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Design and Evaluation of Technology Creation “Ba” in Academia. Knowledge Science and an Important Application Field Redefinition of “Ba ” (a Japanese word meaning place, center, environment, space, etc.) for Technology Creation via Systems Concepts
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School of Knowledge Science
Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
A new research field: study of scientific knowledge creation.
Modeling and management of
knowledge creation process.
School of Knowledge Science
Knowledge conversion theory, knowledge systematizing methods, and methods for development of creativity in management science.
A vehicle which integrates theory and practice, and combines knowledge in social science and knowledge in natural science.
Knowledge science should help researchers produce creative theoretical results, in important natural sciences.
An environment “Ba”, including place, people, context, etc., that supports the development and practice of knowledge creation.
A Creative System for Research and Education
This system will continuously create scientific knowledge, offering an advanced model for setting important research priorities and promoting research and development, and thereby affecting management of research and development in other universities, research institutions, or enterprises.
This system trains graduate students to be:
Talented people with the advanced research-and-development capability.
Talented people having broad judgment and can support creative research.
Talented people with advanced research-and-development capability
Talented people who can manage creative research activities
Interaction of theory and practice
Knowledge creation theory
Accumulation of social information
Knowledge creation support systems
Thinking support system
Knowledge management system Visualization system
Knowledge discovery Knowledge representation Technology road mapping Knowledge database
Existing Scientific Knowledge
Enhance the Function:
Data/text mining technology
Theories of Technology Strategy
Knowledge management theory
Strategic innovation theory
Knowledge Creation Theory
Design of environment
Research Planning Support
Imagination supporting media
Road mapping methods
Information exchange system
Toyama and Nonaka (2000) called the dynamic context which is shared and redefined in the knowledge creation process "Ba", which does not refer just to a physical space, but includes virtual spaces based on the Internet, for instance; and more mental spaces which involve sharing experiences and ideas.
They regard "Ba" as a "concept of locationality which includes the space-time which acts as the ground of human existence". Knowledge is not something which can exist independently; it can only exist in a form embedded in "Ba", which acts as a context that is constantly shared by people.
Consequently, in order to conduct effective knowledge creation, there is a need to create a "Ba" to act as the existential ground of that knowledge. The "Ba" provides energy to the knowledge creation process, and determines the quality of knowledge which is produced.
Toyama and Nonaka (2000) listed the following as conditions for "Good Ba" to facilitate knowledge creation:
What is the best definition of "system" in knowledge science?
Knowledge science addresses not only scientific knowledge, but also subjective knowledge based on experience and insight, so systems in knowledge science must include the participating people, the knowledge of the participants, and previous data and information which have been codified as knowledge.
A complex whole including human beings and information can be understood as a system. However the system so understood is not a reality per se. This is because wholes like this have a complexity and diversity which must be recognized as a system which differs depending on the subject.
Systems like this are called soft systems. Checkland's definition of "system" is aware of soft systems, and can be regarded as having a philosophical background in common with the "Ba" of Nonaka.
Now, in order to improve the possibilities for manipulation and concept sharing, we introduce the following schema:
Ba = Infrastructure + Actors + Information
Infrastructure which do not include people are designed and built. This is the design and building of real systems including things like locations, rules and information infrastructure. It is engineering.
The idea is to overlay this with the social science of what sort of people and what sort of information should be added. Substance and energy must be invested in the system but we assume that they have already been woven in as things which the infrastructure should have.
The theory of designing all these things is called "Ba design theory", and if it is applied to a site of science and technology development, that is exactly the "scientific knowledge creation theory" we are aiming for.
A Systems Methodology for Knowledge Integration
Measure:Ability to transmit and hand down knowledge in the laboratory.
Measure:Ability to collect and manage knowledge in the laboratory
Measure: Ability to acquire and create knowledge in the laboratory
Action = Integration
Action = Intervention
Evaluation of system performance:
Research Progress and Member Growth
Definition of system structure and elements
Diagnosis of system structure and elements
Evaluation of Research and Education Environments Based on i-System
Evaluation sheet concerning member growth
D2:Papers and patents
D3:Knowledge and skills
D6:New research funds
D7:New theme creation
Survey sheet concerning system elements
Effect of interaction
Effect of management
Evaluation sheet concerning research progress and results
(A) Checklist on the ability to collect and manage knowledge in the laboratory
(A1: about infrastructure)
A11: Have the books/magazines/references and experimental equipment necessary for
research been consolidated? Or can they be obtained easily?
A12: Have things like the research papers of instructors and previous students, and
records of seminars and experiments, been consolidated?
A13: Is it fully furnished with collection systems and network systems for external
(A2: about actors)
A21: Do members have a strong interest in science and society?
A22: Do members understand the mission of the laboratory, and are they working hard
to collect and manage the necessary information?
A23: Are members conducting research and development using diverse information?
(A3: about information)
A31: Has information relating to the current state of science and technology, research
trends, academic society trends, and key domains been collected and consolidated?
A32: Has information relating to government policy, regulations, society, economics, the
environment and other information relating to the development or constraint of
research been collected and consolidated?
A33: Has information relating to research planning/development management and
intellectual property management been collected and consolidated?
(B) Checklist on the ability to transmit and hand down knowledge in the lab.
(B1: about infrastructure)
B11: Have locations for opinion exchange (seminar rooms, collaboration spaces, lounges
etc.) been consolidated?
B12: Have education programs been established (research guidance, exchange with
researchers from the outside etc.)?
B13: Have things like opinion exchange systems and groupware been consolidated?
(B2: about actors)
B21: Is leadership being demonstrated?
B22: Have members been trained in presentation skills and communication skills?
B23: Are members interested in the research of their fellow members, and do they
actively express their opinions?
(B3: about information)
B31: Is knowledge, relating to the conduct of research based on the experience of
instructors and senior participants, being effectively used?
B32: Is information which is not immediately necessary for the conduct of research being
B33: Is a dialog being conducted on things like the motivation of the research life, and
the value of living it?
(C) Checklist on the ability to acquire and create knowledge in the laboratory
(C1: about infrastructure)
C11: Have places (individual rooms, booths, coffee break rooms etc.) been provided
where individuals can concentrate?
C12: Are things like experiment rooms, experiment equipment, computers and research
C13: Have things like idea generation support systems and knowledge systematization
systems been consolidated?
(C2: about actors)
C21: Are members actively taking the initiative to create knowledge?
C22: Are the planning skills, analysis skills and problem solving skills of members
C23: Are the member's patience, persistence, sensibility and will to succeed
(C3: about information)
C31: Is new knowledge coming into being due to the creativity and insight of members?
C32: Is new knowledge coming into being due to the impromptu interaction of members?
C33: Do members have information on planning methods, experiment methods,
organizing methods and presentation methods?
Correspondence with “living skills” and with “knowledge science”
Infra. Actors Info. Infra. Actors Info.Infra. Actors Info.
Papers and patents
Knowledge and skills
New research funds
New theme creation
Correlation Coefficients (Good Ba and Development of Students’ Ability)
Activity Empathy Persistence Autonomy Thinking skill
Activity (creativity, curiosity, foresight)
Empathy (support skills, communication skills)
Persistence (concentration, planning skills)
Autonomy (sense of responsibility, initiative)
Thinking skill (analysis skills, logical thinking)
Using the evaluation given by ten professors in materials research laboratories at JAIST, we found the following linear relationships
We tried to design a “Good Ba (Environment)” for scientific research in academia based on systems concepts.
We actually prepared a list of evaluation items (a check list), carried out a preliminary survey at the school of material science, and obtained an understandable result.
Future work should include:
Refinement of the list of evaluation items, consulting many scientists.
Modeling of the relation between “Ba’s” and research outputs.