The MATURE project aims at establishing the foundations for making maturing processes within and across organisations more efficient, thus increasing the agility of organisations. In order to realize that, MATURE will establish a sound conceptual basis for understanding maturing activities, their barriers and the possibilities to foster maturation. This will be done in an empirical study on current practices and motivational factors as well as a subsequent modelling activity absorbing relevant individual learning theories, results from cognitive psychology and organisational learning theories.
Furthermore, MATURE aims at building reusable services and a framework for these services that specifies a shared infrastructure, as well as the interactions and dependencies between these services. To make these services usable by members of an organisation, MATURE will develop environments for the individual knowledge worker (a Personal Learning and Maturing Environment fostering bottom-up maturing) and for the organisational perspective (an Organisational Maturing Environment that enables the guidance of maturing processes). Both are essentially a set of loosely coupled tools embedded into the work environment. These services and environments are aimed at the following problem areas, categorised by the different types of knowledge assets: contents, semantics and processes.
- Incomprehensible contents. Individual content has often been crested for personal usage and consequently is difficult for others to understand. By additional measures such as further refinement or better semantic representation the value of such contents for others could be decisively increased. The MATURE framework will support this refinement within work-integrated Personal Learning & Maturing Environments to make contents more comprehensible for other knowledge workers and to leverage the associated learning process.
- Hidden relevant contents. Contents are continuously created and updated. Knowledge assets that are relevant for others should be made visible to the respective target group. However, for the content creator often it is not clear which assets are relevant to whom. The MATURE framework will provide awareness services that detect such contents, make them visible for others, and incorporate technology for collaborative refinement.
- Missing semantic standard. Individual knowledge workers see the world in various ways. This is represented in various semantic structures that partially contradict each other. However, this mismatch hinders communication and comprehension. The MATURE framework will provide services to detect semantic similarities of personal structures and to support mutual adjustment.
- Ambiguity of formal structures. Formal semantic structures can help knowledge workers to find a faster way through the available contents. However, learning to use these formal structures requires interpretation that must be consistent throughout the organisation. Often this is not the case and a collective coordination process is required. The MATURE project will help knowledge workers to agree on semantic structures by providing negotiation spaces embedded into their personal work environments.
- Missing work pattern capturing. The activities of the knowledge workers are the actual heartbeat of an organisation or a network. Therefore the experience of knowledge workers should be made available to others. The MATURE project will provide a personal learning environment including recording of work activities, easy and encouraging sharing facilities, and tools to compile them in abstract form to make them accessible for others.
- Rigidity of organisations. Organisations have a natural tendency to establish permanent structures. This is necessary to achieve efficiency but it must not hinder the development of the organisation. To guard against organisational rigidity, MATURE framework will provide awareness and analysis services to managers, process owners, ontology engineers and other guiding members of the organisation (bundled in Organisational Maturing Environments). These services can be used to apply breeding strategies, i.e., to start the necessary organisational learning processes as soon as possible and to allocate additional resources to them.
As a summary, the main objectives and expected outcome of the MATURE project consist of
- an analysis of real-world maturing practices, and a general conceptual model of the knowledge maturing process and specializations for the different types of knowledge assets (content, process, semantics), its current state-of-practice, how it should take place and how to overcome barriers (particularly including motivational and social)
- a Personal Learning & Maturing Environment (PLME), embedded into the working environment, enabling and encouraging the individual to engage in maturing activities (comprising content, process and semantic aspects) within communities and beyond
- an Organisational Learning & Maturing Environment (OLME), enabling to analyze and to take up community activities (comprising content, process, and semantic aspects), to reseed innovation processes and to apply guiding strategies
- reusable Maturing Services for seeding and reseeding, creating awareness of maturing-relevant individual and community activities, helping in combination and consensus building (comprising content, process, and semantic aspects)
These objectives and expected outcomes translate into the MATURE system vision as displayed in Fig. 3. PLMEs are integrated into the working environments of the individual knowledge worker, consisting of loosely coupled tools, to engage in collaborative maturing activities. OLMEs allow organisational representatives such as personnel development coaches, knowledge managers or subject matter experts to analyze community activities based on Maturing Services. These services and environments are connected via a Knowledge Bus infrastructure with enterprise systems that contain relevant artefacts, i.e. contents and knowledge items.