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Ideascaping Business Processes

Never before has it been so fast and easy for anyone to find, discover, and share ideas, concepts, questions, answers, solutions. We can work together now using enterprise blogs, group chat, forums, and slick bookmarking systems like and Furl along with tagging systems like technorati. that were hardly imaginable a little over a year ago. We can slice out our own gigantic learning and development platform on the net to gain incredible insights from inside and outside of our organizations.

We want to help populate the net with rich, meaningful information using these new technologies so that people and businesses can create new offerings, businesses, processes, strategies, and careers. To start with, I would like to tell you about the work on business processes that started at MIT around twelve years ago.

Organizing Business Knowledge, "The MIT Process Handbook", edited by Thomas W. Malone, Kevin Crowston, and George A. Herman. This book represents the key findings of a multidisciplinary research group at MIT's Sloan School of Management that has worked for over a decade to lay the foundation for a systematic and powerful method of organizing and sharing business knowledge. The book does so by focusing on the process itself. It proposes a set of fundamental concepts to guide analysis and a classification framework for organizing business knowledge, and describes the publicly available online knowledge base developed by the project.

Here is a link to an excellent review of the book and this a quick powerpoint overview of the project.

One thing, the interface has not been updated for few years, so your browser may act a little funny. I use Firefox and did not have any problems.

This knowledge base includes a set of representative templates, specific case examples, and a set of software tools for organizing and sharing knowledge.

With the Compass Explorer, I can click on one of the axises (Uses, Parts, etc) to get more information.

To get started, click here (MIT research) and then click on the 'go to directory page'. From there you can navigate around and learn the how-to's for using the knowledge base. I followed the suggestions on the site and took the "Guided tour" which guided me through an employee hiring process. Much of the information is updated once you start drilling down through the processes. Take note that your session will expire if it is left idle for more than twenty minutes. Also, you can bookmark the page on, but have to click through the main directory to find your way back.

In additin to all of the processes, some of the other cool features are the query for relevant information, get ideas, and the searches set up for Amazon and Yahoo. Too bad the system does not take advantage of newer technologies, such as folksonomy, bookmarking, blogs, etc. Who knows, maybe the group running the project (Prof. Malone) will give us access to the api's so that we can liberate the content and make it more accessible and reconfigurable. Try an experiment by bookmarking a couple of pages with tags on and then use Hublog to get a graphical map.

Anyhow, here are examples of business processes listed by function:
Supply Chain Management
Information Systems
Human Resources
Strategic Planning

"Oooooh cool! How great would it be to be able to implement something like this into, say, a catalog [any scheme]! I know, I'm dreaming. But mapping or knitting a folksonomic infrastructure into an existing catalog schema would be oh so interesting (not to mention useful and user-friendly). Imagine having a Folksonomic Zeitgeist for your own particular institutional knowledge ecology, that represented in real-time what users are tagging within your collection, what's ‘hot' at the moment, and what vocabularies they're using." Free(tag) the Library Catalogue

All this great stuff is happening today; come back soon for posts about inventions on inventions.

InsightExec - The Customer Management Community (reg req) licenses the content from MIT and adds their own research as well to give it new meaning.