24-Hour Knowledge Factory: Using Internet Technology to Leverage Spatial and Temporal Separations
43 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2007
Date Written: January 29, 2007
A "24-Hour Knowledge Factory" involves a team distributed across three or more collaborating centers connected to each other by internet technology or by dedicated networks, with work on specific endeavors being performed on a round-the-clock basis. A white-collar professional could work in the US on a standard 9 am to 5 pm basis; at the end of his or her workday, the activity could be transferred to a colleague in Australia who works during daytime in that country; and, at the end of the latter's workday, the work could be transferred to a third colleague in Poland, who in turn could pass the baton 8 hours later to the first worker in the US. In this scenario, each member of the team would work during the normal workday hours that pertain to his or her time zone. The effective use of sequential workers in a 24-Hour Knowledge Factory requires that professional tasks be broken down to the level that individuals can work on them with minimal interaction with their peers. In addition, one requires new technological approaches that would reduce the effort involved in transitioning from one employee to the next. The latter aspect is facilitated by the concept of composite personae. A pair of technology prototypes was developed; these prototypes leverage internet-based capabilities to redefine the manner of sharing of knowledge. One prototype uses a web-based interactive system coupled with a unique data model to optimize collection and storage of design rationale and history from both stakeholders and workers. The other prototype presents an interaction model where multiple individuals can act as one "composite persona" when interacting with these systems on the internet, thereby allowing tasks and knowledge to be shared across the internet in a seamless manner, without the need for complex authentication and security models. The combination of these prototypes provides the foundation for an integrated internet-based system for implementing the 24-hour knowledge factory model. Further, a case study was conducted at IBM to observe the harbinger of a 24-hour knowledge factory in action and to determine the role that internet technology played in accomplishing the overall endeavor.
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