Converting Tacit Knowledge Into Explict November 2010
CAPTURING TACIT KNOWLEDGE
INTO KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
NITIN POTDAR, PARTNER
BASICS …BY ALBERT EINSTEIN
1. Information is not knowledge…..
2. The only source of knowledge is experience….
DATA! DATA!! AND DATA!!!
• Millions of books/ periodicals/ newspapers/ research
reports/ interviews/ videos/ movies.
• 23 Crores web pages indexed in 2009, and 7.03
Crores websites indexed by Yahoo! as of August
2005. Approx billions of emails sent everyday,
billions of images & videos uploaded on several
• As we talk hundreds of new books are being written,
thousands of interviews/ news items are being
reported and lakhs of webpages are being uploaded
on the internet!
WHY MANAGE DATA?
• To avoid resources & time in identifying
• To help creating latest/ updated solution.
• Avoid duplication of work or ‘reinventing
• To identify new opportunities, and build
on previous work.
KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT VALUE
How does a bicycle work? Theory How to ride a bicycle?
(context-specific, personal & hard to formalize)
• Skills sets
WHY TACIT KNOWLEDGE IS CRUCIAL
• Mere information of law is no longer an USP…..
• Clients pay for ‘solutions’ not ‘information’
• Information imperfections do not exist in the practice
• Real-time transactions require firms to offer real-time
• Practice of law requires firms to adapt and replicate
knowledge into readily usable form
Can be codified in tangible form
Can be easily communicated and shared
Characteristics – “Know-What”, “Know-Why” and
Highly personal and therefore inexpressible
Not easy to visualize and hard to express
Characteristics – “Know-How”
Is highly elusive
TACIT KNOWLEDGE: CHALLENGES
• ARTICULATION CHALLENGES
Tacit knowledge is a mixture of deliberations, subjective
insight, intuition and judgment
Difficult to articulate and store
Requires extensive personal contact and mentoring
• CULTURAL CHALLENGES
Sharing not part of corporate culture
Insecurity / Lack of Trust
Lack of absorptive capacity
Intolerance for creativity
‘Not-invented-here’ or ‘proprietary’ syndrome
TRANSFERRING TACIT KNOWLEDGE
MOVEMENT OF TACIT KNOWLEDGE
“Movement of tacit knowledge within the
organization is a distinct experience, not a
gradual process of dissemination, and depends
on the characteristics of everyone
involved…..more of a mindset issue!”
TYPICAL DAILY INFORMATION FLOW
• Business News Papers
– News/ Reports/ Opinions/ Interviews/ images.
• Books/ Periodicals
• Documents received
– Emails/ Agreements/ Opinions/ Research Memos.
• Phone & Video Calls
• Official Meetings/ Discussions
• Social meetings.
How much do we systematically
store & how much do we share?
INDIVIDUALLY DEALING WITH
DAILY INFORMATION FLOW
• Create systematic folders and sub-folders on the
• Agreement for Sale
• Escrow Agreement
• While storing any document name it correctly and fill
in the in the “Summary”.
• Install “Google Desktop” or similar search engine.
• More importantly start sharing.
MODES OF TRANSFERRING contd..
• SOCIALIZATION - Tacit to Tacit
Occurs through apprenticeship, mentoring or collegial relations.
Also described as “implicit learning” or “learning by doing”
• EXTERNALIZATION – Tacit to Explicit
Written down or communicated through anecdotes, narratives,
conversations, memos, emails, presentations, group
discussions, etc. Also described as “articulation”
• COMBINATION – Explicit to Explicit
Knowledge transferred though standardized and systematic
procedures. For ex., through a computer database
• INTERNALIZATION – Explicit to Tacit
Results in distribution of knowledge throughout the
organisation and beyond.
PROCESS OF CAPTURING TACIT
• Organizational culture
Promoting knowledge-sharing tradition
creating individual discipline and corporate discipline.
• Using technology
Capturing and recording knowledge on Information Systems,
including document management, web-sites/ intranet.
PROCESS OF CAPTURING TACIT
• Partner Training
Senior Partners to contribute training in a drop-in fashion and
share real-life experiences
• Insulating against attrition
Organize deal de-briefs, discussions on transactional dynamics
• Meetings and conferences
Organizing deal debriefings, informal discussions to discussion
• Storing information systematically on
• Writing short memos/ notes /
observations/ explanations/ footnotes.
• Key to success is …..start sharing
knowledge with others & without any
Before you shut this PPT,
please forward it to your 9
friends………..and see the
results in 24 hours!
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