A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Paths to the e-Knowledge Future   © SCUP 2003
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The e-Knowledge Imperative (continued)



Chapter 3

Paths to the
e-Knowledge Future

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The Power of the Value Net

So the basic idea of a value chain for e-knowledge must be expanded to the notion of a value net. Some refer to this as a value web, a value stream, or a value constellation. This value net will be non-linear and orthogonal. It will accommodate the many new sources of value that will result from the new services required to create e-knowledge aggregations, repositories, and marketplaces. The value net will deconstruct and reconstruct the basic value propositions and cost/price structures for e-knowledge of all kinds.

To a great extent, much e-content will become a commodity, and its unit price will drop—particularly where it is already purposed for modularity and interoperability. We know from experience that existing Internet-based accessibility to knowledge resources has reduced unit prices, slashing the profitability of content providers serving their traditional customers. Finding new markets for their e-knowledge and creating new, value-added knowledge products is a critical challenge for traditional knowledge providers confronting the e-Knowledge Economy.


Reaching, Attracting and Serving New Markets. The communication capacity of the Internet to reach new markets is not enough to assure success. In order to truly attract new markets (and hold onto old markets) e-knowledge providers must add genuine value to e-knowledge resources. They must create versions of knowledge resources that are especially suited to online media and create new, compelling experiences for the user. Online versions of news media demonstrate this principle, as they are tailored for the online environment and create new experiences that enable the customer to engage news coverage more effectively.

In networks we find self reinforced, virtuous cycles. Each additional member increases the network’s value, which in turn attracts new members, which in turn increases value, in a spiral of benefits.

Kevin Kelly, 1997


Other Changes in the Knowledge Value Net

A wider range of content producers will be empowered — individuals (faculty, researchers, practitioners), universities, learning management system providers, publishers, media companies, professional societies and associations.

The kinds of content available for learning will expand — recontextualized content from rich repositories such as digital libraries, news archives, and museums.

Communities of practice will provide extracted tacit knowledge and insights — syntheses of insight from communities of practice may command a premium price.

Much of the content of proprietary knowledge management systems will remain proprietary — however, much tacit and explicit knowledge will find its way into marketplaces and communities of reflective practice for industries and professions.

Just as e-knowledge providers can reach new markets, new competitors can reach markets that have been semi-protected — competition will be keen.

Some learners and practitioners may be willing to pay premium prices — for collections of insight certified by leading universities, professional societies, and/or other trusted organizations, individuals may be willing to pay premium prices, but the quality must be worth it.


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  Learning is not so much about content any more — it’s about services.

Dale Spender

Our business organizations are extremely effective at hiding the performance crisis from themselves as well as everybody else.

Gloria Gerry