- business plans for each course;
- support for marketing globally, with options that include using
e-Universities Worldwide as a shared brand, or marketing courses
using the name of the originating institution(s); and
- a shared knowledge base on experiences in strategic positioning
of courses and in marketing courses and managing their presentation,
directly or through local agents.
Taken together, those approaches should help universities
to determine the likely market for a proposed course, develop and
update the course in a timely and cost-effective fashion, and maximize
the market for their course and any derivatives of it.
The kinds of knowledge resources that are available
to be leveraged in this initiative include process knowledge
(know-how regarding the development of e-learning material); subject-matter
knowledge (know-how regarding user needs in particular subject
areas and for particular purposes); other intellectual property
(ranging from research-derived knowledge, captured in patents or
otherwise disclosed to specialist audiences, but potentially available
for use in e-knowledge courses, products, and services); and primary
resources (ranging from world experts who may be willing to
participate in on-line discussions between students and mentors,
to access to digitized versions of knowledge assets held in university
museums and libraries).
We anticipate that initiatives such as the
e-U will result in the development of follow-on opportunities, in
which universities can work with third parties (e.g., publishers,
corporate, universities) to become e-knowledge suppliers
to a wider range of audiences than they can reach through their
traditional channels. They may also be able to enrich the content
and context of the offerings from other universities.
Industry-wide Knowledge Sharing Helps
German Industry to Compete
The Fraunhofer Institute (Europes largest R&D
organization, with laboratories across Germany) is coordinating
national strategy on knowledge-based manufacturing. Its goal is
to enable companies in Germany and other parts of the European Union
to compete more effectively across the world. Relative to the United
States, for example, the key commercial challenges they face are
an unfavorable exchange rate and an historic difficulty in getting
sufficient return on the investment they make in designing new products.
Their public strategy is to use knowledge management to tackle the
second of these challenges. They aim to make it easier and more
affordable for even small manufactures to incorporate innovations
in their products that users will value (such as modifications tailored
to each user.) By reducing the time-to-market of those innovations
the initiative could maximize the time they can be competitive in
In a pilot project ending in 2001, German industry
and the German government committed the equivalent of about US$30
million to a national project, coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute,
to explore ways to speed up the effective use of knowledge about
advances in manufacturing. The approaches used included studies
of knowledge codification and sharing at every stage in manufacturing,
and the role of partner organizations, such as universities and
training organizations, in the associated communities of practice.
German industry has invested the equivalent
of US$30 million to a national project to explore ways to speed
up the effective use of knowledge about advances in manufacturing.
Larger follow-through projects are envisaged at the European level.