Framework For Knowledge Creation

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Strategies for systematic knowledge creation through organizations and networks.

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Framework For Knowledge Creation

  1. 1. A Framework for Organizational Knowledge Creation Innovation Network for Communities
  2. 2. Organizational Learning THE LEARNING ORGANIZATION: An organization where the members have the capacity and opportunity to interact with each other to compare, contrast and adjust their “mental models” of the world as they work together to accomplish their personal and collective visions. “ Learning in organizations means the continuous testing of experience, and the transformation of that experience into knowledge -- accessible to the whole organization, and relevant to its core purpose.” (Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook)  A learning organization is an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.  David Garvin, “Building A Learning Organization”
  3. 3. Quotes on Organizational Learning <ul><li>“ Learning organizations are skilled at five main activities: </li></ul><ul><li>systematic problem solving; </li></ul><ul><li>experimentation with new approaches; </li></ul><ul><li>learning from their own experience and past history; </li></ul><ul><li>learning from the experiences and best practices of others; and </li></ul><ul><li>transferring knowledge quickly and efficiently throughout the organization.” </li></ul><ul><li>(David Garvin, “Building a Learning Organization) </li></ul>“ The centerpiece of the Japanese approach is the recognition that creating new knowledge is not simply a matter of “processing” objective information. Rather, it depends on tapping the tacit and often highly subjective insights, intuitions, and hunches of individual employees and making those insights available for testing and use by the company as a whole.  New knowledge always begins with the individual...Making personal knowledge available to others is the central activity of the knowledge-creating company.” (Ikujiro Nonaka, “The Knowledge-Creating Company”)  What is theory? ‘ Theory is systematically organized knowledge applicable to a relatively wide variety of circumstances, especially a system of assumptions, accepted principles, and rules of procedure devised to analyze, predict, or otherwise explain the nature or behavior of a specified set of phenomena.’ (American Heritage Dictionary)  So, responsible leaders should ask themselves,  What good theories do we have that provide practical guidance for ensuring our organization  s success?  The more clearly you can articulate your organization  s theories about what leads to success, the more deliberate you can be about investing in the elements that are critical to that success.  (Daniel Kim, “What Is Your Organization  s Core Theory of Success?  )  Groups that learn, communities of practice, have special characteristics. They emerge of their own accord: Three, four, 20, maybe 30 people find themselves drawn to one another by a force that is both social and professional. They collaborate directly, use on another as sounding boards, teach each other. You can  t create communities like this by fiat, and they are easy to destroy. They are among the most important structures of any organization where thinking matters, but they almost inevitably undermine its formal structures and strictures.  (Thomas Stewart, “The Invisible Keys to Success”)
  4. 4. Different Forms of Collective Learning A Learning Community: A group of individuals who voluntarily come together to accomplish a specific learning agenda together. Communities of Practice: A group of people who have informal allegiance to each other because they share certain practices an are exposed to a common class of problems. Learning Organizations: An organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights.
  5. 5. Attributes of Effective Learning Communities <ul><li>Autonomous Agents: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual players (individuals, teams, organizations) who voluntarily come together to learn, and who retain broad freedom about how they interact. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Networked Connections: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Enough “shared rules” (frameworks, mental models, values, visions, etc.) to communicate effectively. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A learning agenda — areas of urgency for developing new knowledge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A connecting infrastructure — opportunities and means to interact freely. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared memory — ways of recording and passing on new learning. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Profuse Experimentation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Individual and collective processes for engaging in the action/reflection cycle. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Measures of success — ways to know if experiments work. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. A Framework For Organizational Knowledge Creation <ul><li>Interplay between “tacit” and “explicit” knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge creation involves managing the transition from tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge, and from explicit knowledge back to tacit knowledge. “Tacit” knowledge is knowledge possessed by skilled practitioners, but that is intuitive and difficult to make understandable to others. “Explicit” knowledge is knowledge that has been “externalized” and made accessible to a broad range of potential users. </li></ul><ul><li>Learning is a constructive process. </li></ul><ul><li>Good knowledge management requires a deep understanding of learning as a process of constructing , not transmitting , knowledge. We learn by engagement and doing in a continuous cycle of immersion, active processing, testing, reflection, and adapting mental models. Learning is emotional as well as logical; it is personal. </li></ul><ul><li>Learning is a social process: </li></ul><ul><li>Before there were schools, textbooks, and curricula, learning was a process with those who possessed a degree of expertise. Modern learning theory is increasingly acknowledging what traditional practice groups have always understood – learning is a fundamentally social process that occurs in “communities of practice” – groups of individuals (whether farmers, engineers, doctors, mothers, politicians or artists) who share a common way of doing things. Thus, knowledge is is embedded in the way members of a community of practice carry out their work. Learning is therefore a process of gaining membership in a community of practice. </li></ul><ul><li>Practice communities accelerate knowledge attainment: </li></ul><ul><li>In practice communities, information travels seamlessly and very rapidly – common mental frameworks (“paradigms”) and language and dense networks of connection make this happen. But practice communities also tend to reject knowledge and insight that does not fit their established way of doing things. They therefore often have difficulty in generating and nurturing innovation. </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Cycle Of Knowledge Creation The knowledge creation process involves four distinct phases (adapted from Nonaka and Takeuchi). Each phase implies a set of activities to be carried out by the Center. The continuous management of the cycle leads to a “learning spiral” that generates deeper and more powerful levels of knowledge and competence. Tacit Tacit Explicit Explicit Sharing and Networking Writing it Down and Distributing It Comparing it to What Others Know Integrating It into Skill Development and Strategy FROM: TO: NETWORKS DOCUMENTATION BENCHMARKING & TOOL DEVELOPMENT SKILL DEVELOPMENT
  8. 8. The Cycle of Organizational Knowledge Creation Tacit Tacit Explicit Explicit Sharing and Networking Writing it Down and Sharing It Comparing it to What Others Know Integrating It into Skill Development and Strategy FROM: TO: SOCIALIZATION (Sympathized Knowledge) EXTERNALIZATION (Conceptual Knowledge) COMBINATION (Systemic Knowledge) INTERNALIZATION (Operational Knowledge) Nonaka and Takeuchi, The Knowledge-Creating Company <ul><li>ORGANIZATIONAL ENABLING CONDITIONS: </li></ul><ul><li>Intention </li></ul><ul><li>Autonomy </li></ul><ul><li>Creative chaos </li></ul><ul><li>Redundancy </li></ul><ul><li>Requisite variety </li></ul>
  9. 9. The Cycle Of Knowledge Creation Knowledge Flow Process Some Potential Activities From tacit to tacit SOCIALIZATION: Create opportunities for practitioners to interact with each other and share their “trade secrets” and implicit practices. <ul><li>Facilitating networking opportunities between practitioners </li></ul><ul><li>Creating on-line networks </li></ul><ul><li>Organizing “learning communities,” “users groups” and other forms of ongoing practitioner networks </li></ul>From tacit to explicit EXTERNALIZATION: Convert tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge embodied in concepts, principles and practices that others can access and understand. <ul><li>Creating and distributing information products </li></ul>From explicit to explicit COMBINATION: Connect this new knowledge with knowledge from other fields and other experts then revise and integrate into best practice guidelines. <ul><li>Commissioning expert studies and analysis (global benchmarking), using research and academic institutions </li></ul><ul><li>Creating curriculum, tool kits and other learning materials </li></ul>From explicit to tacit INTERNALIZATION: Create opportunities for people to begin to use new knowledge in their practice. <ul><li>Workshops and other training events </li></ul><ul><li>Joint project opportunities </li></ul>
  10. 10. Enabling Conditions for Knowledge Creation <ul><li>INTENTION </li></ul><ul><li>Clear vision, values and goals </li></ul><ul><li>Clarity about what knowledge needs to be created </li></ul><ul><li>AUTONOMY </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom to act independently </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of unexpected opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Autopoetic and self-similar </li></ul><ul><li>CREATIVE CHAOS </li></ul><ul><li>Continuous questioning and reconsidering existing premises </li></ul><ul><li>Capacity for self-reflection </li></ul><ul><li>REDUNDANCY </li></ul><ul><li>Intentional overlapping of business information </li></ul><ul><li>Encouraging of “learning by intrusion” </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic rotation of personnel </li></ul><ul><li>REQUISITE VARIETY </li></ul><ul><li>Variety within the organization that matches complexity of external environment </li></ul><ul><li>Open access to information </li></ul><ul><li>Flat and flexible structures </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent reorganization </li></ul>
  11. 11. Developing The Power Of Knowledge <ul><li>First Generation. Use the activities of knowledge creation/ learning cycles to seek patterns in practice. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify key patterns that one is seeking. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Initiate many exploratory learning projects. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Observe projects with pattern seeking lens. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop first generation knowledge products that are anecdotal, descriptive, suggestive (e.g. stories, cases) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Second Generation. Convert patterns into tools with reliable results. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Mine” and connect the observations to identify underlying patterns. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Test observed patterns against other knowledge. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop second generation products that are analytic, diagnostic, prescriptive and reliable. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Levels of Organizational Learning <ul><li>More complexity </li></ul><ul><li>More strategic risk </li></ul><ul><li>Higher levels of management attention </li></ul><ul><li>Longer cycle times </li></ul>New Markets and Customers New Products and Processes Cross-organizational Process Redesign Continuous Improvement within Processes Strategic Business Redesign Transforming Industry Practice
  13. 13. The Evolution of “Practice Fields” Stage 1: FRAMING. Stage 2: NETWORKING. Stage 3: MATURATION. Stage 4: STANDARDIZATION. Conceptual framing and isolated practice examples. Networking of innovators and the proliferation of practices. Practices are fragmented and considered “proprietary.” Maturation of practices; convergence around common methods and tools; integration of previously differentiated practices; development of a professional implementation support network. Practices become highly standardized, and incorporated into formal training; credentialing and certification systems. Practices are considered “commodities.”
  14. 14. Summary of Organizational Learning Dimensions Be clear about your “theory of your business” – the core assumptions, hypotheses and purposes around which the organization is designed. Your vision creates the basis for your knowledge agenda. Clearly define the kinds of knowledge that are most important to the achievement of your mission & vision; assess your current knowledge assets and build a plan for knowledge creation. Create systematic opportunities for individuals doing similar work to interact and share their tacit knowledge with each other. 1. Clarify your vision 2. Build a knowledge agenda 4. Nurture Communities of Practice Organizational learning is not a substitute for day to day discipline in operations. In fact, it depends on such discipline being in place. 3. Create a base of operating discipline
  15. 15. Summary of Organizational Learning Dimensions Create disciplined processes for exposing the underlying rules of successful mental models and behaviors in the organization so that they can be shared with others and compared to outside knowledge. Have an explicit process for designing and trying out innovative new practices (e.g. a “new product/service process”). Design in redundancy, overlap and information sharing between different parts of the organization. 5. Convert tacit to explicit knowledge 6. Support a culture of innovation 7. Organize sharing across practice communities Avoid hierarchical and autocratic organizational designs; create disciplined “autonomous agents” with open access to broad ranges of information. 8. Create flexible and entrepreneurial organizational structures
  16. 16. CQI and Organizational Learning <ul><li>Continuous improvement is simply a specialized and disciplined form of learning that uses a distinct set of processes and tools to increase the performance of systems. </li></ul><ul><li>The core “genetics” of the CI process is the scientific method. </li></ul><ul><li>The value of a continuous quality improvement framework or culture is that it creates some common learning practices across the organization. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Toyota – Creating A Community of Scientists “ The fact that the scientific method is so ingrained at Toyota explains why the high degree of specification and structure at the company does not promote the command and control environment one might expect. Indeed, in watching people doing their jobs and in helping to design production processes, we learned that the system actually stimulates workers and managers to engage in the kind of experimentation that is widely recognized as the cornerstone of a learning organization. That is what distinguishes Toyota from all other companies we studied.” What Toyota Production System has done is to create a “community of scientists” that is continuous conducting experiments on the production process. (“If we make the following specific changes, we expect to achieve this specific outcome.”) The purpose of standardization in this context, is not to enforce discipline, but to enable experimentation – you can’t accurately test a hypothesis for improvement if you don’t have stability in the system you are experimenting on.
  18. 18. Toyota – An Example of A Learning Organization <ul><li>THE FOUR RULES OF TPS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule 1: All work shall be highly specified as to content, sequence, timing, and outcome. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule 2: Every customer-supplier connection must be direct, and there must be an unambiguous yes-or-no way to send requests and receive responses. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule 3: The pathway for every product and service must be simple and direct (flow). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule 4: Any improvement must be made in accordance with the scientific method at the lowest possible level in the organization. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Management’s Role is to Engage in Socratic Dialogue: </li></ul><ul><li>How do you do this work? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you know it is being done correctly? </li></ul><ul><li>How do you know the outcome is free of defects? </li></ul><ul><li>What do you do if you have a problem? </li></ul>Source: “Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System”, 1999, Harvard Business Review

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