What kind of knowledge do we need to represent?

The Insight-Centric Knowledge Model (ICKMOD) described in this publication is designed primarily to address the requirements of representing the key common knowledge of organizations. That knowledge bridges the gaps between (1) the knowledge of individuals (and their areas of specialization) and (2) the needs of other members of the organizations to which those specialists belong. Within any “organization” (defined loosely as a set of people with a common interest) there are usually many subsets of specialists whose knowledge is valuable to other members of the organization.

I am not predicating a strict divide between such “key common knowledge” of the organization captured in the ICKMOD framework and the activities of specialists. It is highly likely that the key common knowledge will have substantial utility in a wide range of organizational activities. Nor am I asserting that ICKMOD would not be useful for many kinds of specialists.

But the key common knowledge of the organization is precisely the area in which we need to make the transition from cost center to organizational value.

I have defined “organization” very loosely as a set of people with a common interest. That can be a very big set of people who have many other interests or a small group of people. Health care policy is a good example, because it is an organization that contains several groups of “specialists”:

  • The medical community — health care providers
  • Insurers
  • Economists
  • Government agencies
  • Employers, and, of course,
  • Health care users themselves, who are often employees

Each has a perspective and key expertise that is not readily understood by other participants in this “organization.”

Other potential beneficiaries

The potential beneficiaries of the key common knowledge of an organization may also include sets of people outside the strict confines of the organization — people who might benefit from a precise understanding of the organization’s knowledge, including

  • Unforeseen/potential customers
  • Investors and stock analysts
  • Market researchers
  • Business partners
  • Merger and acquisition specialists
  • Taxpayers

Highly technical organizations — for example, research institutions — tend to focus on their own expertise. One result is a certain blindness to unforeseen market requirements. The flip side of that gap is that people seeking solutions simply cannot find or understand the relevance of those highly specialized research institutions. The author encountered precisely this situation at the Marine Biology Lab at Woods Hole (Massachusetts), where directors of the Lab were frustrated that government agencies could not see or quickly grasp the significance of their research and its immediate relevance to the protection of coastal watersheds.

ICKMOD does not address the knowledge of technical specialists

ICKMOD does not address the requirements of capturing and representing the complex technical knowledge of specialists. Most communities of specialists have already developed practices and tools for capturing and leveraging the knowledge or their specialties. Process engineers, project managers, and systems engineers come to mind.

© Copyright 2017 Philip C. Murray


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One Response to What kind of knowledge do we need to represent?

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