Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC) main page.

Note for navigation with support technologies: in this page you find 3 main elements: search engine (shortcut key 1); the highlights at the main area of the page (shortcut key 2) e main menu (shortcut key 3).

Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC)
Home  > Knowledge Networks  > Projects  > ComLab: Communication in Knowledge Networks

ComLab: Communication in Knowledge Networks

The role of Knowledge Networks in the creation, transformation, dissemination and application of knowledge has been widely recognized. These networks involve individuals and organizations around specific objectives and with collaborative participation in common or complementary tasks.

The Knowledge Networks involve entities of diverse institutions, with different knowledge and experiences and often include actors of very different types of organizations and with differentiated performance objectives, such as universities, scientific institutions, enterprises, government agencies and market players, and frequently they benefit from multidisciplinarity, internationalization and cultural diversity.

The Knowledge Networks have been proposed as a more effective organizational form for the transformation, dissemination and application of knowledge in complex systems in the context of the knowledge-based economy, which is reinforced in a context of economic globalization.

By the very nature of Knowledge Networks, the aspects of Communication play a central role and have specific features that result from the diversity of participants and the associated difficulties of information and knowledge flows. The methodologies and practices of the Communication in Knowledge Networks are not sufficiently known and yet they are essential to the effectiveness of Knowledge Networks. In particular, the communication challenges posed by the diversity of actors, organizations, cultures and perceptions require responses appropriate to the nature of Knowledge Networks which is different of most common situations of communication between two individuals, within a small proximity group, in hierarchically or departmentally structured organizations, or of communication targeting general undifferentiated publics through broadcasting. We face here for Communicate a similar challenge to that faced by social and economic organization in the transition from industrial to post-industrial society: standardized processes targeting undifferentiated masses become ineffective.

In order to develop methodologies and practices in Communication in Knowledge Networks, the ComLab was formed, with a specific action source, but itself organized as a network of actors with different organizational ties and taking advantage of sharing resources and of interactive face-to-face and at-a-distance dialogue supported by ICT tools such document sharing systems, blogs, wikis, messenger, videoconferencing, social networking.

The programs of the Partnerships for the Future action started in Portugal in 2006, namely MIT – Portugal Program, Carnegie Mellon – Portugal Program, UTexas Austin – Portugal Program, Harvard Medical School – Portugal Program have all been planned to form ambitious Knowledge Networks around specific goals. All Knowledge Networks in these partnerships face the communication difficulties identified above and, besides, they have common features that benefit from a joint approach with sharing of common resources and methodologies, while fully preserving autonomy and initiative of action. Therefore, it is natural to consider the actors involved in the communication aspects of these programs as a core subnet close to the ComLab: Communication in Networks in Knowledge.

The challenge of enhancing the communication between actors from universities and scientific institutions with those of enterprises was identified as a high priority, with the aim of finding the most appropriate methodologies and practices to ensure an effective communication between these two groups of the considered Knowledge Networks.

In order to focus the work to be carried out, the attention is first directed to Knowledge Networks built around projects and thematic networks, as those associated with Future Internet applications, such as electrical mobility, smart energy – smart grids, smart cities and transport (Text in Portuguese), interactive digital media, cybersecurity and critical infrastructures protection, but also those of regenerative medicine and stem cells (text in Portuguese)  and other areas.

It should be noted that a difficulty encountered in Knowledge Networks, and more generally in other processes involving multistakeholders, is the connection of the knowledge and solutions produced with the decision-making processes for the setting of research, business and public policy agendas so that the knowledge and the solutions developed have effective, timely and sustainable results. This observation determines another particularity of Communication in Knowledge Networks, namely the need to communicate effectively with decision makers in enterprises and public institutions in order to involve them effectively in the associated Knowledge Networks. To develop methodologies and practices appropriate for this purpose is also an objective of ComLab: Communication in Knowledge Networks.

Last updated ( 24/10/2011 )