ACTIVE promotes knowledge across Europe
Europe has set itself the goal of becoming the world’s leading knowledge-based economy by 2010. This means that businesses must bolster the productivity of their knowledge workers to boost their competitiveness. The problem is that existing information systems do not provide companies with enough support, so information exchange can be time-consuming or even unavailable. The solution, according to the EU-funded project ACTIVE, is to increase productivity in a pro-active, yet simple way.
Currently, a lot of the knowledge in companies is stored in e-mails, personal files and inside employees’ brains. The aim of ACTIVE is to tap into this hidden source of unshared knowledge and convert it into transferable, interoperable and actionable knowledge. This would result in consistent and coherent cooperation, making problem solving possible, the project partners say.
At the heart of the project is the development of a ‘Knowledge Workspace’, an innovative system which ACTIVE believes will give businesses the impetus needed to make knowledge technology effective for a bigger share of their essential knowledge. The ACTIVE 'Knowledge Workspace' will be better than the software currently available on the market, the project partners hope.
'The ACTIVE Knowledge Workspace will significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge workers,' explains Paul Warren, project director for ACTIVE. 'It will boost the power of informal knowledge exchange that traditionally has taken place in conversations at the water cooler.'
To create the workspace, the project partners will integrate concepts and tools from four fields: social software and web 2.0 applications; semantic technologies; context mining, modelling and sensitive task management; and knowledge process mining, modelling and support.
The project partners will assess major economic and organisation factors as well as incentive mechanisms to ensure the development of the workspace. A user-centric system development and evaluation will also be carried out.
Furthermore, the ACTIVE project will draw on existing knowledge processes. Typically these are established by people who need a quick solution. The problem is that they are soon forgotten and then reinvented. By capturing these processes, ACTIVE will give people the opportunity to re-use them, allowing them to play a major role in the transfer of hidden intelligence within companies.
Knowledge workers, according to the ACTIVE consortium, want information to be filtered, so that they have easy access to key information while being able to screen out what is less significant. These workers believe that interruptions are acceptable only when urgent issues arise. According to ACTIVE, management of the context will be key to solving the problem. The project partners will aim to adapt the user's experience to the current context of their work.
The initial stage of activity includes using the workspace solution in three industry sectors: consulting, telecommunications and engineering. The added value of the 'ACTIVE technology' will be assessed in economic, organisation and user studies. Comprehensive field tests will be carried out.
'We are confident that the technology developed by ACTIVE will be taken up by knowledge-driven enterprises in Europe and beyond,' says Mr Warren.
The project, which is funded under the ‘Information and Communication Technologies’ (ICT) theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), is scheduled to run until 2011.