Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tacit Knowledge and 5T / 5D


Tavoite = Destination, target

Tunne = Desire, feeling

Tieto = Data, knowledge

Tahto = Determination, dedication

Toiminta = Do-it, execution, action

With tacit knowledge, people are not often aware of the knowledge they possess or how it can be valuable to others.

Helge: We didn’t realize in 23 years that the 5T could be used in open problem solving situations. The tool have been used by KK-Net people and some of our partners as a back-office tool to analyze complex and chaotic organizational problems.

Effective transfer of tacit knowledge generally requires extensive personal contact and trust. Another example of tacit knowledge is the ability to ride a bicycle. The formal knowledge of how to ride a bicycle is that in order to balance, if the bike falls to the left, one steers to the left. To turn right the rider first steers to the left, and then when the bike falls right, the rider steers to the right. [2] Knowing this formally, however, is no help in riding a bicycle, and few riders are in fact aware of this.

Helge: All that is very true and applies to 5T (the Finnish version). Are you happy with the “translation” of 5D?

Tacit knowledge is not easily shared. It involves learning and skill, but not in a way that can be written down. Tacit knowledge consists often of habits and culture that we do not recognize in ourselves. In the field of knowledge management, the concept of tacit knowledge refers to a knowledge possessed only by an individual and difficult to communicate to others via words and symbols. Knowledge that is easy to communicate is called explicit knowledge.

Helge: We’re now experimenting how to open 5T and how to communicate it to large numbers of users, trainers and coaches.

Tacit knowledge has been described as “know-how” - as opposed to “know-what” (facts), “know-why” (science), or “know-who” (networking). It involves learning and skill but not in a way that can be written down. The process of transforming tacit knowledge into explicit or specifiable knowledge is known as codification, articulation, or specification. The tacit aspects of knowledge are those that cannot be codified, but can only be transmitted via training or gained through personal experience.

Helge: Yes, I agree… but I also see that we’re in the process of “writing it down.”

"others know it, but you don't know it." -sherwin que

A chief practice of technological development is the codification of tacit knowledge into explicit programmed operations so that processes previously requiring skilled employees can be automated for greater efficiency and consistency at lower cost. Such codification involves mechanically replicating the performance of persons who possess relevant tacit knowledge; in doing so, however, the ability of the skilled practitioner to innovate and adapt to unforeseen circumstances based on the tacit "feel" of the situation is often lost. The technical remedy is to attempt to substitute brute-force methods capitalizing on the computing power of a system, such as those that enable a supercomputer programmed to "play" chess against a grandmaster whose tacit knowledge of the game is broad and deep.

Helge: The “automation” leads to the evolution of a business model as well.

The conflicts demonstrated in the previous two paragraphs are reflected in Nonaka's model of organizational knowledge creation, in which he proposes that tacit knowledge can be converted to explicit knowledge. In that model tacit knowledge is presented variously as uncodifiable ("tacit aspects of knowledge are those that cannot be codified") and codifiable ("transforming tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge is known as codification"). This ambiguity is common in the knowledge management literature. Nonaka diverted from Polanyi's original view of 'tacit knowing' that lacks empirical or conceptual foundation, as is discussed in detail in a later article by Ikujiro Nonaka and Georg von Krogh[3].

Helge: Hmmm… need to read this several times to understand ;)

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