Friday, 24 June 2011

"Capturing" tacit knowledge

We have always known that a lot of tacit knowledge cannot be captured, and some other tacit knowledge should not be captured, but should be left in the full richness of tacit form. That's why I always bristle when I see KM "Loop models" which start with "Capture".

However I had a good discussion in KMUK this week with a guy who applied just that model to tacit knowledge (Alan Knott, Technical Leader – Knowledge Management, Parsons Brinckerhoff Ltd).

He made the good point that tacit knowledge is to some extent "captured" when the knowledge holder joins a network or a community of practice. Up to this point, the tacit knowledge is siloed; inaccessible. Once the person is connected into a network, their tacit knowledge is linked into a system.

Much as a piece of explicit knowledge joins the company knowledge based when linked, accessible and searchable, so a piece of tacit knowledge joins the company knowledge based when the knowledge-holder is linked, accessible and findable though a network or community of practice.


briankennemer said...

I get what you are saying but to me this feels a bit like saying that a book is part of the library when it gets put on a shelf but in this case the book is on some random shelf and there is no card catalog entry. how does the community KNOW the knowledge is there now? Do they have to 'ask' a question of the community and then wait for the response of this new person? Does the act of this person joining the community entail them notifyin the community (through a profile of some kind) the areas of their expertise?

Not being part of the KM world per se Im curious how this is looked upon.

Nick Milton said...

Hi Brian

generally, you are right.

By being a member of the community, the person makes themselves available to answer questions. They may take part in community discussions or meetings. They may enter register their areas of expertise in a community index or Yellow Pages. Basically, they become connected.

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