Wednesday 24 August 2011

Nonaka on KM Strategy

The following items are quotes from Nonaka and Takeuchi, the Knowledge Creating Company, mainly from Chapter 8,  some from Chapter 5. They are a useful check to ensure our strategies are on the correct track

1.   Create a knowledge vision

Top management should create a knowledge vision and communicate it within the organization.

A knowledge vision should define the “field” or “domain” that gives corporate members a mental map of the world they live in and provides a general direction regarding what kind of knowledge they ought to seek to create.

The essence of strategy lies in the developing the organizational capability to acquire, create, accumulate and exploit the knowledge domain.

For example, … Kao defines its knowledge domain as “surface science” … NEC includes pattern recognition and image processing as part of its core technologies …

Without a vision, knowledge may be based solely on past experience, particularly successful ones …. it becomes difficult to turn to something new or different

2.   Develop a knowledge crew

Highly subjective insights, intuitions and hunches are at the root of knowledge creation.

…. A knowledge creating company needs diversity in the pool of talents … requisite variety … is one of the enabling conditions.

… ensure that the diverse pool of talents …. Maintain their freedom and autonomy

… three categories of knowledge crew … knowledge practitioners, knowledge engineers, knowledge officers

… knowledge engineers take the lead in converting knowledge, ….and facilitating … across different organizational level … they are the project leaders of the organizational knowledge creation process

Knowledge practitioners are responsible for accumulating and generating both tacit and explicit knowledge … most of them work at the front lines of business

Knowledge officers are responsible for managing the total organizational knowledge-creation process at the corporate level… are top or senior managers … (1) articulating grand concepts … (2) establishing a knowledge vision … (3) setting standards for justifying the value of knowledge …

Crew members should be evaluated in terms of how many new endeavors have been attempted.

3.   Build a high density field of interaction at the front line

A high density field refers to an environment in which frequent and intensive reactions among crew members take place.

…. Our theory on knowledge creation is anchored to the very important assumption that human knowledge is created and expanded through the social interaction between tacit and explicit knowledge … our hunches, perceptions, mental models, beliefs, and experiences are converted to something that can be communicated and transmitted in formal and systematic language

Crew members, especially those at the front line, carry out … a dialogue with the market … knowledge is embedded in the market

4.   Piggy back on new product development process

… the new product development process happens to be the core process for creating new organizational knowledge

To manage the new-product development process companies must …

First, maintain a highly adaptive and flexible approach … recognize that product development seldom proceeds in a linear and static manner. It involves an iterative, dynamic and continuous process of trial and error

Second .. make sure that a self-organizing project team is overseeing the new-product development process … give autonomy to the project team … tolerate fluctuation and creative chaos

Third … encourage the participation on non-experts … which adds requisite variety

5.   Adopt middle-up-down management

Top management articulates … dream … front-line employees … look at reality … Middle managers … synthesize the tacit knowledge of both … make it explicit and incorporate it into new technologies, products and programs.

6.   Switch to a hypertext organization
A hierarchy is the most efficient structure for the acquisition, accumulation and exploitation of knowledge, while a task force is the most effective structure for the creation of new knowledge. Recategorizing and recontextualizing … knowledge … necessitates the establishment of a third layer we called the knowledge base… The knowledge base layer … focuses on storing and reinterpreting both tacit and explicit knowledge
(The knowledge base) … does not exist as an actual organisational entity, but is embedded in corporate vision, organizational culture, or technology.
… a hypertext organization … accommodates all three layers
Although it is not easy, a switch to a hypertext organization is necessary … First, it makes the life of crew members a lot easier, because they only have to be in one layer at a time… Second, the quality of the knowledge tapped by the organization increases, since a specialization of sorts takes place.

7.   Construct a knowledge network with the outside world
Crew members have to mobilize the tacit knowledge held by … outside stakeholders through social interactions… Most customers’ needs are tacit …
NEC … Customer ranging from high school students to professional computer enthusiasts … shared their experience of using the TK-80. Leading apparel companies in Japan … send their own sales force to the selling floors of major department stores … Sharp .. established two “customer boards” … in its new product development process.


Hendri Ma'ruf said...

While David Griffiths gave some valid criticism on so much use of Nonaka's SECI, I think David would support the ideas presented here as these are operational/operative.

Nick Milton said...

I think you can overuse the SECI model, sure, but at the same time it has some very good pragmatic applications. So long as you don't think it's "everything", it can still provide a very valuable framework or template. For example, it can be used to ensure there is as much attention paid to Internalisation as to Socialisation - and Internalisation is something most KM programs fail to address.

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