A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     What is e-Knowledge?   © SCUP 2003
  Page 28      

Beyond Existing Knowledge Concepts and Experiences



Chapter 1

What is e-Knowledge?

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Today’s pioneering examples are state-of-the-art practices. Our challenge is to move beyond these existing concepts and experiences to envision a world in which our knowledge experiences and competencies will be dramatically different from the here and now.

Moving Beyond Digitizing and
Webifying Existing Practices

In applying the tools of ICT to any field of endeavor, the organization’s first inclination is to digitize and Webify existing content, processes, and practices , as it has been with learning and knowledge management. But after digitizing course packs, texts, technical manuals, and organizational procedures, practitioners have begun to understand how to use ICT tools to create new forms, processes, and practices for learning and knowledge management. The early forms of new practices are being invented, but they need unifying and guiding principles.

Observing this process yields an important insight: individuals are the “heroes” of process transformation. Individual practitioners typically are the ones who see that merely digitizing existing practices does not reap the expected dividends. Organizational routines, principles, and practices have substantial inertia. Changes are typically originated by individuals—change-agents who are experienced practitioners, whose insights into practice enable them to understand how successful examples of innovation can be used to change the organization.

The Danger of Misappropriating
Terms and Concepts

A common scene is repeated every day in virtually every knowledge-driven enterprise ranging from universities to corporations to professional societies.


Leaders listen to discussions of transformational uses of knowledge networks, communities of practice, content marketplaces, and similar concepts and respond with the observation, “Oh, that’s just another term for what we’ve been doing for years.” Or, “we’ve always had a community of practice.” Or, “we wrote the book on knowledge networks.” These contentions are likely to be false. One of the greatest dangers facing knowledge enterprises is having the terms and concepts of knowledge transformation misappropriated and misused. But this is a predictable downside to the Knowledge Age brought about by our immersion in information-rich environments that can give rise to information overload and organizational knowledge mis-management.

To create a genuine e-knowledge revolution requires changes in our world view of knowledge and how it is experienced. It also requires new terminology and fresh metaphors to describe knowledge and the knowledge ecology of organizations.


e-Knowledge Has Much
in Common with the Practices
of e-Business

e-Business is more than e-commerce. It is the use of ICT to transform the way organizations conduct business. e-Business practices have transformed practices and processes in every industry they have touched. e-Business enables enterprises to fundamentally change their relationships with customers, members, learners, suppliers/partners, and/or other stakeholders. In the process, enterprises create new blends of physical and virtual resources and experiences that have never before been possible.


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  New circumstances call for new words, new phrases… and for the transfer of old words to new objects.

Thomas Jefferson

We are entering a new era of design: new objects, new metaphors.

John Gage