Problems knowtu’s solving.

Daniel Harrison on March 23, 2010

Knowtu is fundamentally about helping teams and individuals work better together. Wiki’s, forums and micro-communication tools all support emergent collaboration with a view of an intelligent, connected and collaborative enterprise. The missing ingredient is intelligence. Knowtu hopes to bring a dash of intelligence and help individuals and teams focus and understand the knowledge they have to improve their personal productivity. Knowtu tools are initially focussed on being a data agnostic platform for analysing, connecting and better visualising the data stored in their documents, email, wiki’s, sharepoint installations.

There’s a set of problems that I’ve repeatedly seen in government, private and public enterprises that knowtu is initially focussed on helping to solve.

Self contained and disconnected information repositories;  email, wiki’s, document repositories;

We now have these technologies which are slowly opening up the enterprise, however these tools are still siloed self contained repositories of information where useful knowledge dies because it atrophies and gets lost. By connecting and understanding the relevance and context to the individual, knowtu hopes to open and encourage long term curatorship across these various data sources.

Team members buried in noise;

Email has devolved into being a meeting room where everyone is shouting at you all the time. Managing alerts and notifications from what needs a response, what hasn’t been responded to, open questions, tasks and problems and generally identifying valuable information in your inbox is a time sucking chore. The immediacy of noise kills focus for individuals and teams.

Searching as the preferred solution to information discovery;

Searching is to some extent a failure of intelligence and curatorship. When you need to search for something it’s because it’s lost. In the ideal world the information you need is readily available because your tools understand you and what you are trying to do; they can suggest and connect knowledge relevant to you, pre-emptively.

Collaboration for collaborations sake, Lack of context;

Many organisations have installations of collaboration tools like sharepoint and other document management tools introduced in a top down manner. As a result the community of users feels obligated rather than empowered by these tools. These tools often become graveyards of competing, out of date and irrelevant information where users have been forced to contribute as part of a process. The lack of navigation and curatorship means data duplication and competing information ends up becoming simply another source of noise to users. Consequently the return on investment is low and the goals of a collaborative, flexible organisation remains a dream. There’s no clear benefit to the individual and adds to their daily workload without a corresponding increase in focus due to easily available best practice and organisational and team knowledge. Knowtu is focussed on the individual in the context of the larger organisation with the view that by helping the individual focus, share that focus and in an emergent manner collaborate, the organisation as a whole gets things done better.

Ugly, slow, non humane and non productive user interfaces;

Your average email client is still arranged like a filing cabinet and doesn’t know about anything else. Information visualisation and management techniques have advanced in countless leaps and bounds in the last 20 years but these advances have not been incorporated into the tools we use daily. While knowtu hopes to mine and understand information in the context of the individual, it also seeks to supply better visualisations to help focus, manage and navigate information.



Knowtu is rapidly taking shape and will soon be releasing some early technical previews for feedback. If you’re interested in early access register at

Knowtu open for early registrations and collaboration survey

Daniel Harrison on March 7, 2010

The knowtu landing page is now up and running.

It allows registration for early software access from the bleeding edge. If you’re interested in getting access to initial versions of knowtu software, enter your email and we’ll update you as it becomes available. There’s also a initial survey to help validate knowtu’s initial focus and direction.

Any responses appreciated ;)

Launching knowtu

Daniel Harrison on March 2, 2010

The future continues to be information.  Advantage goes to those that are better at leveraging their connections, can process and digest new information faster, discover and apply existing solutions and knowledge to get things done.   I’m launching knowtu to amplify and magnify these effects for teams and individuals.

My interest in the field was first started studying information economics.  The study of information arbitrage, asymmetries and efficiencies, rational and irrational agents got me focussed on markets and teams as organic engines that relentlessly consumed information manifesting in real world actions and activities that forever changed my view of the world.

Since then I’ve been involved in shipping software products and services and have seen daily the difficulties teams have managing the increasing volume and depth of information they have to deal with.  The great boon since the introduction of the PC to business is allowing people to do more with a generalisation of skills; but as people do more, the knowledge they have to possess, utilise and manage has exponentially increased and the cost of just managing this information is reaching saturation point.

I worked at the national library in the hope that I would be able to develop tools that extracted and refined the knowledge of the past to help people understand the nation and world they live in today.  I’ve introduced wiki’s and tools to teams to try and collect and retain knowledge.  All of these tools help but to some extent become just another resource that needs to be curated, managed and digested.  Comparatively cheap computational power, algorithms and technology have reached the tipping point where we can start applying them to intelligently understand context and semantics.

Information and knowledge isn’t available at the right speed or the right time and valuable information is often forgotten and overlooked.   The effect of the constant flow of information that is growing rapidly means individuals and teams are getting swamped trying to do their real job and are suffering from information fatigue.  Effort is often misapplied and redirected into managing the information.   People are now spending more time managing information rather than getting the things done they set out to achieve.   Knowtu is trying to help solve these problems so teams can be more focussed, productive and get things done.

If you’d like to share your thoughts and problems you face retaining and managing knowledge and information; and sign up for pre-release access to knowtu software, email