Todays pioneering examples are state-of-the-art
practices. Our challenge is to move beyond these existing concepts
and experiences to envision a world in which our knowledge experiences
and competencies will be dramatically different from the here and
Moving Beyond Digitizing and
Webifying Existing Practices
In applying the tools of ICT to any field of endeavor,
the organizations first inclination is to digitize and Webify
existing content, processes, and practices , as it has been with
learning and knowledge management. But after digitizing course packs,
texts, technical manuals, and organizational procedures, practitioners
have begun to understand how to use ICT tools to create new forms,
processes, and practices for learning and knowledge management.
The early forms of new practices are being invented, but they need
unifying and guiding principles.
Observing this process yields an important insight:
individuals are the heroes of process transformation.
Individual practitioners typically are the ones who see that merely
digitizing existing practices does not reap the expected dividends.
Organizational routines, principles, and practices have substantial
inertia. Changes are typically originated by individualschange-agents
who are experienced practitioners, whose insights into practice
enable them to understand how successful examples of innovation
can be used to change the organization.
The Danger of Misappropriating
Terms and Concepts
A common scene is repeated every day in virtually
every knowledge-driven enterprise ranging from universities to corporations
to professional societies.
Leaders listen to discussions of transformational
uses of knowledge networks, communities of practice, content marketplaces,
and similar concepts and respond with the observation, Oh,
thats just another term for what weve been doing for
years. Or, weve always had a community of practice.
Or, we wrote the book on knowledge networks. These contentions
are likely to be false. One of the greatest dangers facing knowledge
enterprises is having the terms and concepts of knowledge transformation
misappropriated and misused. But this is a predictable downside
to the Knowledge Age brought about by our immersion in information-rich
environments that can give rise to information overload and organizational
To create a genuine e-knowledge revolution
requires changes in our world view of knowledge and how it is experienced.
It also requires new terminology and fresh metaphors to describe
knowledge and the knowledge ecology of organizations.
e-Knowledge Has Much
in Common with the Practices
e-Business is more than e-commerce. It is the use
of ICT to transform the way organizations conduct business. e-Business
practices have transformed practices and processes in every industry
they have touched. e-Business enables enterprises to fundamentally
change their relationships with customers, members, learners, suppliers/partners,
and/or other stakeholders. In the process, enterprises create new
blends of physical and virtual resources and experiences that have
never before been possible.