KARATEKIT: Tools for the Knowledge-Creating Company

Andreas Abecker*, Stuart Aitken+, Franz Schmalhofer*, and Bidjan Tschaitschian*

*German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, 
P.O. Box 2080, D-67608 Kaiserslautern, Germany, Email: aabecker@dfki.de

+Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute, 
University of Edinburgh, 80 South Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1HN, Scotland, Email: stuart@aiai.ed.ac.uk

Abstract. The companies of the future will live in an environment where markets are continuously shifting, technology proliferating, competitors multiplying, and products become obsolete overnight. Under such circumstances, knowledge management (in general) and knowledge creation (in particular) are becoming the most decisive business factors. Knowledge creation comprises the social sharing of vague, ambiguous and contradicting information, and thereby discovering novel concepts (Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1997). In the current paper, we describe how the KARAT and EKI Tools (KARATEKIT) can be jointly applied to support the knowledge-creation process. The KARAT system integrates techniques from knowledge acquisition, hypertext, text analysis, and groupware to support sharing of informal and tacit knowledge as well as its stepwise and gradual formalization. The EKI tool employs a user-programmable marker-passing mechanism that allows to reason beyond a fixed conceptual representation space. In this way the frame of reference can be extended and interesting new relations or novel concepts may be identified. The application of our system components is illustrated with respect to the historical knowledge-creation process at Honda in 1978, where the car concept "tall boy" was invented (i.e., a car being short for dealing with high density of traffic and being tall for maximizing passenger space).

Keywords: organizational learning, knowledge management, creativity

In: KAW`98, Eleventh Workshop on Knowledge Acquisition, Modeling and Management, Banff, Canada, 1998


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