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Attempting to define the knowledge economy

[Update: Fixed the title] A member of the ACT-KM discussion list mentioned The Work Foundation's (UK) new study that suggests the Knowledge economy debate needs to move beyond platitudes:

The debate about the ‘knowledge economy’ is full of ‘slovenly thinking and careless assumptions’, The Work Foundation alleges today. [28 July 2006]

This is a press release for a report by Ian Brinkley, Defining the Knowledge Economy (pdf, 31 pages), where they work through a number of the ways people have talked about knowledge workers and the knowledge economy: industry definitions, occupational definitions, and definitions based on innovation.  As the blurb says, their conclusion is that none of the definitions provide a satisfactory definition. 

This is report is a prelude to The Work Foundation's three-year £1.5 MM research program on the nature of The Knowledge Economy.  Obviously, they want to move from the inaccurate definitions to something upon which knowledge economy promoters of all stripes can use in their own analyses of the question.  Defining the Knowledge Economy is the first of ten planned papers in the first phase of the research program (descriptions at the program page):

  1. Defining the Knowledge Economy (mentioned here)
  2. Mapping the Knowledge Economy
  3. Knowledge Economy and Labour Market Polarisation
  4. Globalisation and the Knowledge Economy
  5. R&D and ICT Investment - Key Constraints Drivers and Policy Implications
  6. Innovation in Knowledge Based Marketed Services
  7. Innovation in Knowledge Based Public Services
  8. Intangibles and Business Knowledge
  9. Cognition in the Knowledge Economy– the Next Generation
  10. Universities and the Knowledge Economy

The press release for this work has been picked up in a number of places, including management-issues (the original source from ACT-KM) and at Work blogs and news.

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