Recent evidence shows companies’ are beginning to consider web based ‘social networking’ as a community-building platform to sharing knowledge, (Bredl et al 2012; Annabi et al 2012; Álvarez et al, 2009)and reap the benefits knowledge networking can yield. The KNOWNET project seeks to build on these directions by specifically:
- Developing and building a web based interactive environment - a Supplier Social Network (SSN), to support and facilitate exchange of good ideas, insights, implicit and explicit knowledge, innovations etc across a diverse group of suppliers within a multi level supply chain within the Insurance sector.
- Developing a tool for measuring accurate and effective knowledge transfer. KNOWNET seeks to measure the impact of the different web based tools on the depth and breadth of knowledge sharing and learning, as well as measure participant engagement and motivation to sharing new ideas, insights and knowledge in a social supplier network.
- Trialling the supplier social network (SSN) across two European countries domestic supply chains in the insurance sector. The trials will enable the researchers to identify the right set of participative tools and applications to enhance inter organisational networking, collaboration, sharing knowledge and adoption of new processes, practices ideas amongst supply chain members.
- Providing an opportunity to develop a long term strategic partnership between industry and academia across the EU in this field, with an emphasis on stimulating inter-sectoral mobility and increasing knowledge sharing through joint research industrial-academic partnerships in long term co-operative programmes.
To achieve these objectives, the collective expertise across interdisciplinary fields( SCM; KM, software engineering, SNA, e-learning and 3D web design) and the successful knowledge exchange between Brunel University(BU) and Universitat Politecnica De Valencia (UPV), and one private sector partner-Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance PLC UK, (RSA), was required. Collaborative inter-sectoral research is a critical success factor of the project as the conceptual models derived via the literature and pilot study, will be tested and modified across practitioners in the UK and Spain. As the framework will be developed via the inter-sectoral collaboration between industrial and academic partners, it will need to address the needs from both sectors and provide ongoing opportunity where both the sectors organizations can collaborate for the update of the model in the future. Furthermore, the finalised framework needs to be verified in different countries and organizations having different cultures. As a result the consortium consists of partners from different EU countries and differing organizational cultures to execute the field trials in the UK and Spain.