Principles of Knowledge Collaboration

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Introduction

The Internet has profoundly impacted organizations of all sizes and types. We at Open Source Nevada believe one of the next major revolutions is emerging in how organizations create and share knowledge (expertise). This includes setting goals and direction; establishing, communication and updating policies; building expertise across members and the "organizational memory"; and sharing the joy of success.

This site provides one of the new technologies to create a Knowledge Base Collaboration Platform. Knowledge collaboration is a fundamental change for the centralized - hierarchical process currently used to produce organizational knowledge.

Here are the fundamental principles of Knowledge Collaboration:

Stakeholders Become Direct Contributors

The Central Planning Problem

It is an interesting anomaly that Corporate America, the leading advocate of market driven outcomes, manages knowledge creation in an almost Stalinist, central-planning and distribution mode. Documentation, product planning, product positioning, etc. are created at headquarters, even though the most informed individuals are in the field next to the customers.

It is even more interesting that most non-profits - totally dependent on volunteer participation - follow the same central planning model.

The Market Place of Ideas

A new paradigm is emerging for the creation of Organizational Knowledge. With the enabling technology of the Web, effective organizations make sure that all the "Stakeholders" have direct input into the creation and maintenance of organizational knowledge. SQI uses the term Knowledge Harvesting (see sidebar) to describe this paradigm.

Knowledge Users Directly Contribute

The people most familiar with what is working and what is problematical are the users of the knowledge. These people, the users of the product or services of the organization, are the ultimate stakeholders.

For example, in the world of high-tech, a firm implementing Knowledge Collaboration would empower the Field Engineers to directly, and immediately, update technical manuals when errors are exposed by working with clients.

Knowledge Harvesting

Knowledge Harvesting is term used to describe how creative organizations bring the input of the community into the knowledge creation process.

An outstanding example is Amazon's use of Knowledge Harvesting. The more than ten million user reviews create a competitive advantage over B and N or Borders.

Continuous Incremental Improvement

Ideas flow every day. At the moment of intense concentration new insights emerge. At the point of problem solving the greatest understanding exists. At the end of a planning session insights to future direction are clearest.

To harness these bursts of new "knowledge" an organization's technology must support immediate and direct input into the organizational memory. This is in direct conflict with the centralized, hierarchical processes currently employed by most organizations.

Participatory Communities

Future strong products and organization will be created by developing Participatory Communities.


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