A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Introduction   © SCUP 2003
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A Revolution in the Sharing of Knowledge (continued)

   
 


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Introduction

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A Single Future or
Multiple Scenarios?

Even if one accepts the notion that our future holds what for many individuals and organizations will be a revolution in the sharing of knowledge, there is no such thing as “the future” in a singular sense. There are many scenarios for a future state of knowledge sharing. Moreover, these conditions and practices of knowledge sharing will differ in significant ways across the globe. And they will vary dramatically within organizations, communities, and nations, based on the preferences, capacities, and choices made by individuals, enterprises, and governments.

The author of the novel The Neuromancer, William Gibson, said “The future is already here; it is just not distributed very well.” Meaning that many of the social/ economic/ technological elements of the future that we will eventually experience already exist today. Those elements have proponents and users. However, the future will be the result of competition between the established order and other possibilities, some of which will require jump shifts. The particular future conditions that emerge will depend on personal and organizational decisions not yet made, technologies not yet invented or not yet deployed at sufficient scale to be influential, and human preferences not yet verified through choosing from real alternatives. So we describe and project futures with humility, not hubris, using the language of scenarios and choice, not monolithic, singular conditions.

Choosing How to Participate
in the Knowledge Revolution

It is about choice. As our capacity to share knowledge increases, individuals and organizations will make choices about how they will acquire, process, and assimilate knowledge.

 

The range of choices will be far greater than today. But one fact is clear: those individuals and organizations that achieve a quantum leap in their capacity to acquire, process, assimilate, and share knowledge will enjoy a relative competitive advantage in the Knowledge Economy.

It is also about chance. The uncertainties and imponderables in today’s world seem much more daunting than they did in the 1990s. Continuing problems with the economy, political setbacks, and terrorism remind us that progress cannot be guaranteed. An unfortunate confluence of these conditions could seriously retard the development of the Knowledge Economy and a revolution in knowledge sharing.

And it is about readiness. Current owners of large bodies of knowledge resources will attempt to extend and preserve existing paradigms. Under normal conditions, new approaches will be invented by outsiders and deployed despite the efforts of the defenders of the status quo. It pays for organizations and individuals to prepare for the coming paradigm shift in knowledge sharing. This book attempts to provide the insights and recommended actions that will accelerate organizational and individual readiness for e-knowledge.

Today, many of the technologies and practices required for pervasive e-knowledge exist as proof-of-concept pilots or early deployment prototypes. Progressive developments in standards, commercialization, deployment, and acceptance are needed for the e-Knowledge Industry to firmly take root. We believe conditions are favorable for these to occur in large measure between now and the year 2010.

 

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  Uncertainties are inevitable. But some forces are unstoppable. Scenario planning means weaving the unknown around the known.
Ian Wylie