Sunday, October 07, 2007

More on Knowledge Networking

Over the last few days, I have done a few posts (here, here, and here) on what I am calling knowledge networking. In my posts thus far, I have talked about knowledge networking at a conceptual level. In this post, I will provide more details on my take on knowledge networking.

As I have described before, I define knowledge networking as the ability for people to connect with the purpose of leveraging each other's knowledge. This is different than social networking where people connect with the purpose of communicating with each other.

In business, the notion of leveraging knowledge is not a new thing. Traditionally, organizations have implemented knowledge management systems in order to address this need. I argue, however, that in today's environment, classic knowledge management systems are no longer effective for the following reasons:
  • Much knowledge today is found in emails and on web pages. Classic knowledge management systems only support documents as a source of knowledge and they don't support email or web pages.
  • People want to share different levels of knowledge with others based on their relationship with them. Classic knowledge management systems don't support this notion.
  • With the vast amount of knowledge available today, users should be able to "stumble upon" knowledge that might be of interest to them. Classic knowledge management systems only respond to explicit requests made by users.
For today's environment, I feel there is a need for an organic form of knowledge management that optimizes the leveraging of knowledge among people. This organic form is what I call knowledge networking and it has the following characteristics:
  • Knowledge networking services should support email and web pages, as well as documents, as sources of knowledge.
  • Knowledge networking services should understand that a user has different types of relationships among people and needs to share knowledge differently based on those relationships.
  • Knowledge networking services should not only address explicit requests made by users, but should also automatically locate relevant knowledge for a user based on their interests (i.e., "stumble upon" knowledge).
Now, if you were reading the above characteristics carefully, you should have noticed that I consistently said, "Knowledge networking services should..."; the word "should" being the important word. Yes, this implies I am laying out my requirements for a knowledge networking service and one currently does not exist. Based on the research I have conducted thus far, I have not seen such a solution yet. However, I have been doing some consulting recently for a start-up and they have the potential to be a player in this area. They will be making some announcements in a couple weeks so stay tuned.

1 comment:

Galen said...

You're on target and it does exist. Imindi.com is all about creating and leveraging collective knowledge. All of the semantic mashups are important, but they're just edge work around the core engine--our minds. The way we associate things is orders of magnitude beyond what current semantic technology can do. That is what we must tap and integrate into our systems.