Better ways of working learning and living

Innovation and adaption drives value

The application of new ideas and improvements to existing ideas is at the heart of the knowledge economy, increasing value in the overall economy. Innovation is its currency. Schools, universities, research establishments, public libraries and commercial entities are central to the creation, enhancement and exchange of knowledge. Traditional methods for publishing knowledge, such as newspapers, magazines and books, now compete with websites, blogs, tweets and wikis. These more radical ways of publishing within the knowledge economy enable new forms of knowledge to develop within our community but it means that traditional institutions of the knowledge economy have to change radically or they will no longer exist.

This is happening. Radical changes have resulted from the many incremental changes made to the internet since it was established in 1969. This gradual transformation provided a solid, ubiquitous platform for human communication and collaboration. It is useful to think about these changes in phases:

  • Web 0.0 connects technologists –The Internet (1969)

  • Web 1.0 connects information –World Wide Web (1991)

  • Web 2.0 connects people – Social Networks (2002)

  • Web 3.0 connects knowledge – Semantic Web (2006)

  • Web 4.0 connects intelligence – Ubiquitous Web (>2010)

Quality ideas not tools

Paradoxically these emerging global forms of the web have reintroduced more traditional storytelling techniques for knowledge exchange. Before the telephone, stories were recounted, listened to or written down. The Bloomsbury Set, for instance, the friends and family of writers, painters, critics and economists including Virginia Woolf, EM Forster and John Maynard Keynes, who congregated in that inner London suburb, challenged the social ideas of the early 20th century, exchanging their thoughts by mail delivered twice a day. With the web, its product, like letters of old, is much more permanent than telephone conversations and will make wonderful source material for analysing the knowledge economy.