It seems to me that ultimately, knowledge management applications invariably share one fundamental, absolutely fatal flaw. They are designed to facilitate rational, conscious cognitive and collaborative practices. But that's almost never how humans really work.
The point of the Coemergence Project is to reconsider how knowledge workers interact with their information environments and how to design KM applications that would really help them accomplish the knowledge work they actually do, by exploring the following assumptions.
1. The problem with designing tools for knowledge workers is that only an individual knowledge worker can really tell you what his or her job is and how they will go about doing that job--but often they themselves can't see that until the job presents itself.
2. The problem with designing tools for knowledge work is that they are created to support rational analysis and decision-making. In fact, however, this accounts for only a small part of the human process of sense-making.
3. Different knowledge workers behave differently in the same information environment. In fact, each probably interacts differently depending on their context in the moment. Any knowledge artifact has different meaning and value (if any) depending on who is using it and the context of that use.
4. Knowledge artifacts should be seen as by-products of knowledge work, rather than assets necessarily containing any knowledge themselves. What matters is how much knowledge they evoke in the recipient.
5. The value and utility that an individual gets out of a tool, what a team gets out of a tool, and what the organization gets out of a tool can be very different--sometimes complementary, sometimes contradictory:
--What aspects of function and interface are more appropriate to "using together" to collaborate around information and ideas, as opposed to individual use?
--What advantages to using the tools together in the same room can be duplicated by sharing in virtual spaces in synchronous or asynchronous fashion?
Any KM tool development should recognize that a tool's value to individuals, teams and organizations may in some cases be mutually exclusive while in some cases be mutually inclusive, but that these values are always valid and can coexist.