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.

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