Eliciting Tacit Knowledge for Learning


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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.

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Eliciting Tacit Knowledge for Learning

  1. 1. 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 for Learning Olivier Serrat 2013
  2. 2. Core Knowledge Activities Create Knowledge Store Knowledge Identify Knowledge Share Knowledge Use Knowledge The routine of core knowledge activities comprises five components. Requirements 1. Activities should be aligned or integrated into business processes. 2. Activities should be balanced according to the specificities of each process and organization. A knowledge management solution should not focus on one or two activities in isolation.
  3. 3. Knowledge Assets Explicit Knowledge • Is codified knowledge • Can be expressed in writing, drawings, computer programs, etc. • Can be transmitted in various forms Tacit Knowledge • Is knowledge that people carry in their heads • Is rooted in skills, experiences, insights, intuition, and judgment • Is hard to communicate but can be shared in discussions, storytelling, and personal interactions
  4. 4. Knowledge Assets Explicit Knowledge = Media-based Tacit Knowledge = In people's head Paper-based, multimedia, digitally indexed, digitally active, etc.
  5. 5. • 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 ultimate end. Data WisdomInformation Knowledge Know WhyKnow HowKnow What Reductionist Systemic Learning
  6. 6. Learning from Experience
  7. 7. ResultsActionsAssumptionsContext Single-Loop Learning Double-Loop Learning Triple-Loop Learning (Are we doing things right?) (Are we doing the right things?) (How do we decide what is right?) Triple-Loop Learning
  8. 8. Organizational Learning • 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.
  9. 9. Organizational Learning • Every person has the capacity to learn, but: – Organizational structures and systems in which each functions are not automatically conducive to reflection and engagement. – 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.
  10. 10. Organizational Barriers to Learning Knowledge Inaction Practicing What Is Preached Multiplying Agendas Commitment to the Cause Advocacy at the Expense of Inquiry Thinking Strategically about Learning Undiscussables False Images The Funding Environment The Bias for Action Organizational Structure Cultural Bias Complexity Penalties for Not Learning The Role of Leadership Learning to Unlearn Exclusion
  11. 11. 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.
  12. 12. Dimensions of the Learning Organization • A learning organization evidences five, sometimes overlapping, levels: individual learning; team learning; cross-functional learning; operational learning; and strategic planning. • 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.
  13. 13. Knowledge, Relationships, Context, and External Environment Organizational Context Strategic alignment, management processes, institutional processes, funding cycles, historical evolution, etc. Inter- and Intra- Organizational Relationships Networks, information technology, communication plans, core functions, support functions, etc. Organizational Knowledge Identification, creation, storage, sharing and use; forms and locations; key activities and tools; relevance; monitoring and evaluation, etc. External Environment Partners, donors, other development agencies; 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. Available: www.odi.org/uk/rapid/publications/doc uments/wp244.pdf.
  14. 14. Strategy Development Management Techniques Collaboration Mechanisms Knowledge Sharing and Learning Knowledge Capture and Storage Areas of Competence
  15. 15. 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. Management Techniques) • 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. (Collaboration Mechanisms) • Two-way communication that take place simply and effectively build knowledge. (Knowledge Sharing and Learning)
  16. 16. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge 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.
  17. 17. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge 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.
  18. 18. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge Collaborating with Wikis • Wikis are websites that invite voluntary contributions to organize information. They harness the power of collaborative minds to innovate faster, cocreate, and cut costs. They are now serious business.
  19. 19. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge 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 mark.
  20. 20. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge The Critical Incident Technique • The technique gives organizations a starting point and a process for advancing organizational development through learning experiences. • The technique helps them study "what people do" in various situations.
  21. 21. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge Harvesting Knowledge • 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
  22. 22. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge Identifying and Sharing Good Practices • 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 too.
  23. 23. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge Learning Histories • How can we gauge the successes and failures of collective learning? • How can the rest of the organization benefit from the experience? • Learning histories surface the thinking, experiments, and arguments of actors who engaged in organizational change.
  24. 24. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge 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.
  25. 25. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge Showcasing Knowledge • Information has become ubiquitous because producing, manipulating, and disseminating it is now cheap and easy. • But perceptions of information overload have less to do with quantity than with the qualities by which knowledge is presented.
  26. 26. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge Social Media • 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 initiatives.
  27. 27. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge Storytelling • Storytelling is the use of stories or narratives as a communication tool to value, share, and capitalize on the knowledge of individuals.
  28. 28. Eliciting Tacit Knowledge Writing Weblogs • 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.
  29. 29. Committing to Learning Working in Teams As a Community Ask I ask questions. Inquiring minds are welcome here. We check first to see what already exists. We question accepted wisdom. Every Single One of Us We share experience, evidence, and feedback. We share achievements, outcomes, and pride. Learn I contextualize learning to make it real. We connect and take opportunities to learn. We review lessons as we go and apply our learning. Share I share personal details, roles, and skills.
  30. 30. • ADB. 2008 Notions of Knowledge Management. www.adb.org/publications/notions-knowledge-management • ——. 2009. Building a Learning Organization. www.adb.org/publications/building-learning-organization • ——. 2010. Compendium of Knowledge Solutions. www.adb.org/publications/compendium-knowledge-solutions • ——. 2010. Seeding Knowledge Solutions Before, During, and After. www.adb.org/publications/seeding-knowledge-solutions-during-and- after • ——. 2010. Learning in Development. www.adb.org/publications/learning-development • ——. 2010. Learning for Change. www.adb.org/publications/learning- change-adb Further Reading
  31. 31. Quick Response Codes @ADB @ADB Sustainable Development Timeline @Academia.edu @LinkedIn @ResearchGate @Scholar @SlideShare @Twitter