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© Han van Loon 1996-2006

STARS and Collaboration

While STARS has as its fundamental basis a personal perspective to management and improvement, its also recognises the vital importance of collaboration.

It therefore has both a teamwork theme - providing the basis for creating and sustaining succesful team collaboration, and a systems theme - encompassing systems thinking and how this guides collaborative environments across organisations and teams.

STARS Webworx uses these themes as conceptual framework for conceiving collaborative work environments. One such application is dynamic virtual project teams across mutliple organisations. Another STARS derivation aligns Knowledge Management [KM] with Collaborative Working Environments [CWE].

One of the challenges that many enterprises have yet to properly handle is how to know what level of investment is required and for how long before gaining a return on investment [ROI]. This is often due to incomplete understanding of the Knowledge life cycle, adoption and learning curves and knowledge utilisation. The following diagram I have originated shows the various states of Knowledge (expressed as nouns in the diagram) and the actions (expressed as verbs on the arrows).

The right circle of the diagram represents the adoption/learning phase, while the left circle represents the benefit/return phase. The major ROI occurs when Expertise and especially Mastery are achieved.

When the Knowledge cycle overlays a multiple enterprise team organisation (as in virtual project teams), the cycle times and stage transitions expand in complexity and in time taken. Therefore handling knowledge is a vital component of collaborative working environments. Current technology however is only focussed only handling DATA and INFORMATION, and to a much lesser extent KNOWLEDGE and INTELLIGENCE. The later two knowledge levels are partially handled by some technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence), genetic algorithms, neural networks, but these encapsulate knowledge into a tool with limited output to humans. True collaborative working environments need to provide more and better links and outpouts between these tools and the people using them. Current research is beginning to recognise some of the limitations (i.e. the research is gaining KNOWLEDGE) and experimenting with how to apply this knowledge (i.e. INTELLIGENCE).

A specific example of knowledge domain is shown in the following STARS Webworx mindmap. It provides an overview of the main components comprising the STARS Webworx tool. The STARS Webworx prototype tool incorporates many of the features in 3 main stems of the Mind map: Communication and Delivery; Artifacts and Collaborative Work Environment (i.e. Production Environment).

One of my research interests is the intersection of knowledge management with the process of people collaborating.

Proposals for EU projects have embraced this area.