No don’t bother to check KSE up in the dictionary. It hasn’t even got into the Wikipedia yet (circa January 2007). It’s a name that I created to describe an area of knowledge work that has not been adequately addressed. There are many nearly sciences, but none have the focus that I require.

KSE concentrates on how to design structures that foster knowledge and innovation, secure it and make it available to potential users. Then recursively feed the new knowledge back into the wisdom creating systems.

There have been many tools and methods which try to force innovation and knowledge creation. In the 1970’s there were Alexander’s method, Synectics, AIDA and of course simple brainstorming, among many others. Recently we have Toga, Mokta, KADS and Spede etc.

Anecdotally we have ideas on lateral thinking, coffee machine serendipity, mind mapping etc.

None of these targets how to build a structure which creates a womb, in which such knowledge is created, nurtured and preserved. We have not even begun to grasp how to organise and direct such processes.

What is clear is the optimal elements available for such a structure are changing rapidly. A few years ago we would have focused on the firm or the organisation.  Now things are very different.

Why would we have then focused on the organisation? Because innovation does not occur in a vacuum. No great conceptual achievement occurred to an isolated man on a mountaintop. All from Newton to Einstein lived in their intellectual community, and added to it. Eventually one or another reached the summit and was crowned for his achievements, but in reality he stood upon the shoulders of his forebears and peers.

Organisations were then the main social/contractual [1] means of coalescing intellects to a coherent purpose.  Organisations and Sovereign States were the gatekeepers of easy, information rich, intellectual dialogue. The financial and occasionally physical barriers they controlled were sufficient to limit and control that adventitious discourse which is the lifeblood of originality.

The internet has changed all that. It is not merely an interesting tool but a power shifting paradigm. It enables the connection of people with ideas with others of similar intent, without the precursor of being members of anything. You might argue the telephone network similarly made such a connection possible. In a sense you would be right, it did allow people with related interests to discourse. However they had to know in advance that they had such similar interests before they made the first connection. The difference with the internet is that it facilitates discovery. You can search, browse and advertise your interests to find potential interlocutors of whom you were previously unaware. It then aids your continued collaboration.

This means that one of the necessary, but not sufficient elements, of the Knowledge Creative structure system as been significantly enhanced in the last few years.

The Knowledge Structure Engineer's job is to find or construct the other essential elements.


That what KSE is all about.

Watch this space !




[1] Organisations and States are just a pile of social contracts (JH 1995)

(c) John Hulbert 2006

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