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Nick Willard B.Sc.
We are sad to report the death of Nick on January 2009. His legacy lives on as the 'Willard model of Information Resources Management'.
Nick Willard is a leading UK consultant in the fields of Information and Knowledge Management. His career was essentially with the computer industry but the most formative period was that as a market analyst where he began to take a deep interest in the nature of information. From his research at the British library, he supported the concept that information should be understood as a resource and in a published article, proposed that information should be managed to the same five point agenda as other resources. This became known as the 'Willard Model'. In the 1990s when Knowledge Management emerged, Nick rapidly absorbed the new ideas and developed an understanding of the relationship between information, processes and people. He is particularly interested in helping people and organisations to develop an interpretation of Knowledge Management that is appropriate for their culture and ambitions.
The early years of Nick's career were technically orientated in what seemed a natural progression from studying mathematics and logic at University. He enjoyed the period as a programmer but moved smartly into systems analysis and then sales, as was the custom at the time. After a few years as Sales Manager with a software consultancy, he was promoted to the newly created post of Market Planning Manager and began a period of study that lead to a significant interest in the nature of information. Moving to a rapidly expanding young company, he retained a responsibility for market analysis and undertook a series of corporate studies.
With the demise of the company in 1989, Nick became an independent consultant, conducting a series of analysis projects for and with friends. Alongside these projects, he used the facilities of the British Library, just ten minutes from home, to research the emerging ideas of information management and in particular, Information Resource Management (IRM). He was a founder member of the Aslib IRM Network in 1992 and is currently secretary. In a paper published by Aslib in 1993, Nick put forward a generic agenda for resource management, which has since become known as the Willard Model.
By 1996 it became evident that the ideas of several leading management thinkers were coalescing around the topic 'Knowledge Management'. After further study, Nick became totally supportive of the new concepts and in particular, the manner in which it resolves the issue of the relationship between people, information and knowledge. He is now almost entirely focussed on this subject.
Part of the fascination with Knowledge Management is the many and varied projects that have been encountered. For over two years, Nick was a part-time member of the Knowledge Management Development team at ICI and was included in the team that spent a period in the United States supporting the development of a Knowledge Management Strategy for a US subsidiary. In parallel, Nick was able to initiate, and remains today as Course Director, for the very successful Aslib courses on Knowledge Management. He has also had periods as a support consultant for the development of Knowledge Management at Smith & Nephew and British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. For the past two years, Nick has been an established member of the Knowledge Management Course team at the Civil Service College.
Although not born in Yorkshire, Nick and his family love the environment of the county. He is happily married with two grown up children, the elder of whom is married to a Japanese girl and they now have two young sons. Nick and his wife are very proud and happily involved grandparents. They always enjoy the Yorkshire perspective, which says that grandchildren are the reward for not strangling your own teenage children!
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