A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Infrastructures, Processes, Capabilities, and Cultures   © SCUP 2003
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Building Individual and Organizational Capabilities (continued)



Chapter 5

Infrastructures, Processes, Capabilities, and Cultures

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Developing enterprise and individual capabilities are different issues. They have different orientations and mechanisms.

The dramatic enhancement of individual and organizational capabilities to acquire and share knowledge is the major human resources challenge — and opportunity — of the twenty-first century. The challenge can be met in small stages, each of which is easily possible today. As an example, one of the barriers to sharing knowledge is the present requirement that someone should add metadata to each “knowledge object” before it is placed in a database. This is rightly perceived as a chore, yet much of the effort is unnecessary.

Simple solutions abound. As an illustration, we know of one computer network administrator who added some software to the print server that handled all requests for printed documents. The software kept copies of each document on the network. The identity of the originator of the print request was known from their login details, therefore it did not need to be re-keyed (enter data only once, then re-use it). If the document was not on the list of previously printed documents, the software automatically created metadata for the document, by analyzing its content for key words and phrases. The originator of the print request received an automatic email telling them where they could find the copy of their printed document, if they wanted to reprint it, and also what metadata had been added to it. This provided each person with a personal database of their own documents plus annotations. They could also choose whether to add the document to the department's knowledge base, comprising documents explicitly made available for sharing.

Cascading cycles of development of such practices, along with powerful content recognition and patterning software to support them, will soon facilitate e-knowledge processes.


Knowledge sharing is becoming the central driver of the twenty-first century economy. Among the many companies which now recognize their stock of human capital as the major asset to business success; access to knowledge and just-in-time learning are more important than ever before… those countries, sectors, and organizations that can adapt will be the winners of the 21st century.

Steve Denning, Michel Pommer,
Lesley Schneier, 2002

In conclusion, enterprises of all kinds must change their knowledge ecologies if e-knowledge is to be transformed. Enterprise strategies should include a knowledge strategy that identifies the salience of e-knowledge to strategic relationships and how the enterprise plans to use e-knowledge to establish competitive advantage. Enterprise initiatives dealing with every aspect of knowledge ecology — infrastructures, processes, capabilities, and culture — must be shaped in the image of the enterprise’s knowledge strategy. All enterprises are affected — corporations, colleges and universities, trade associations and professional societies, government agencies, and other non-profits.


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