The Asian Development Bank’s Knowledge Management in Action

Vision, Learning and Collaboration
Exploring two decades of ADB’s Knowledge Solutions.
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ADB’s Knowledge Management in Action

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This book documents ADB’s knowledge management journey since 1966 and looks at how the bank has emerged as an increasingly valuable knowledge advisor to its developing member countries. It tracks the evolution of ADB as a platform for sharing ideas, knowledge, and experience on key development challenges in Asia and the Pacific and beyond. To showcase some of ADB’s knowledge management successes, the book presents 42 knowledge solutions across 10 sectors.
bambang-susantono
Bambang Susantono
Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Activities

VPKM's Message

Knowledge management has always been intertwined with work of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

How that came to be is a story that deserves to be told. It begins with a vision as old as the institution itself: to create a bank that is not just a source of development funding, but also a valued source of applied expertise and knowledge. Since its founding in 1966, ADB’s commitment to build a knowledge base out of its vast experience steadily increased and led to the creation of a knowledge management framework in 2004. This contributed to shaping a provision in Strategy 2020 that ensured ADB would play a larger role in harnessing knowledge to promote development across Asia and the Pacific.

ADB’s Knowledge Management Journey: Two Decades of Learning, Engagement, and Vision

The first president of Asian Development Bank (ADB), Takeshi Watanabe, often emphasized that the bank was an institution that “learns before it teaches.”

He characterized ADB as a “family doctor,” meaning it had expert knowledge that it used for good. From the very beginning, ADB has complemented its lending services with knowledge support as a key development resource. In fact, the ADB Charter directs ADB to provide knowledge support in the form of technical assistance (TA) to developing member countries (DMCs), in addition to financing. Now, the Knowledge Management Action Plan (KMAP) 2021–2025 describes ADB as a regional advisor that is able to provide tailored knowledge solutions to DMCs, the latest stage in a decades-long evolution of knowledge management at ADB.

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Stage One: The Vision

An institution that learns before it teaches

Summary of stage’s key events Strengthening knowledge management becomes an imperative as countries demand ADB offer not just lending, but also bespoke knowledge solutions.

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Stage Two: Expansion

The Strategy 2020 rallying cry for more knowledge Knowledge solutions became a key driver of change, crucial to ADB playing a bigger part in development across the region.

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Stage Three: Steps Forward, Steps Back

A plan to combat knowledge fatigue A leveling off in knowledge management performance led to calls for improved incentives for knowledge work and mainstreaming into projects.

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Stage Four: Regained Momentum

Strategy 2030 and beyond: stronger, better, faster ADB ADB re-commits its role as a knowledge provider, with staff incentivized to integrate the best knowledge throughout the operational cycle.

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Stage Five: Looking Back for Lessons Learned, Looking Ahead to the Future of Knowledge Management

The bank’s knowledge management journey is not yet complete, but the next stage is set, and is guided by the lessons of past endeavors.

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1966 - 2004
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Stage One: The Vision

An institution that learns before it teaches

Summary of stage’s key events Strengthening knowledge management becomes an imperative as countries demand ADB offer not just lending, but also bespoke knowledge solutions.

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2005 – 2009
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Stage Two: Expansion

The Strategy 2020 rallying cry for more knowledge Knowledge solutions became a key driver of change, crucial to ADB playing a bigger part in development across the region.

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2010 - 2014
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Stage Three: Steps Forward, Steps Back

A plan to combat knowledge fatigue A leveling off in knowledge management performance led to calls for improved incentives for knowledge work and mainstreaming into projects.

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2015 - 2021
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Stage Four: Regained Momentum

Strategy 2030 and beyond: stronger, better, faster ADB ADB re-commits its role as a knowledge provider, with staff incentivized to integrate the best knowledge throughout the operational cycle.

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2021 - 2030
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Stage Five: Looking Back for Lessons Learned, Looking Ahead to the Future of Knowledge Management

The bank’s knowledge management journey is not yet complete, but the next stage is set, and is guided by the lessons of past endeavors.

Read more

Knowledge Solutions

As ADB’s knowledge management has evolved, across the entire organization project teams have been empowered to put knowledge solutions at the center of their work with DMCs. The case studies that follow showcase just some of the many successes in knowledge management over the years and highlight ADB’s evolving role as a key source of advice, information, and intelligence.
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agriculture
education-and-training
energy
environment
finance
health
public-sector
transport
urban-development
water
multi-sector
The Road Ahead
Knowledge can only be power when it is shared where it is needed. Looking ahead, with a sound Knowledge Management Action Plan supporting ADB’s Strategy 2030, the bank is well positioned to produce tailored knowledge solutions as part of its advisory role to DMCs. That plan lays out the right steps to ensure that all of ADB’s knowledge is captured in a retrievable form, and easily available to all who can benefit from it. As part of that ongoing process, this book will be the first edition of an annual online publication that will showcase ADB’s latest knowledge solutions.
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To learn even more about ADB’s knowledge solutions, check out ADB’s TEDx-style talks and join us on social media.