This paper addresses an unfortunate observation, that all too often, even the best intended integrated drilling operations get stranded. When this happens, advanced collaborative environments are reduced to function as little more than ordinary meeting rooms. What remain advanced are the fancy screens, the impressive communication technology and the latest in room design and furniture.

Why is this happening and how may it be resolved?

In trying to answer the above question, the paper look at the way knowledge management in the drilling industry appear to be concentrated about data - and information management; about ICT systems and software.

The paper addresses the actual collaboration that takes place inside the collaboration room, the role of people and human expertise. It discusses organizing principles and the role team-work and decision making.

Rather than subscribing to the view that decisions can be handled by automata the paper discuss the full complexity of oil well drilling and how decision making is actually happening in real-time under dynamic conditions. While computers crave rational decision processes, people make decisions from interpretation of less than perfect knowledge, based on experience and expertise.

The paper discuss naturalistic decision making (NDM) models such as recognition-primed decision making; how they apply in real-time and how engineers use them to make sense of the data available in collaboration rooms and Operation Support Centers when assessing real-time occurrences.

In offering solutions to the initial questions, the paper looks outside the drilling industry to other high-reliability organizations working in real-time. The final recommendations include experience from aviation, military and fire brigades etc. and how these organizations have defined the role of human expertise.

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