Tacit knowledge is hard to communicate but can be shared in discussions, storytelling, and personal interactions. This presentation points out a wide variety of tools, methods, and approaches that help surface it.
The views expressed in this presentation are the views of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Asian
Development Bank, or its Board of Governors, or the governments they represent. ADB does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included
in this presentation and accepts no responsibility for any consequence of their use. The countries listed in this presentation do not imply any
view on ADB's part as to sovereignty or independent status or necessarily conform to ADB's terminology.
Eliciting Tacit Knowledge
Core Knowledge Activities
The routine of core knowledge activities
comprises five components.
1. Activities should be aligned or
integrated into business
2. Activities should be balanced
according to the specificities
of each process and
A knowledge management solution
should not focus on one or two activities in isolation.
• Is codified knowledge
• Can be expressed in writing, drawings, computer programs, etc.
• Can be transmitted in various forms
• Is knowledge that people carry in their heads
• Is rooted in skills, experiences, insights, intuition, and
• Is hard to communicate but can be shared in discussions,
storytelling, and personal interactions
Explicit Knowledge = Media-based
Tacit Knowledge = In people's head
digitally indexed, digitally
• Learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through
instruction, study, and experience.
• Learning is driven by organization, people, knowledge, and
technology working in harmony—urging better and faster
learning, and increasing the relevance of an organization.
• Learning is an integral part of knowledge management and its
Data WisdomInformation Knowledge
Know WhyKnow HowKnow What
(Are we doing things right?)
(Are we doing the right things?)
(How do we decide what is right?)
• Learning is the key to success—some would even say survival—
in today's organizations.
• Organizational learning is the activity and the process by which
organizations reach the ideal of a learning organization.
• Organizational learning is the ability of an organization to gain
insight and understanding from experience through
experimentation, observation, and analysis, and a willingness
to examine successes and failures.
• Organizational learning promotes organizational health and
consequently increases organizational performance.
• Every person has the capacity to learn, but:
– Organizational structures and systems in
which each functions are not
automatically conducive to reflection and
– Psychological and social barriers to
learning and change may be present.
– People may lack the knowledge
management tools with which to make
sense of the circumstances.
Practicing What Is
Commitment to the
Advocacy at the
Expense of Inquiry
Undiscussables False Images
The Bias for Action
Cultural Bias Complexity
Penalties for Not
The Role of
Learning to Unlearn Exclusion
A Learning Organization
• A learning organization highlights experience
as a source of learning. It emphasizes the
means and ability to exploit its track record,
using field operations as a primary source of
learning, while drawing from elsewhere.
• A learning organization is built around
people—their know-what, know-how, and
know-why are central to the undertaking.
• Conscious, continuous, experiential, and
effective learning is centered on human
interaction and community building.
Dimensions of the
• A learning organization evidences five,
sometimes overlapping, levels: individual
learning; team learning; cross-functional
learning; operational learning; and strategic
• Individual and collective learning is not
only about finding out what others already
know, even if that is a useful first stage—it
is about solving problems by doing,
reflecting, connecting, and testing until a
solution forms part of organizational life.
Knowledge, Relationships, Context,
and External Environment
funding cycles, historical
Inter- and Intra-
communication plans, core
storage, sharing and use;
forms and locations; key
activities and tools;
relevance; monitoring and
Partners, donors, other
networks; national and
global factors, etc.
Source: Adapted from Ramalingam, Ben.
2005. Implementing Knowledge
Strategies: Lessons from International
Development Agencies. Working Paper
244. Overseas Development Institute.
Areas of Competence
Competencies for Knowledge
Management and Learning
• A strategy is a long-term plan of action to achieve a particular
goal. (Strategy Development)
• Leadership is the process of working out the right things to do.
Management is the process of doing things right.
• When working with others, efforts sometimes turn out to be
less than the sum of the parts. Too often, not enough attention
is paid to facilitating effective collaborative practices.
• Two-way communication that take place simply and effectively
build knowledge. (Knowledge Sharing and Learning)
Building Communities of Practice
• Communities of practice are groups
of like-minded, interacting people
who filter, amplify, invest, and
provide, convene, build, and learn
and facilitate to ensure more
creation and sharing of knowledge
in their domain.
Building Networks of Practice
• Organizational boundaries have been
stretched, morphed, and redesigned to
a degree unimaginable 10 years ago.
• Networks of practice have come of age.
The learning organization pays attention
to their forms and functions, evolves
principles of engagement, circumscribes
and promotes success factors, and
monitors and evaluates performance
with knowledge performance metrics.
Collaborating with Wikis
• Wikis are websites that
contributions to organize
information. They harness
the power of collaborative
minds to innovate faster,
cocreate, and cut costs. They
are now serious business.
Conducting Exit Interviews
• Exit interviews provide feedback on why
employees leave, what they liked about their job,
and where the organization needs improvement.
It is a tool to capture knowledge from leavers.
• Exit interviews are most effective when data is
compiled and tracked over time.
• Exit interviews can be a win-win situation: the
organization retains a portion of the leaver's
knowledge and shares it; the departing employee
articulates unique contributions and leaves a
The Critical Incident Technique
• The technique gives organizations a
starting point and a process for
development through learning
• The technique helps them study
"what people do" in various
• If 80% of knowledge is unwritten
and largely unspoken, we first need
to elicit that before we can
articulate, share, and make wider
use of it.
• Knowledge harvesting is one way to
draw out and package tacit
knowledge to help others adapt,
personalize, and apply it; build
organizational capacity; and
preserve institutional memory
Identifying and Sharing Good
• Good practice is a process or
methodology that has been
shown to be effective in one
part of the organization and
might be effective in another
• How can we gauge the successes
and failures of collective learning?
• How can the rest of the
organization benefit from the
• Learning histories surface the
thinking, experiments, and
arguments of actors who engaged
in organizational change.
Monthly Progress Notes
• Feedback is the dynamic process of
presenting and disseminating
information to improve performance.
• Feedback mechanisms are increasingly
being recognized as key elements of
learning before, during, and after.
• Monthly progress notes on project
administration, which document
accomplishments as well as bottlenecks,
are prominent among these.
• Information has become ubiquitous
because producing, manipulating,
and disseminating it is now cheap
• But perceptions of information
overload have less to do with
quantity than with the qualities by
which knowledge is presented.
• Social media is revolutionizing the way we
live, learn, work, and play.
Staff Profile Pages
• Staff profile pages are dynamic, adaptive,
electronic directories that store
information about the knowledge, skills,
experience, and interests of people.
• They are a cornerstone of successful
knowledge management and learning
• Storytelling is the use of stories
or narratives as a
communication tool to value,
share, and capitalize on the
knowledge of individuals.
• A web log, in its various forms, is a
web-based application on which dated
entries of commentary, descriptions of
events, or other material such as
graphics or video are posted.
• A web log enables groups of people to
discuss electronically areas of interest
and to review different opinions and
information surrounding a topic.
Committing to Learning
Working in Teams As a Community
I ask questions.
Inquiring minds are
We check first to
see what already
Every Single One
outcomes, and pride.
learning to make
We connect and take
We review lessons as
we go and apply our
I share personal
details, roles, and
• ADB. 2008 Notions of Knowledge Management.
• ——. 2009. Building a Learning Organization.
• ——. 2010. Compendium of Knowledge Solutions.
• ——. 2010. Seeding Knowledge Solutions Before, During, and After.
• ——. 2010. Learning in Development.
• ——. 2010. Learning for Change. www.adb.org/publications/learning-