Thanks. That helps.
I tend to work a lot with intra-organizational bodies of knowledge, so I
was not sufficiently sensitive to the fact that credit, ownership and
permissions would be a big deal in broader inter-organizational or
If I understand your alternative - but sticking to my metaphor - the key
is to ensure that CoP participants have a mutually-agreed, mineral
rights distribution agreement in place before mining is allowed. If
practical concerns prevent you from reaching such an agreement, it's
better to leave the knowledge in the ground. Otherwise, the claim
disputes will sabotage the CoP.
Intra-organizational CoPs may escape some (not all) of this problem
because the organization may claim ownership of all mine output.
If that's correct, the creation of fair mining agreements presents an
interesting opportunity for CoP research and development. Is there any
work going on in that area?
Andy Roberts wrote:
> On 12/12/05, Vic Uzumeri <vic.uzumeri@...> wrote:
>> I'm curious about your view that CoPs may not have a role in knowledge
>> harvesting. I fear I'm missing something. I would have thought that a
>> lot of knowledge expressed in CoPs would be well situated almost
>> automatically - if not explicitly, then through shared and commonly
>> understood inferences.
>> The spontaneous, organic way that knowledge typically surfaces may make
>> it hard to record, categorize and find, ... but wouldn't it still be
>> there like valuable mineral scattered through ore - waiting for the
>> right mining and refining technique?
> Perhaps it's the very word 'harvesting' which may well have negative
> connotations from the COP's point of view.
> It really all depends upon who is doing the harvesting or mining and
> how they got own the mineral rights. Harvesting the fruits of your own
> labour is always commendable, and COPS may arrange to do that for
> themselves, but if there's the suggestion of somebody coming along
> from outside and strip-mining the carefully tended hillside then
> that's going to be seen as threatening.
> I prefer the metaphor of stocks and flows which sees knowledge as
> being surfaced in the flow of conversations, like a river going past
> and with the possibility of accumulating some of that knowledge by
> building a dam right next to where the river is, and making sure it's
> still part of the same body of water, still accessible to all the
> people who have been part of the conversation, and not in any way
> fenced off or diverted away somewhere for the benefit of a completely
> different set of people with alternative motives.
> The thing to do with communities is to join them, not harvest them.
> Andy Roberts
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