Concurrently Developing, Integrating and Applying Knowledge (CoDIAK) is a strategy for building improvement into the process of improving the group’s collective IQ. Their collective IQ is measured by their ability to gather information, analyze it, and develop the best possible understanding to create action plans.

The Concurrently Developing Integrating and Applying Knowledge (CoDIAK) process is recursive. Teams continuously incorporate and analyze the intelligence they are collectively gathering, such as research, dialogs, and best practices. The data are cataloged with metadata so they can easily be incorporated and reviewed by all team members in a Dynamic Knowledge Repository, allowing team members to reflect on what they are doing, and at the same time examining how they are doing it.

The CoDIAK process provides the key capabilities for their steering, navigating and self-repair by categorizing and continually analyzing information such as lessons learned, new information, and dialogs among the group.

The information is then integrated into the knowledge products throughout the life cycle of the project. As participants tag and categorize their dialogs and information gathering, they will develop skills and adopt practices that increase the value they derive from the practice of analyzing this data, which will also make their contributions more valuable.

People are surprised by how much value is derived from this practice, by the ways the value is derived, and by how natural and easy the practices and tools will seem after they have become well-established (even though they may initially be viewed as unnatural and may be hard to learn).

There was a feedback system that was a powerful mechanism. (It hasn’t really been picked up by the rest of the world in any systematic way, that I can see. So that is one of the areas that I think deserves a lot more attention.)

Everybody in my group used the system to do almost all their work. As people add to a structured knowledge base, they reflect on their current practices, assumptions, and strategies and could respond and adapt to the new information and analysis. As those people add their new ideas, others build upon them. Each person or group makes a small contribution that builds upon the contributions of others.

So the whole thing became a very integrated whole. By using the CoDIAK process, it effected:

• how people worked

• how the technology turned out

• and how the group behaved.


Charles Irby was the Information Architect at the ARC lab at SRI for seven years. At Engelbart’s 80th birthday party, he described what it was like using the Bootstrap framework and the CoDIAK process.

“I think a lot of the things that he [Engelbart] was doing had to do with the combination of developing a technology and, at the same time, developing the human side—ways of dealing with that technology and incorporating that technology into the way you get things done…He was using this notion of bootstrap where you could basically use the technology to influence how the group behaved and use the technology to invent another revolution of the technology.”


One Response to “Engelbart on Concurrently Developing, Integrating and Applying Knowledge”

  1. I’m reading this as a recently arrived member of George Por’s learning resources group, catching up the background reading he’s posted for us. I’m glad to have discovered the CoDIAK proces. I’m very interested in the ref “I think a lot of the things that he [Engelbart] was doing had to do with the combination of developing a technology and, at the same time, developing the human side” This seems to relate to my strong interest in the “socio-tech” of online collaborative groups – especially cross-cultural ones..

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