A Back-Casting Knowledge Management Vision for a Digital Platform Ecosystem in Support of Thrivable Communities of Knowledge Workers

Ulrich Schmitt
Journal of Digital Innovation for Humanity  •  Volume 1 (2020)  •  pp. 092-109   FEATURED ARTICLE

This year marks the 75th anniversary of an article titled ‘As we may think’. It envisioned the ‘Memex’ as a personal device affording the productive use of the accumulated human knowledge. It also allowed for the integration of own augmentations able to be effectively shared with the ‘Memexes’ of others. This article follows up on Vannevar Bush’s still unfulfilled aspiration as well as on current unsustainable Knowledge Management (KM) states. What would be today’s impact and gestalt of such a digital innovation, and how can it be implemented to serve the well-being of humanity?

To answer these questions, we are drafting a Vision for a ‘Memex’-inspired novel decentralized Knowledge Management System. Its aim is to strengthen the capabilities and autonomy of individual knowledge workers to become collaborative contributors to and beneficiaries of institutional and societal performances.

The vision elements are rooted in an advanced-stage design science research project and its conceptualization and prototyping of a novel decentralized KM system.

The new perspective taken accounts for notions of entropy, generativity, trans-disciplinarity, and sustainability and aims for a digital platform ecosystem which affords clients with highly diverse skills and ambitions to gainfully utilize its resources and generative potential in their personal and local contexts.

With its focus on a sustainable development path to benefit knowledge workers, the back-casting vision methodology applied demonstrates its potential to share the envisaged KM prospects with a wider critical mass of stakeholders as a prerequisite for creating the respective decentralized, more generative KM reality.

Position Paper  |  Knowledge Visions, Knowledge Management, Memex, Personal Knowledge Management, Knowledge Worker, Opportunity Divides, General-Purpose-Technology, Disruptive Innovation
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