## The Knowledge Inventory; Part 2

Suppose we used the Dewey Decimal System to write a resume. A person could be described as a series of numbers instead of words and computers can search the numbers as they do key words today.

For example: 302, 307, 330, 607, 17, 500, 519

This person has experience in social interactions, communities, economics, educational research, ethics, natural sciences, statistical analysis

While memories of high school librarians may make us cringe, the computer loves numbers and classifications in this format. This will be important especially where knowledge is very specific. However, this simple list of numbers does not capture the knowledge of a person any better than the flawed “key word” search system that we are trying to replace. So we need to do something more.

If your mind were a library and you attempted to map it all out, one would see that everything is related in some way – intuitively, this is what defines you. If we looked at your brain, we would discover a huge network of experiences, relationships, books read, lessons learned, and people encountered. We would find a system of knowledge rather than random facts. Your likes and dislikes would be reflected in what you do and do not want to do. Everyone is different – nobody is the same. Everyone innovates, everyone has knowledge, and everyone shares information.

Somehow we need to reflect this on our computer readable resume.

The Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) System was built on top of Dewey for precisely this reason, to catalog complex and dynamic knowledge. The UDC system uses symbols to connect and relate the categories.

• Addition (+) allows for a string of subjects to be listed together.

• Forward slash (/) defines a range – or a “system” of subjects matter.

• Colon (:) identifies categories that are related like; sports and medicine, ethics and law; innovation and economics.

• We can even employ Boolean Operations such as IF, AND, OR, NOT statements. For example; we can say Polo IF Horses NOT water OR trade marks

• In a Global Economy, we can employ language and culture assets as well.

Now, we have a system of numbers and symbols represent the knowledge of the person.

For example: {20,12};[302+307], (330):[607+17]+[500/519]

Now we see that a computer language is emerging for human knowledge. This “resume” is for a specialist in Social systems and communities of practice. Knowledgeable in economics related to educational research, ethics, and natural sciences. They also employ statistical analysis in their work and can do it all in either English and Spanish

This is starting to demonstrate several key advantages:

1. It is Infinite and expandable to any field of knowledge
2. Paints a picture of knowledge not simply a list of information about a person.
3. Machine programmable and machine readable.
4. knowledge of several people can be combined to represent the knowledge inventory of a team, group, or company

We are getting closer to the elusive true “Knowledge Asset”. Part 3 will demonstrate how knowledge can be made to look like a buck, walk like a buck, and quack like a buck.

## The Knowledge Inventory; Part 1

We identified the 5 essential elements of a market economy. Then, we discussed the currency of the Innovation Economy; people trade information and turn it into knowledge and new ideas using factors of production; Intellectual Capital Creative Capital and Social Capital. Now we’ll discuss the inventory strategy for knowledge assets.

Most companies have an inventory of every nut, rivet, or panel that they need to build something of value. Innovation Economics will be no different – we need an inventory of knowledge in our community so that we can build things with it.

Google and Wikipedia offer us a huge inventory of information – we read that information and turn it into knowledge through a mental process. Since knowledge can only exist inside people, we need a catalog of what people know. Our Knowledge inventory must be able to catalog and classify all human knowledge from the past, present, and future. It must account for Intellectual Capital, Social Capital, and Creative Capital. If done correctly, our knowledge inventory will begin to take on the characteristics of assets – knowledge will look like money.

Suppose that we say your resume is like a book about you. This isn’t too strange since every book that you have read has become part of your knowledge inventory. Every conversation with another person has become part of your inventory. Every new idea that you have tried, successful of failed, is part of your inventory. The things that you like to do, things that you do not like to do, and things that you do not know are part of this inventory as well.

The Dewey Decimal System is a way to catalog information. Even though Dewey is somewhat archaic, it provides a good example of how a knowledge inventory should be structured. Entrepreneurs will improve it if needed – so let’s just understand the concept for now.

For a quick review, the body of written information is divided into 10 main categories. Each main category is divided into 10 more categories and each of those are divided into 10 categories – and this can go on forever. For example, the term 519 identifies a piece of information. The main category is 5 = natural sciences, sub category is 1 = mathematics, and the next sub category is 9 = probabilities. So to have the number 519 on your resume says that you have knowledge and can solve problems related to probability and statistics.

You will also notice that some Dewey categories favor Social Capital, some favor Creative Capital, and some favor intellectual capital. While a knowledge inventory may sound daunting, computers and modern Internet applications can now do much of the work for us – in fact, they already are doing this work.

## Economics of Innovation

Every time humans invent better ways of doing things, the economy gets a little bigger. This is a simple idea. The cave dwellers discovered that they did not have to travel as much hunting and gathering if they could sharpen a rock enough to chop a tree down for firewood or for spearing animals.  That same tool helped them to dig holes to plant seeds.  By growing food and domestication animals, they could stay in one place and conserve energy.  By living in cities, the division of labor led to more efficiency as the farmer, metal smith and rancher bartered their services.  Enough surpluses were created so that a leisure class was free to develop philosophical thought leading to early scientific principals.

After a while, the invention of the printing press greatly advanced the availability of formal education.  In the Early 1800’s, Eli Whitney stunned the world first with the cotton gin and then with his concept of “interchangeable parts” where he disassembled ten working muskets, scramble the parts and reassembled ten working muskets.  What seems trivial today lead to great advances in the industrial revolution, becoming further refined in the manufacturing economy.  Computers then ushered in the Era of Information followed by the knowledge economy that we live in today.

At each stage, there was a quantum leap in human productivity and financial wealth.  Obviously the two are related.

If we look at this history from the big picture, we notice that each level of human development was derived from the prior level by integrating the tools of that prior level.  As such, the knowledge economy was derived from the information era by integrating the computer tools leading to the Internet.  The agrarian economy was derived from the hunter-gatherer tribes by integrating the wheel, wedge, and lever into agriculture and livestock.  The industrial revolution integrated scientific principles from the Renaissance. This is fairly consistent.

If we look at this history from a microscopic view, we see that no single idea drove human development, rather, billions upon billions of little ideas from many diverse sources combined in unique ways to form larger ideas which then combined to form even larger advances eventually leading to those big innovations that we see as the milestones above.

Also, we notice that the over time, rate of change at which these ideas have been combining is getting faster and faster.  The hunter-gatherer phase lasted 2 million years, The agrarian age lasted about 40,000 years. The scientific revolution lasted 1500 years.  The knowledge economy is barely a single generation in play.

These are important concepts because later, when we build a mathematical model for the next economic paradigm, we will use a few tricks of calculus called the “derivative” and the “integral” to describe how things change over time so that we can measure and analyze productivity and wealth creation in the new economy.

Finally, we ask, what comes after the knowledge economy?  There are two things that we can be certain of.  The next great leap in economic development will be derived from the knowledge economy by integrating the tools that we developed in this knowledge economy.  I strongly suspect that computer enabled society – or social networking will have something to do with it.

Welcome to the Innovation economy.