Next On KM …


If you are wondering about the poll i have posted … this reflects something i have been thinking about. The question that comes to mind is …

Like the 90s saw the emergence of ERP, for example, as a major driving force in business excellence, and this, over a period of time, moved from the centrestage to being an initiative in the operational excellence space, would KM also move along similar lines?

With this in mind, i have been thinking what the direction KM would take over the next few years. Definitely, this is a question for which there are no definite answers, which is why i have posted the poll, to see what you think. The three thoughts that came to mind:

1. Web 2.0/E 2.0: This is something which is already happening. More and more of KM thought is towards how the concepts of social computing and social networking are emerging, their utility in the organizational context, and the impact these are likely to have on the structure of the organization of tomorrow. Is this likely to continue as the central theme of KM?

2. Innovation: Is KM going to merge with another stream, like innovation, or, to look at it in a broaded context, will KM become the next tool for driving organizational change? Would this lead to KM being the tool for developing organization responses to changing market conditions? Or, in other words, would KM become a strategy tool?

3. Operational Excellence: Would KM become another tool to drive operational excellence in the organization, rather than being a differentiator, or driver for change or development in the organization?

I am sure there are other possibilities. Just cant think of too many. Please do leave your comments …

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One Comment on “Next On KM …”

  1. Rajat says:

    Hi Atul, I will like to take to you to the next big thing : Web3.o and the Virtual world . Virtul Worlds: a breakthrough technology that will forever reshape learning and business You’d have to try very hard to avoid exposure to the virtual world phenomenon in America these days. From “South Park’s” hilarious episode on “World of Warcraft” (the world’s largest MMORG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) to Business Week’s cover article in April, and with coverage on “Good Morning America,” “CBS Sunday Morning” and countless other shows, virtual worlds appear to be the new-new thing. Second Life (SL) is the poster child for virtual worlds (VWs), those computer-generated mass hallucinations where people fly and perform magic, companies build artificial buildings and islands, and public relations firms spend boatloads of money making virtual splashes on behalf of clients with deep pockets. Tens of thousands of people are “in” Second Life at any given time. More than three million people have registered, and SL reports 1.6 million residents have checked in during the last 30 days. VW enthusiasts may spend twelve hours a day surrounded by bits, not atoms. Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus and author of the Second Life Insider blog, considers VWs a disruptive and transformative technology on the level of the personal computer or the Internet. It’s not out of bounds to ask how much of this virtual stuff is real. After all, we don’t want to find ourselves in the position of the chairman of Western Union telegraph, who passed up the option to buy Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, saying, “Who wants to hear people talk?” VWs have too much potential for learning professionals to ignore. But Virtual Worlds should not be used to automate existing learning approaches and models: A virtual classroom with virtual students and a virtual PowerPoint deck is not the end-game for learning in VWs. To avoid these pitfalls, let’s explore how VWs work, how they are being used in learning, who the major players are, and what the future may hold. What do people do in VWs?First, let’s go on record by stating the obvious: VWs will not replace other forms of learning. Instead, we believe the thoughtful application of VW technology will significantly enhance the experience and transfer of learning. We encourage you to examine this technology with fresh eyes and begin by asking what sensibilities it can bring to the learner that aren’t found in traditional learning technology. So instead of asking “How do I build a virtual classroom?” we might ask, “What can this technology do that will enhance the learner’s experience that my current learning technology portfolio cannot?” Here are the VW sensibilities we have identified so far: • The Sense of Self. First, a bit of terminology. Your virtual self is called an avatar. Your avatar is your persona, totally under your control. As opposed to games or simulations where people have limited freedom to set their own course, your avatar can walk (or fly) wherever he or she chooses. This occurs in real time: Click to fly and your avatar is aloft. More importantly, the more you hang out in VWs the more you and your avatar become one. In short, you are your avatar when in a VW, and your emotional attachment to that avatar will surprise you! • The Death of Distance. Avatars reside in a boundless virtual landscape in which they can teleport through cyberspace from one place to another at the speed of light. There is no distance in VWs. Think of yourself as Einstein did when he formulated the theory of relativity. You are sitting on a beam of light, and you can go from one place to the next in an instant. SL’s landscape is home to stores, businesses, shops, houses, office buildings, campuses, and playing fields, all constructed by residents themselves, thousands of entrepreneurs who design and build with great skills, or by the more than 60 firms offering a range of professional services. The landscape in a VW is persistent; cut off your computer and the VW will be there when you return. It’s like SimCity except that it’s SimContinent or SimPlanet. Other VWs come with more structure: ProtoSphere (ProtonMedia’s virtual environment) comes with pre-built classrooms, lecture halls, and meeting spaces. • The Power of Presence, Sense of Space, and Capacity to Co-Create. Avatars interact with one another through the actions of their real-life puppet-masters. Avatars converse, collaborate, attend book signings, concerts and meetings, listen to presentations, explore, co-construct virtual buildings or sculptures, write in wikis, and play baseball or tringo (a popular in-world game that will be soon available on cell-phones and launched as a TV game show by the BBC). VWs encourage social groups to form. Unimaginable? Stanford researcher Clifford Nass has discovered that people often treat computers as they would other people. They like a computer that praises them. If humans treat beige boxes as kin, surely they can identify with animated humanoids in a VW. • The Pervasiveness of Practice. Walk around Second Life for a while and you’ll come to the conclusion that it’s not only a virtual social world, but a world that fosters a culture of collaborative learning. Sandboxes abound where slightly more experienced Second Lifers share what they know with others. In every corner you see chat interactions that start with the wonderful learning question “How do I…?” Stop and look around. You will come to realize that this is an emotive network where all the cultural attributes of peer-to-peer creation and learning are present, but in a way that renders it logical for us as human beings. Those who bang bits for a living may think Usenet or Linux development in 3D; those from the Web 2.0 generation may think MySpace plus eBay in 3D; and members of the wiki movement may envision Wikipedia becoming Wikitechture, with avatars co-creating things in 3D space and learning all along the way. • The Enrichment of Experience. Another sensibility VWs provide is the enrichment of experience. In saying this we don’t just mean that VWs are better than Centra or Interwise. We are saying that is possible to have experiences in these spaces that are not possible in the real world. VWs provide the ability to exist in an augmented reality. Maybe you are confined to a wheelchair and suddenly you can dance the night away, or perhaps you want to interact with your design colleagues around the world to check out a virtual prototype of a car, a chip layout, a battlefield situation, or a caffeine molecule. This platform enables people to experience life in new and engaging ways. SL still exhibits some rough edges. Hackers have already shut down the world, at least temporarily (imagine that!). People have been mugged. Business Week reported that “when a space is swamped with visitors (more than 60 to 90), a bug in the system can make avatars’ clothes disappear.” It can be distracting when the guy next to you in class looks like Robert DeNiro in “Taxi Driver” and the woman on your other side has wings and glowing green skin. Note: As we write this, cyber-terrorists have just brought down a building in SL with a bomb. Major corporations are creating a lot of buzz around VWs but most of it is promotional. It’s hip, and compared to alternatives, it’s cheap. But it holds few answers to our questions about how to improve learning with VWs.


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