|March 1, 2000|
04 00067 61 00030102
Mr. Douglas C. Engelbart, Ph.D.
6505 Kaiser Drive
Fremont, CA 94555
|Subject:||Ambassadors of Change|
Bandwidth for Study and Progress|
Just saying thanks for your letter on February 23, and wishing you well in the final Colloquium sessions. Knowledge Management is not an easy subject. You have widened the circle of interest beyond technologists, and hopefully will form the critical mass necessary for change.
Possibly after the Colloquium there will be time to focus some bandwidth on common objectives. A key requirement for effective knowledge management is educating people about distinctions between information and knowledge, the role of "intelligence," the impact, cause and solution to meaning drift and so on, touched upon in our discussion on December 22. In other words, merely producing interesting tools is not enough. They have to be used regularly, and this likely requires a new role, explained in the New World Order... paper. Using Drucker's word, we have routinize aspects of cognitive science, project management and legal practice into a stronger set of skills for daily knowledge work, which can be aided by tools. Aspects of these specialized disciplines can be combined into an intelligence role that makes the DKR useful.
Ray Levitt is conducting a course on advanced project management through SCPD beginning in a few weeks. He confirms in a recent letter that his research establishes information overload reduces productivity. He, also, admits Stanford does not have a solution, which is not a criticism, since nobody else does either. Stanford has recently taken the important step of integrating disciplines to form a new Management Science department. Thus, the direction and machinery is in place to teach a course on implementing knowledge management. I happen to call the set of skills for this work Communication Metrics, but the name is not really important. What is important is that KM needs to reach beyond the technologists perspective of creating a computer program, and teach how to apply KM technology day-to-day to augment human capabilities.
Experience with Communication Metrics over the past 15 years provides a good sense about what needs to be taught in order to help CEOs, engineers, secretaries, scientists, and everyone be more productive. But I don't have "enough rocks in my pockets" to help the right people, people like Ray and Elisebeth Pate-Cornell, slow down long enough to think carefully about what is needed to move forward. Your history suggests you can appreciate the urgency of co-evolving training with tools. Your reputation, accomplishments and contacts in the academic community provide possible leverage to help make this case. Hopefully when time permits, we can think together about the kind of formal training needed to "finish the revolution."
Don't bother responding now. I will send a follow up in a few weeks when there is more time to think.