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November 2002    Feature
a free monthly briefing on the knowledge agenda
No. 67

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Managing editor:
David J. Skyrme


The Innovation Superhighway:
The Future Has Arrived

David J. Skyrme

If you were at KM World in California or KM Europe 2002 you will have seen on the Butterworth-Heinemann stand Debra Amidon's new book The Innovation Superhighway: Harnessing Intellectual Capital for Sustainable Collaborative Advantage (ISBN: 0750675926). If you weren't smart enough to get your copy then, here's a glimpse of what you will find inside. The book is innovative from the start in that the Foreword is a collaborative effort of three of Debra's global knowledge leaders - Leif Edvinsson of Sweden, Joachim Doering of Germany and Hubert Saint-Onge of Canada. What other authors get foreword writers to do a joint effort like that! The North American formal launch took place on 11 November at Bentley College, Boston and featured a "Knowledge Concert" with Silvard Kool on piano accompanying Debra' tour of the global highway with appropriate national or regional music.

The book starts with the why, what and how of the innovation frontier. To followers of ENTOVATION, much of the book will at first seem like familiar territory. Part 2 - architecting the future - is a chapter by chapter review of the elements of the Knowledge Innovation® architecture - knowledge economics, knowledge structures, knowledge workers, knowledge processes and knowledge technologies. What is new, though, are many vignettes drawn from recent research, publications and practitioners' experience that make each aspect come to life. The middle two sections of the book draws on much of the knowledge in the ENTOVATION network, including a content analysis of the views of ENTOVATION experts done by Jan Wyllie (using his knowledge mining approach as described in the next article) and profiles of global knowledge leaders. Of particular interest were those of people not so much in the public eye, but who nevertheless have made some innovative contributions to the knowledge movement.

The final section of the book sets out the millennium vision. Another interesting analysis is that of the voice of youth (our future) on "rethinking knowledge". Drawing on examples from Alpbach to Zaragoza, with Madrid and New Zealand thrown into the middle, Debra shows the vitality of youthful knowledge that represents a significant part of the "critical mass of talent dedicated to innovating the future".

Having seen much of the 'work in progress' for this book through prior articles in I3 UPDATE/ENTOVATION International News and various presentations, I was not expecting too much new. How wrong I was! The book is a joy to read and a stimulus to thinking about all our futures. I couldn't encapsulate the essence of this book any better than one of the world's leading knowledge navigators, Leif Edvinsson, CEO of UNIC and author of Intellectual Capital and Corporate Longitude:

"A globally leading knowledge pioneer for decades visualizes the emerging patterns of the future. This book is a milestone in the knowledge field."

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