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 These tools often become graveyards of competing, out of date and irrelevant information where users have been forced to contribute as part of a process.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