Measuring knowledge management: evidence essentials in purpose-driven organizations


  • Silvia Capezzuoli IMA International
  • Ruth Jolly IMA International


knowledge management, international development, measurement, organizations, systems thinking, complex adaptive systems


This paper suggests a framework for conceptualising what KM we want to measure by putting forward the idea that purpose-driven organizations need a particular take on measuring KM impact. There is emerging interest in the purpose-driven organization, defined as an organization that has its purpose at its heart; where purpose is the organization’s deepest creative potential, focusing on the “Why”. In the international development sector, it is key to always start from the position of being a purpose-driven organization, given the underlying shared values which should inform and guide all practice. Driven by a central purpose and supporting values, an organization defines its best intent and direction; and indicators naturally emerge from these. So KM measurement becomes less about ‘proof,’ less about ROI or value for money, and more about trends and patterns that point to evidence. The article explores areas and evidence of KM impact with several organizations which we have worked closely with. We interview a selection of organizations active in international development, each of which have grappled with shaping their KM approach directly to organizational purpose, and with the challenges and triumphs of setting KM intentions, direction and indicators.

Author Biographies

Silvia Capezzuoli, IMA International

Silvia Capezzuoli is a senior consultant with IMA International ( She is a social development specialist with 25 years’ experience in international development. She facilitates open and in-house KM and M&E workshops, supports KM within organizations and runs Training of Trainers programmes. She has managed NGO programmes in West and East Africa; run adult education programmes in South East Asia and UK, and worked worldwide in capacity building with public sector, UN agencies and INGOs. Silvia holds a Master’s Degree in Gender and Development from the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex. Email:

Ruth Jolly, IMA International

Ruth Jolly is a senior consultant with IMA International ( She is an organizational development (OD) specialist with 25 years’ experience working internationally within the development sector. She focuses on design and facilitation of OD processes, leadership and KM programmes, and facilitates KM open and in-house workshops. She has headed organizational learning functions, co-ordinated an advocacy coalition and served as a photojournalist in the sector. Ruth holds a Master’s Degree in Human Rights and is a certified coach. Ruth has published papers on managing humanitarian organizations, manuals on campaigning and researching and lectured on human rights and NGOs. Email:


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