All services delivered by Kadrant are built leveraging MASK, a unique method created by Jean-Louis Ermine in the early 90’s specifically to solve knowledge capitalization problems. The strenght of the method comes from its 3 robust pillars :

  • a formal theory of knowledge,
  • a structured approach,
  • a set of tools.

As shown on the graphic aside, MASK  is organized into four specific modules, covering the four steps of the knowledge management cycle.

MASKMethod for Analyzing and Structuring Knowledge

The 4 steps of the MASK methodologymethodology


Mapping critical knowledge

A knowledge map is a visual representation of knowledge and how it is structured within an organization. The map indicates the critical knowledge needed to support current and future business at a high level. The method used to create the map is MASK 2, developed in 2000. It was developed for industries with a high level of complexity in their knowledge structure. It was subsequently used for various industries and is based on solid common sense :

– It is difficult to manage what we cannot see, so let us map the knowledge to make it visible.

– It is impossible to manage everything, so let us identify what knowledge is critical and why it is so, so that we can establish priorities.

Mapping the critical knowledge is a commando operation – it can be done in one week – of which purpose is to take reasoned decisions on how to secure and develop critical expertise.

We mapped critical knowledge on the following sectors : services, transportation, energy, various industries, defense.


Modeling critical knowledge

The elicitation method we are using (MASK 1), to model critical knowledge, was developed in 1993 by Jean-Louis Ermine for the needs of the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA – the French Atomic Energy Commission). After the year 2000, this method has been deployed  in various industries, in France and abroad, to capture tacit knowledge either because it was threaten, due to retirements or reassignment of critical personnel, or to support industrial transfers (Split or M&A).

NB: It is generally recognized that only 20% of the useful operational knowledge – with variations across sectors – is properly formalized. Starting from 2009 – 2010, the MASK 1 methodology has been increasingly used in the US.

The objective of the method is to model tacit knowledge and create Knowledge Books that will be given to the future experts so that they can acquire knowledge  in a very short time frame. Experts using such knowledge books are evaluating saving about 6 months timeframe  thanks to the access to such a tool.

Knowledge books are created when pursuing any of below objectives :

  • Securing large bodies of technical and / or scientific knowledge (defence, atomic energy).
  • Identifying the gaps and formulate hypothesis in exploratory R&D domains (food industry).
  • Securing knowledge threaten by retirements or reassignments of critical individuals (all sectors).
  • Facilitating industrial transfers (food industry, lens industry, industrial gases).
  • Facilitating partnerships (energy, industrial gases).
  • Creating unparalleled training material (all sectors).


Assessing knowledge management maturity

Across the spectrum, the level of technicity and complexity of the industry is increasingly fast growing : for organizations with large R&D divisions, managing knowledge is no longer an option. However, this is not something that can be easily improvised. Indeed, many large organization are still purchasing sophisticated software while still having a very low understanding of the relationship between Information Management and Knowledge Management. In this context, being able to assess and align on the knowledge management maturity of an organisation, appeared as an obvious accelerator for transformation.

This is why, over the years, The French KM Club, rallying major companies from the francophone world and presided by Jean-Louis Ermine, has developed a set of operational tools enabling the maturity of organisations with regards to knowledge :

  • the Knowledge Maturity Model : how good is a company in managing knowledge ?
  • the Innovation Maturity Model : How is a company leveraging knowledge when it comes to innovation?
  • the Knowledge Community Maturity Model : How efficient is a company sharing knowledge within its business network ?

The key benefits of these assessment models are that:

  • they are focused on a specific challenge : general knowledge management ; knowledge and innovation ; knowledge sharing
  • they increase our service delivery efficiencies : the assessment is standardised and done within a couple of days.
  • they are highly prescriptive : in each case, it determines what is the next step in the progression toward a higher maturity

This service is triggered when pursuing any of the goals below :

  • Developing a common awareness of the situation,
  • Identifying improvement actions to be launched and their priorities,
  • Transfering efficient assessment technics to knowledge managers


Aligning knowledge and business strategy

This service, based on the MASK 2 method, is focused on serving industries facing serious strategic challenges: what does the strategy mean in term of knowledge? what is key?  what knowledge is critical ?

The objective here is to evaluate the impact of the strategy on the knowledge of the organization, and prioritize actions to be executed. For example:

  • Some fields of knowledge shall deeply evolve to maximise the success of a new strategy implementation
  • Some strategic capabilities may be impossible to achieve with the current state of the knowledge of the organization.

Combining the analysis of current knowledge criticality and the analysis of the knowledge required by a strategy  shift, we are supporting organisations from various sectors (services, transportation, engineering…)  aligning their knowledge and business strategy.