MATURE is a four year project (2008-2012) which is being undertaken as part of the European Seventh Framework programme. It is managed by FZI Research Center for Information Technologies, a technology transfer centre at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany, which has brought together an experienced consortium of experts. There are twelve core partners in this consortium, comprising eight Universities and research institutes (based in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain and England) and four companies. Pontydysgu and the Institute for Employment Research at the University of Warwick are two of the partners. Details of these partners and more information about the project can be accessed on the project web site.
Aim of MATURE
The aim of MATURE is to develop technology-based tools to support knowledge-maturing processes within organisations and is based on the idea that organisational agility has become critical for economic competitiveness.
What is organisational agility?
This refers to the ways organisations develop the ability to respond quickly to:
- opportunities, changes in their operating environment and changing stakeholder needs;
- overcoming inertia; and maintaining a balance between responding efficiently to stimuli and maintaining their focus.
MATURE is concentrating on the way organisational agility requires organisations to support the development of their employees’ competencies, so that the effectiveness of knowledge work and information is improved. Recent failures of organisation-driven approaches to technology enhanced learning contrast sharply with the success of community-driven approaches to developing information and knowledge (like Web 2.0 including, social networking, blogs, wikis, podcasts etc.). This indicates that to achieve agility within organisations, employees’ collective skills, knowledge and understanding have to be developed, for example through engagement with collaborative learning activities. This learning and development, in turn, can then be combined with new forms of organisational support for learning and development, and for improving work processes in day-to-day practice.
What are ‘knowledge workers’ and knowledge- maturing processes?
The global shift away from the industrial society towards the information society brought with it the creation of ‘knowledge workers’. Generally, these are people who work primarily with information, or who develop and use knowledge in the workplace. A key assumption underpinning MATURE is that for these workers, individual learning processes are linked to organisational learning in a ‘knowledge-maturing process’, during which knowledge continually changes in nature. This knowledge can take many forms (for example, related to work tasks or processes) and one goal of MATURE is to understand this maturing process better, so that tools and services can be developed to support this process.
IAG practitioners as knowledge workers?
Information, advice and guidance (IAG) practitioners are knowledge workers in their use labour market information (LMI) because of the requirements for them to: use and obtain different sources of information and knowledge (which is current and accurate) on the labour market; ex- tract key information; interpret and manipulate that data for clients of their service; and share that knowledge with colleagues. Such a process involves continuous learning and knowledge development – knowledge maturing.
What we are doing