As I mentioned in my previous blog post, the key task that remains for knowledge federation is to begin doing it. My key task then is to bring together a suitable creative mix of people and organizations who will be the first members, co-creators and stake holders in the first federation. Every time I talk to someone who might be a natural partner in this undertaking, I am asked the same question: What is your elevator pitch?
And that’s where I run into a problem. It is not that I have nothing exciting to say about knowledge federation, on the contrary! My problem is that I get really excited about a project only when it takes very good care of the specific interests of participating parties, while at the same time benefiting key larger causes, and in such a way that those particular and those higher aims form a synergy. But how do I express that sort of quality in an elevator pitch?
One early morning last month on the train to San Francisco, where I was to meet Pete Binfield and a couple of his colleagues from PLoS ONE, I already had an idea how to do this. So before the meeting I sat down in a cafe with a chai latte and a deck of blank cardboard cards, and I wrote ten short elevator pitches, one on each card. Each elevator pitch reflected a distinct purpose or interest or angle of looking. When later my hosts asked the usual question, I put those ten cards face up in front of them and I let let them choose the conversation that appealed to them most.
Based on those cards, Fredrik later made these online elevator pitches. When you click on a pitch of your choice, you will be transported to a hint showing in what way the corresponding conversation might develop. Then click on the elevator icon to go back.
For the end a few words about PLoS ONE.
I met Pete when he was giving a lecture about PLoS ONE at the Science Commons seminar in Linkedin last October. PLoS is a leading online science publishing company. But what prompted me to talk to Peter was that they recognize the potential of the new medium and are ready to innovate. For example with evaluating creative work along more than one dimension (their ‘Article Level Metrics‘ is a similar idea as our Value Matrix Object). During the meeting I learned that while Peter and his colleagues keep the publishing business up and running, the PLoS ONE creative founders, who are a small group of top-ranking scientists, established this company with an aim to evolve it into a scientific publishing enterprise of the future. And academic publishing of the future, they claim, will be entirely different from today’s.
I remarked that Knowledge Federation could be a suitable medium for this development.