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Complex organisations will undoubtedly have highly-trained and experienced personnel with in-depth knowledge about how to perform their roles, but have little understanding of how their jobs affect the work of others, and the impacts on the organisation as a whole. In such situations, there is extensive “key person risk,” where key experience and knowledge lies within veterans of the industry, much of the risk may be unrealised. In engineering settings, this has been called the “Grey Beard Problem”. 
This Case Study is the capture of ship design knowledge in the US Navy. Therefore, the particulars are relevant to the government, defence, and marine sectors. 
The problem is, actually, generic across many products, services, and verticals, but is particularly acute in industries with an ageing workforce with extensive expertise, given that this expertise was mainly gained and utilised in a pre-information-age environment.

In This Case Study You Will Learn

  • How the BOXARR Platform is making it possible for virtually untrained users to capture their knowledge

  • How BOXARR can be used for knowledge elicitation, in a collaborative way.

  • How the knowledge captured in BOXARR can be utilised to improve collaborative productivity.


Capturing Latent At-Risk Knowledge




Our Customer

The US Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the largest of the Navy’s five systems, commands a fiscal year budget of nearly $30 billion, accounts for nearly 25% of the US Navy’s entire budget and is the largest naval fighting force that has ever existed. 
With a force of 74,000 civilian and military personnel, NAVSEA engineers build, buy and maintain the Navy's ships and submarines and their combat systems. To accomplish this, NAVSEA manages 150 acquisition programs and foreign military sales cases that include billions of dollars in annual military sales to partner nations.

Their Challenge 

The US Navy has experienced a gradual loss of its design expertise to the shipbuilders they employ to construct their most vital assets. This loss of knowledge is problematic, given that recent ship building projects have often far exceeded cost and delivery time estimates, with some well-reported examples where costs more than doubled. 

Why did the US Navy have this problem?

They simultaneously faced the challenge of technologies developing at a pace faster than design cycle times, and an ageing population of expert Naval architects whose knowledge is critical to successfully bringing ship project management inline. 
The Navy wished to capture a model of the preliminary ship design process from around 100 Naval Architects. This model would be used as a starter for new ship design projects, facilitating more effective collaborative work on customising this general plan for specific new ship projects.

Nowhere to store knowledge and no tools to help facilitate its capture.

The Navy had already begun workshops to capture design knowledge from their Naval Architects, but they found they had nowhere to store that knowledge and no tools to help facilitate its capture. Upon hearing about us, they cancelled projects to develop an in house tool, because BOXARR provided a collaborative, networked knowledge extraction tool, effective storage of the knowledge captured, plus visualisation and analytical capabilities to exploit the outcomes.

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Capturing Latent At-Risk Knowledge | US Navy

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