From Small Things, Big Things Grow™

From small things, big things grow™

nanoKnowledge® is a pioneering brand network of knowledge brokers and management consultants, with international partners and associates residing in Australia, Singapore, China and the United Kingdom.  We pioneer our own global pathways to knowledge management experiences and solutions. This is why nanoKnowledge® is uniquely different from all other management consulting firms and think tanks.

The following slideshow illustrates how the nanoKnowledge® value chain has evolved in the first ten years (2003 - 2013) of our growth, from operationalisation to unique value proposition:

nanoKnowledge® Unique Value Chain and Proposition

Foundations in research

The term “knowledge brokering” was originally used by scholars to describe companies, spanning multiple markets and technology domains, that move innovations around from business to business. If you are new to the concept of knowledge brokering, we recommend that you first read Sutton and Hargadon (2000), “Building an innovation factory,” in Harvard Business Review, Vol. 78, No. 3, pp. 157–166.

In the first decade of the 21st Century, knowledge management (KM) was often used as a counter-intuitive organisational solution to chronic organisational development (OD) problems. Many organisations assumed that information technology (IT) could be used to extract finite meaning from an infinite sea of information -- often spending millions of dollars on "knowledge management systems" that could not demonstrate an immediate return-on-investment (ROI). As a result, many of those organisations struggled to implement knowledge management (KM) because their leaders and stakeholders could not understand that knowledge management is neither an information technology (IT) issue nor about starting a library or central information repository for documents and records.

The goal of knowledge management (KM) should be about the management of culture in a future-proof organisation; not about the accomplishment of a technical task or the solution to a problem. Very few organisations understood that effective knowledge management (KM) strategies needed to be built on grassroots-supported lifelong-learning foundations, and empowered by the free-flowing exchange of knowledge and experience between all stakeholders.

In 2004, the idea for an enterprise knowledge brokerage and management consultancy was conceived by founder David C Tham in response to what he described as "the systemic failure of information technology-reliant knowledge management strategies to live up to their promise as the foundations for stimulating more sustainable organisational development." (Presentation on the State of Knowledge Management at the 2004 meeting of the Asia Pacific Learning and Knowledge Management Council of The Conference Board, Singapore).   

Thus, nanoKnowledge® was introduced to the world for the first time in 2004.  We began our journey in Singapore, by teaching customer-oriented organisations how to think and communicate more effectively, and how to be more in touch with the habits that important stakeholders formed.  We showed our clients how practical changes in the way they trained their staff, could impact their knowledge management efforts.

In doing so, nanoKnowledge® pioneered its maiden pathway as a corporate learning / training organisation providing expertise along the converging pathways of training, education, business, technology, and sustainability. We created a branded platform for freelance knowledge brokers and management consultants to work together and develop the capability to go global. Our goal was to be the world's preferred network of knowledge management networks.

Significant milestones since 2003

This is a timeline of significant moments in our history.


nanoKnowledge®'s international journey begins in 2003 as "nKnowledge" in Singapore. nKnowledge is a startup business with big dreams of delivering premium and customisable corporate technology training solutions to fast-growing service-intensive organisations in the Asian marketplace. But nKnowledge is not an instant success because its founders are part-time entrepreneurs juggling full-time day-jobs and family commitments. Something has to change in order for the business to grow!

On 11 December 2003, David C Tham, one of the original four founders, takes over the reins of the firm as its first managing director. The firm is restructured as a partnership and renamed to nanoKnowledge® .  Its primary focus is on helping customer service-oriented organisations achieve excellence through training and development -- by teaching people how to Do The Little Things Right.


In January 2004, nanoKnowledge® is re-conceived and publicly promoted as an enterprise knowledge brokerage with a mission to develop and cultivate real enterprise applications of knowledge management through sustainable experiential activities.

On 11 May 2004, the first nanoKnowledge® corporate logo is unveiled in Singapore. The choice of Singapore as a launch platform is a reflection of our founders' belief in the simple yet profound idea that small movements can have big impact.

The catchphrase From Small Things, Big Things Grow is also coined in Singapore, inspired by the island nation of Singapore that has achieved great international successes despite its small size. From Small Things, Big Things Grow™ sums up the nanoKnowledge® vision statement. It also encapsulates our tacit mission to Do The Little Things Right™. These basic ideas permeate through the various ways we help our clients to achieve their goals.

nanoKnowledge® is about creating and recognising value in new perspectives that support innovative thinking.

In the nanoKnowledge® logo, the four spherical elements combine with the 'n' to form a 'K'. The spheres represent tacit knowledge and the four visionaries that founded the first nanoKnowledge® partnership.

The colour blue represents the world of contestable market-spaces. The symbol 'n' represents the explicit knowledge that supports just one-billionth of all the tacit knowledge in the world.

The 'K', which is formed through creatively combining the 'n' symbol and the four spherical elements, represents the need for new perspectives to appreciate holistic knowledge and harness it for innovation.
nanoKnowledge logo (2004)


By August 2005, the first-generation nanoKnowledge® network is formed with support from our international partners and associates in Singapore, London, Beijing, and Perth.

The nanoKnowledge® word, logo and related devices are recognised as official trademarks internationally.


In 2006, nanoKnowledge® launches its first corporate social responsibility initiative called the nanoKnowledge® Pioneering Leadership Program that seeks to provide more affordable learning and innovative leadership development programs for Singapore schools seeking overseas travel learning experiences for their students and teachers.

These school internationalisation programs involve the provision and delivery of low-cost learning content and top-quality facilitators, accommodation, transportation (including brokering discounted group airfares), food, activities, and other elements of a memorable and educational tour of Australia.


In April 2008, nanoKnowledge® becomes a member of the Australian Sports Commission’s Club Development Network, and the nanoKnowledge® Pioneering Learning (Sports) Program is launched.

The nanoKnowledge® Pioneering Learning initiative is acclaimed by the Australian media for contributing to the broader development of tourism, particularly in the area of educational tourism (Comment News, Community Newspaper Group WA, 24 June 2008; and Escape, The Sunday Times WA, 14 December 2008).

Media acclaim for nanoKnowledge contributions to educational tourism in Australia (2008)


By 2010, the Pioneering Learning initiative has expanded into a twice-a-year formal program known as the nanoKnowledge® Pioneering Learning & Leadership Program (PL2P).

The program aims to provide both experiential learning and leadership growth opportunities to young people while supporting the local communities they visit through the development and diversification benefits of educational tourism.


In April 2011, nanoKnowledge® plans and facilitates the first Western Australian tourism stakeholder dialogue and horizontal-industry meeting on strategically marketing Western Australian tourism to China. The first meeting is co-chaired and hosted by nanoKnowledge® and China Approved Destination Status (ADS) inbound tour operator Motive Tours Australia. The meeting is attended by key representatives from leading tourism stakeholder-organisations, including the State and local governments and peak tourism industry bodies. Subsequent meetings are held at Council House, Perth, courtesy of the Lord Mayor of the City of Perth, and co-chaired by Motive Tours Australia with nanoKnowledge® Australia staff providing the strategic vision and corporate secretariat support.

By committing to establishing nanoKnowledge® in Perth, nanoKnowledge® sets in motion a chain of behind-the-scenes events that catalyses the increased dynamism of the Western Australian tourism industry as an industry of networks.

1st Meeting of the Project Cathay Board 12 April 2011
1st Meeting of the Project Cathay Board (12 April 2011)
  • Case Study: Experience Extraordinary Western Australia
  • Successful Outcomes
Case Study: Experience Extraordinary Western Australia

From the perspective of tourism stakeholders, the goal of the campaign, codenamed “Project Cathay” by nanoKnowledge®, is to build sustainability for the Western Australian tourism community as they venture into overseas and international Chinese-speaking market segments for the first time. 

To achieve this goal, nanoKnowledge® encourages the tourism industry stakeholders to undertake cooperative marketing strategies more effectively and more frequently. The objective of Project Cathay is to kick-start the transformation of the Western Australian tourism industry into a self-reliant and proactive community with the capability to work cooperatively to develop innovative ideas that would significantly increase the quantity and expenditure of tourists. As a result, Project Cathay produces Western Australia’s first public-private tourism sector partnership effort in 2011. 

Project Cathay is officially supported by a Leadership Advisory Board comprising key horizontal-industry, government and community stakeholders, not just from the tourism businesses. The expected outcome of Project Cathay Board of Advisors is that the Western Australia’s tourism industry would gain greater trade and consumer exposure in China through the industry members’ cooperative international marketing efforts.

In May 2011, nanoKnowledge® Australia leads the first official China-Approved Destination Status inbound tourism operator delegation from Perth, Western Australia, to visit Nanjing in Jiangsu province, China.  The visit, organised by nanoKnowledge® Australia, is officially sanctioned by the City of Perth and hosted by the City of Nanjing – a first for the Western Australia tourism industry

The purpose of the business visit is to broker stronger tourism trade relations between Perth and Nanjing cities at the small and medium enterprise level (SME). Through the visit, nanoKnowledge® Australia effectively demonstrates that Australian small and medium tourism enterprises (SMEs) – like Perth-based inbound tour operator Motive Tours Australia which had no previous experience of doing business in China – could quickly gain experience, prominence and first-mover advantages, when supported by the nanoKnowledge® network.

In September 2011, nanoKnowledge® Australia is invited by Tourism Council Western Australia to address the State’s tourism industry at the “Industry Leaders’ Forum: Getting 'China Ready'” event.  The Industry Leaders’ Forum is a gathering of leaders from government agencies, businesses, and industries, which seek to deliver a total value experience to Chinese tourists throughout their visit to Western Australia. 

In anticipation of the arrival of the first direct flights from China to Perth, about 50 senior-level executives from the Western Australian tourism industry and government are present to listen to guest speaker nanoKnowledge® founder and managing partner David Tham share firsthand and sometimes humorous, real-life lessons from doing business in China

Mr Tham emphasises the importance of using social media as a low cost yet effective marketing platform and encouraged industry leaders to consider how to reach out directly to consumers in China instead of depending on traditional trade marketing channels. During the workshop component of the Industry Leaders’ Forum, industry leaders worked together to identify critical actions needed to deliver a world class experience.

Following the Industry Leaders’ Forum, nanoKnowledge® Australia was appointed by Western Australia’s peak tourism industry body to conduct a series of strategic marketing workshops across Western Australia. Since then, nanoKnowledge® Australia has helped more than 100 Australian businesses develop the capability to plan more realistic and effective international marketing strategies.

Successful Outcomes


In Oct 2012, nanoKnowledge® is officially invited by the Wheatbelt Development Commission to inspect a number of pre-selected tourism opportunities developing in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia. The places visited include Quairading, Corrigin, Kukerin, Lake Grace, Hyden, Moorine Rock, Marvel Loch, Southern Cross, Wyalkatchem, and Kellerberrin -- in the Eastern Wheatbelt region.

Following the visit, our nanoKnowledge® consultants contribute the first external assessment of the potential to develop Western Australia's Wheatbelt region as a world-class experiential learning / educational tourism destination under the nanoKnowledge® Pioneering Learning and Leadership Program. 

On 30 Nov 2012, nanoKnowledge® is recognised and appointed as a registered trade partner of  Jetstar Airways (Skytrax - Best Low-Cost Airline - Australia / Pacific region 2007, 2009 & 2011; Best Low-Cost Airline - Worldwide 2007).  The partnership with Jetstar Airways means that nanoKnowledge® can expand Australia-wide more quickly: from Perth in Western Australia to other cities in Australia, such as the Gold Coast in Queensland; with significantly lower travel costs.  


Im March 2013, Mr Casey Ho is appointed as a managing partner of nanoKnowledge® in Singapore.  A dynamic and highly versatile team leader and certified corporate trainer, Mr Ho brings 20 years of experience in Learning and Development, Organisation Development, Human Resource Development, Training Management, Project Management,, Quality Management and Continuous Improvement. 

Mr Ho also has 15 years managerial and supervisory experience managing trainers, training specialists, chemists, technicians, engineers and executives in various sectors, including clinical research, pharmaceuticals (primary and secondary manufacturing, R&D), medical devices, energy and resources, semiconductor, electronics, freight forwarding and shipping, logistics and warehousing, conventions and exhibitions and food and beverage.

By May 2013, nanoKnowledge® is recognised as a Preferred Partner by Avis Worldwide, allowing access to a range of extremely competitive prices for vehicle rental under the Avis networkThis is followed by an invitation from Qantas Airways for nanoKnowledge® to become a Qantas Business Direct partner.  nanoKnowledge® accepts the invitation from Australia's flag carrier  to access new market opportunities along Qantas' and Jetstar's flight routes.

In May 2013, nanoKnowledge® Australia partners with Wyalkatchem Tours to lead a group of about 40 participants from the nanoKnowledge® Pioneering Learning and Leadership Program to Wyalkatchem for a 4-day residential camp program. Supported by the local Shire of Wyalkatchem, Wyalkatchem District High School, Wyalkatchem Tours and Wheatbelt Development Commission, the nanoKnowledge® Pioneering Learning Program directly contributes more than AUD$10,000 to the local Wyalkatchem economy over 3 consecutive nights, not counting the personal expenditure by the individual participants, or the investments by the local shire in upgrading works and development. 

Case Study: O Little Town of Wyalkatchem

The town of Wyalkatchem, which lies in the heart of Western Australia’s Wheatbelt, is well-known locally as an important Cooperative Bulk Handling reception point with the capacity to hold nearly 120,000 tonnes of grain and crops. In recent times, the town of Wyalkatchem has been busy improving its tourism infrastructure and establishing itself as a key tourism hub and destination in the Wheatbelt region.

Despite being a relatively new and very small business in the Australian tourism industry, Wyalkatchem Tours was able to quickly gain exposure in Singapore and China with the help of the nanoKnowledge® network. Prior to this, Wyalkatchem Tours had no experience of doing business or marketing to anywhere outside of Australia.

On 9 Aug 2013, Wyalkatchem Tours was prominently featured as an important prize sponsor at the 48th Singapore National Day celebrations in Beijing, China (organised by SingCham - the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China). About 500 people took part in the event that was featured on television in Singapore on National Day itself and the day after. The 2nd Prize dinner raffle/"Grand Lucky Draw" for the Singapore National Day dinner was a cash prize of AUD$480 sponsored by Wyalkatchem Tours.

"All 500 guests got to see the Wyalkatchem Tours name displayed on the big screen and I got them to pronounce the company name together with me so that they at least got the pronunciation right. Later on audience members commented on the significance of the AUD$480 cash sponsorship coinciding with our 48th birthday. The cash prize was won by an extremely ecstatic Chinese lady," said Mr Malcolm B Nerva, nanoKnowledge® China’s executive director, who was the Master of Ceremonies at the Beijing dinner event that was also attended by international diplomats and dignitaries.


In April 2015, nanoKnowledge® launches the world’s first hospitality-themed experiential learning program in Australia called nanoKnowledge® Pathways to Excellence in Hospitality.

The six-day five-night residential program is supported by world class hotels and resorts, avant-garde community clubs, exciting food and beverage brands, leading schools of hospitality and industry leaders in the Gold Coast, Queensland. These include the multi-award-winning Currumbin RSL, Ignite Education, the International Hotel School @ Palazzo Versace, and Southern Cross University.

“Imagine learning from some of the most inspiring leaders in your community or industry. How do you think it will impact your decision-making or choice of career? This is what a nanoKnowledge®  Pathway  opens for you."  
-- Dr Casey Ho, co-founder and managing partner of nanoKnowledge®  Singapore.