Enterprises that have crafted a jump shift
vision of the e-knowledge future understand that many aspects of
the future are cloudy or unknowable. Standards, repositories, and
marketplaces are still in the proof-of-concept or development stage.
New generations of enterprise infrastructure applications and e-knowledge
solutions are emergent, not fully developed. The solution is to
progressively take actions that can develop infrastructures and
competencies and increase readiness for e-knowledge. Leading-edge
e-knowledge enterprises like USQ, the World Bank, and AAPS are taking
an expeditionary approach to achieving their e-knowledge vision.
The Other eExpeditionary
The emergence of an e-Knowledge Industry represents
the collision of exponential technological adoption the digitization
and interconnection of knowledge with systems and practices
that prefer incremental change, traditional learning, and knowledge
development. The emergence of the e-Knowledge Industry is likely
to be disruptive and to create the opportunity for the emergence
of killer applications (killer apps) new ways
of creating, managing, and sharing knowledge that are genuinely
fresh and compelling experiences.
Killer apps are the collisions between
exponential technology adoption and systems that prefer to change
in even, incremental ways. How disruptive they are depends on where
in the technology curve they are introduced.
Downes and Mui, 1998
The forces shaping killer apps can be forecast, and
changes in the value chain projected. However, the nature of the
killer app itself cannot be predicted with elegant precision. Experience
has shown that the best way to invent killer apps is through an
iterative process of rapid prototyping, feedback, and continuous
adaptation. For e-knowledge this process consists of:
- rapid prototyping of new e-knowledge processes and experiences;
- using learners and other knowledge users as perpetual focus
groups, creating feedback loops; and
- continuously adapting and changing the new processes and experiences,
based on user feedback and responses to marketplace developments.
Over time, the new killer app emerges. The term that
best describes these sorts of e-knowledge initiatives is expeditionary.
Expeditionary development of products, services, and
experiences requires enterprise leaders to be open both to new opportunities
and to genuine surprises. As Jame Brian Quinn (2002) suggests, Todays
world calls for less hypothesis testing and more systematic observation.
In an expeditionary world, the advantage is seldom won by the enterprise
with the best ideas, alone. Rather, advantage goes to those that
are best able to introduce and continuously, progressively refine
a new product and experience so that the killer app is discovered