the open commenting period, ANSI staff will compile
> all input received, and based on this input develop a recommended position
> on whether ANSI should submit the proposal to ISO.
> 3) This recommended position and the complete compiled comments will be
> sent to the International Committee (IC) of ANSI's Board of Directors for
> review and approval of the recommended position. This action of the IC
> will take one month.
> 4) If the recommended position is to submit the proposal to ISO, and the
> IC approves this position, the proposal and justification study will be
> submitted by ANSI to ISO.
> Once ISO receives the proposal and justification study, it will first have
> the ISO Technical Management Board evaluate the justification study and
> take a decision on whether the proposal and study have complied with ISO
> Guide 72. This evaluation and decision may be handled by correspondence
> and would take one month. If it is decided that the proposal and study
> comply with ISO Guide 72, they will be sent to all of the approximately
> 140 ISO member organizations for a three-month voting period to approve
> the new field of activity. After the close of the three-month ballot, the
> ISO Technical Management Board will review the results of voting and make
> a decision on whether the new technical activity is established or not.
> Both during this three-month ballot and after, ISO members have the
> opportunity to indicate their interest in participating on the committee,
> if formed.
> I hope this information is helpful to you, and please let me know if you
> have any additional questions.
> My best regards,
> Steven P. Cornish
> ANSI Director, International Policy

Ed Swanstrom wrote:

> GKEC Forming ISO Knowledge Economics Standards Committees
> [Knowledge Economics covers learning economics, attention economics,
> innovation economics, technological change economics, cognitive economics,
> etc. along with contributions from other social sciences. Could lead to an
> interesting conversation within OL - Ed Swanstrom]
> The Global Knowledge Economics Council (GKEC, at has become
> a member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), beginning
> the process of serving as the U.S. Knowledge Management (KM) and Knowledge
> Economics (KE) Standards representative to the International Standards
> Organization (ISO).
> As part of its ANSI responsibilities, the GKEC will begin the formation of
> a KE/KM Technical Advisory Group (TAG) within ISO and serve as its TAG
> Administrator. ISO TAG and sub-committee membership will be open to KE
> and KM practitioners worldwide, but current and active members of GKEC,
> the Knowledge Management Certification Board (KMCB, at
> and the Knowledge and Innovation
> Management Professional Society (KIMPS, at are
> especially encouraged to join the KE/KM TAG in establishing standards for
> this new field of ISO technical activity. GKEC will spearhead metrics
> standards efforts, KMCB will concentrate on competency standards, and
> KIMPS will develop general KE/KM Standards.
> Expressing support for the GKEC standards initiatives, Harry Tobin
> (PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Chair of KMCB) stated, "Going forward, the
> Board considers working with the GKEC on the development of Knowledge
> Management Standards for Competency a top priority." Rick Dickey (U.S.
> Department of Defense, and President of KIMPS) "would like to see the full
> participation of KIMPS members in all aspects of the GKEC standards
> discussions as the KIMPS organization strives to set standards and
> accelerate the innovation of the Knowledge and Innovation Management
> profession."
> The GKEC will soon be assisting in the formation of ISO committees to
> represent Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand,
> China, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Saudi Arabia, Jordan,
> Kenya, Israel, and any other nation interested in setting up a GKEC
> standards committee within its own country. The GKEC will also work with
> Standards Australia, and the British Standards group.
> The first coordinated GKEC, KMCB,and KIMPS standards meetings will be held
> in Washington (D.C.), September 10-13, 2001, at the McLean Marriott. See
> for more information on that conference.
> For the current list of members of the standards committee, see
> If you are interested in joining a KE/KM standards subcommittee, please
> join or send me an email.
> Help shape the future of KM!
> Edward Swanstrom
> Secretary-General
> Global Knowledge Economics Council (GKEC)

Caveat emptor!


Mark W. McElroy


"Mark W. McElroy" <>

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