A Project Founded on the Knowledge Economy and Sustainable Performance
In the 21st century, knowledge and information management have become a key factor for ensuring that a business remains competitive. To increase their competitiveness, companies need to manage human capital, innovation and information effectively. They also need to manage their intangible assets effectively, as these are much more costly than any tangible asset (Cohen, 2009). And of course, they need to assess the impact on their environment.
The knowledge economy represents a major transformation of the industrial economy.
The knowledge economy is the term used to describe the new phase of economic history that began in the late 1990s. In the knowledge economy, the creation and use of knowledge of all forms lies at the heart of value creation. This change is so significant that, in 2000, the European Union pledged to make Europe "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion".
All companies are now stakeholders in the knowledge economy.
The knowledge economy extends beyond the information technology and high-tech sectors. For example, a clothing company that employs designers to create its clothing ranges and that subcontracts
production to countries where labour costs are lower, using complex logistics systems, is part of the knowledge economy. Today, almost every company in every sector operates in globalised markets that feature new forms of competition. These companies must innovate continually and convert their knowledge into a competitive advantage by building services around their products. They must focus on and develop their human capital, which is their greatest insurance policy against the unknown.
The characteristics of the knowledge economy.
Information technologies are used in almost every type of business operation, management method and manual work, both individual and collective. As well as significantly improving productivity, these technologies have also provided a platform for the global dissemination of knowledge.
Other characteristics that have resulted from the interaction between the knowledge economy and information technologies are:
Increased globalisation of the economy, which has enabled the widespread distribution of
property, knowledge and capital and led to unprecedented growth.
This globalisation has also created new forms of competition between companies in different countries and has created new, substantial risks that are capable of destabilising markets.
A requirement for companies and countries to innovate continually to remain competitive in sectors where new competitors are appearing, and to invent new activities that can create value for companies and create new jobs and wealth for countries.
The growing need for organisations to manage intangible, knowledgebased assets (technological capital, brand capital, customer capital, human capital, etc.), with aspects
such as branding, service provision and information adding value to companies' offers to their customers. Intangible assets are also becoming a major factor in a company's value - both its financial value and its ability to remain competitive over the long term.
The 2009 crisis alerted the international community to the limitations of traditional economic models. As a result, business schools are now faced with a brand new set of challenges to meet. Now, the key objective of these schools is to produce responsible managers who are able to deliver sustainable performance.