We make knowledge actionable by helping organizations share their expertise across business units, from person-to-person, or across work groups. We do this by capturing that expertise, encoding it in a knowledge base, and then creating knowledge webs and/or knowledge books that the organization uploads to their intranet or shares in other ways as they require. Knowledge webs have multiple uses. They can be used to:
- Teach people who are just starting in an area and accelerate their progress up the learning curve.
- Spread knowledge across the functional boundaries of an organization such as from design to manufacturing (and vice versa), or from technical people to financial people (and vice versa).
- Archive knowledge for future generations. For example, it can store the reasons behind decisions that are made during the development of a new product. Some complex products such as military and aerospace products have an active life of many decades so it is vital that knowledge is passed down the generations in a format that is useable over a long span of time.
- Reduce the risks involved in losing access to people who have very specific knowledge, for example when people are close to retirement or when there are only one or two experts in a domain.
Knowledge webs and knowledge books present the contents of a knowledge base to end-users in a clear and navigable way:
- A knowledge web is similar to an ordinary website but is more structured and meaningful.
- A knowledge book can be printed out from an entire knowledge web or selected pages of a knowledge web can be printed to create a knowledge book.
- A knowledge web or knowledge book is often generated automatically from a knowledge base using special software (e.g. PCPACK).
- A knowledge web or knowledge book is structured around a number of items of knowledge called concepts.
- Each concept has an associated page (a k-page) that describes the concept using a structured format (usually a grid).
- There might typically be around 200 knowledge pages in a knowledge web or knowledge book.
- The hyperlinks between knowledge pages have a meaning which is shown by the contents of the page (by the headings in the left-hand column of the grid).
- As well as pages of information, a knowledge web or knowledge book can show graphical representations of the way concepts link to one another (e.g. using trees and maps).
- A knowledge web or knowledge book will usually feature a number of ways of finding knowledge, such as tabs, an A-Z list, a glossary, a browser tree, a word/phrase search facility and hotlinks on diagrams1.
1 Milton, N. Knowledge Acquisition in Practice,
2007, Springer-Verlag, London.