In the late 1980's early 1990's we experienced a radically new way of working in groups as a result of some new emerging technologies that we called 'groupware'. Lotus Notes was, and still is to my mind, a leader in this area.
As a result, collaborative technologies such as these were better able to support more effective virtual team working. Leading KM technology infrastructures were based on these new emerging technologies.
Then, for a period of 10 years, the debate ran, something like 'KM is not a technology, its about people processes and supporting technologies, its an holistic discipline. True enough! Even the technologists themselves put technology down.
But, in my opinion, it was the emerging technologies that gave us new and better knowledge working potential, and where there has been failure, its been in our inability to develop effective strategies, processes and competencies that fully exploit these technologies.
Today, I see the same phenomena again!
The radically new emerging technologies that some like to call Web 2.0, the wiki's the blogs, the RSS feeds etc are once again providing enormous potential to create and harness global knowledge. Our challenge is to develop appropriate strategies, processes and new competencies to fully exploit this.
On the other hand, I feel that the emerging technologies need to be so simple and so powerful to use, with such obvious benefit that people will simply not want to go back to the old way of working. Maybe WEb 2.0 is getting there? Maybe the examples of Wikipedia, and the like, are showing that the toools are both radically new and radically simple to use.
I just hope that the emerging conferences in 2006 will move us all forward faster, and not get us stuck in the old debate about people and technology again. To my mind, technology is an extension and enabler for humanity and should be positively embraced.
Collective knowledge creation through wiki's, at least, seriously challenge the academic institutional processes of knowledge creation, at least for the time being, I think?
I look forward to even more disruptive technologies and innovations over the next few years.
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