Computers for Knowledge Work 0

Intro 1

Doug Engelbart was the first to envision and apply computers to facilitating what came to be called "knowledge work." As published in the opening paragraphs of his his seminal 1962 report Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework:

By "augmenting human intellect" we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And by "complex situations" we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social scientists, life scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers—whether the problem situation exists for twenty minutes or twenty years. We do not speak of isolated clever tricks that help in particular situations. We refer to a way of life in an integrated domain where hunches, cut-and-try, intangibles, and the human "feel for a situation" usefully co-exist with powerful concepts, streamlined terminology and notation, sophisticated methods, and high-powered electronic aids.

Further Refinement 2

Doug Engelbart continued to refine this strategic approach to knowledge work, and terminology for key concepts, throughout his career. He coined the terms Augmenting Human Intellect (now inverted to Intelligence Augmentation), Collective IQ, Networked Improvement Communities (NICs), etc. and developed his ABC Model of Organizational Improvement, and a technology template for a world wide Open Hyperdocument System as a knowledge-centric collaborative model for information technology. In the 1990s with the help of consultant David Gendron he developed a Bootstrap 'Paradigm Map' to better portray the various paradigms that would need to shift in order to realize the full potential of what he came to call the Unfinished Revolution, and designed with his partner daughter Christina Engelbart a series of management seminars, presetations and writings to both refine and broadly share the vision. Key presentations from this period are now freely available at the Engelbart Academy. He won dozens of prestigious awards for his pioneering technological breakthroughs, but his more important and still relevant strategic approach that drove all that innovation remained somehow largely invisible.

Bootstrapping Brilliance 3

Doug's daughter Christina Engelbart has since distilled the Bootstrapping Strategy into five organizing principles for Bootstrapping Brilliance, a practice freely available to today's innovation teams, transformative initiatives, organizations, and nations. It works as a stand alone innovation strategy, and as a complimentary extension that dovetails with existing practices such as Design Thinking, Lean, and Agile to include balanced emphasis on facilitating the knowledge work, with a special focus on networked initiatives.

Watch Doug presenting his knowledge-centric research goals in his 1968 demo
and his approach to online knowledge work and the promise of new media