Karl M.Wiig, K.M. Wrote in his paper, “Effective societal knowledge management. Journal of Knowledge Management” that nations must create societal knowledge management to enable and benefit its citizens A strong societal knowledge enable the nation to participate in global knowledge economy, which is what all nations want. Knowledge is considered part of broader concept of intellectual capital and the terms are used interchangeably (p154).
David Rooney & Thomas Mandeville wrote in their paper “The knowing nations: A framework for public policy in a post-industrial knowledge economy” write that nations are about people, economics are about people and knowledge is a product of people. According to Rooney knowledge grow, evolve, and expand through dissemination and use. Rosegger research pointed out that there is a misconception within many organisation that they should keep knowledge to themselves in order to remain competitive. Sharing knowledge between firms or subsidiaries augment the existing firm’s knowledge. Andrew C. Inkpen research paper “Creating Knowledge Through Collaboration” shows that some firms form strategic alliance to learn new knowledge. Andrew studies a number of Japanese American automotive firm alliance and observe how they grow knowledge by sharing them. His study shows that the firm’s engineers are able to form new tacit knowledge when each they share their knowledge willingly.
Some nations are fortunate enough so that they are able build a strong societal knowledge. Unfortunately, according to UNESCO statistic in 2001 – 2002 reading-writing-arithmetic literacy is inequitably distributed throughout the world. Some of their findings are: 26 percent of the world’s adult population is illiterate,98 percent of non-literates live in developing countries;in the least developed countries, the overall illiteracy rate is 49 percent, 52 percent of all non-literates live in India and China, which have one-third of world population, less than 60 percent of adults are literate in Africa; and women make up two-thirds of all non-literates.
Many developed nations understand that helping less literate developing countries will not only help the developing countries but it will also strengthens the developing countries economy. Australia, Belgium, Switzerland, and many developed countries offer scholarship to developing countries.
We may not have the resources of a nation or an organisation to improve knowledge, but there is still a lot that we can do to strengthen the knowledge of our society and the world as a whole. The advancement of information technology gives us means to share and grow knowledge across society and nation through virtual collaboration:
1.Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project devoted to learning resources, learning projects, and research for use in all levels, types, and styles of education from pre-school to university, including professional training and informal learning. Anyone who has an internet connection will be able to learn new knowledge through Wikiversity. Wikiversity is a good example on how sharing knowledge grows the knowledge itself. Wikiversity consist of interrelated web pages that contains myriads of knowledge contributed by thousands of people around the world. The public has the freedom to update any of the web pages thus improving and expanding the explicit knowledge within Wikiversity.
2.Mozilla foundation believes that everyone should know how to use the internet. The Mozilla foundation held a ‘service week‘ every year to encourage people to form communities to share their technical knowledge. Some of Mozilla community projects are teaching senior citizens how to use the Web, show non profit organisation on how to use social networking to grow its base of supporters, help installing wireless network at schools, upgrade outdated browser in their neighborhood, update non-profit organisation website, etc.
3. Karl Wiig pointed out that people are the society basic knowledge block and people knowledge grow through education. Creating a participative learning environment by utilizing information technology is important to improve the learning process. Edubuntu is an educational operating system that is a part of the Ubuntu family. It aims to make Ubuntu, the popular Linux-based operating system, a great choice for the computing needs of children, students, parents, teachers, and schools. Edubuntu is a great way to provide free teaching software to schools or institutes that cannot afford an expensive licensed software tool. Since edubuntu is a free and open source software, anyone can contribute their knowledge to improve edubuntu. Anyone can develop modules in edubuntu, develop documentation, or test the software to improve the software and ultimately improve the learning process in the classroom.
A stronger societal knowledge will benefit everyone. We as individuals has the power to improve the knowledge of our society, nation, and the world. The above examples are some simple examples on how we can use our expertise to help others.