More examples of tacit to explicit transformations

dragonfly wingsby tanakawho

KM 2.0 is about “showing your workings out”:
[Via Library clips]

Two of my posts have linked and quoted blog posts that are bringing to light the difference that the renewed push in KM brings, in a shift to a “work in progress” mentality.

I have mentioned several times that km 2.0 is a social way of doing work, it’s not a separate task, instead it’s blended in our work routine.

Firstly people are working this way on the open web, and they are also using social computing tools in the enterprise, these people are sometimes referred to as IT rogues. The second difference is the fact that the new interest in KM (by early adopters), is being initiated by the workers…social productivity. Whereas the first wave of KM was more a mandate by management, KM 2.0 is coming about by workers saying to management, “I’m really productive in a social way, it’s how I get things done, can we use these social computing tools”…and management would say, “Is this the new KM way to share tacit knowledge”, and the workers would say, “I’m not too sure what KM is, but I get things done by collaborating and connecting with my network.”

Anyway I want to once again point to the Transparent Office blog (this is becoming one of my favourites), Michael Idinopulos posts about the real essence of the new KM. It’s about thinking out loud, more open collaboration, your workings out are visible (less private). People get to share, engage and nuture, insights and works in early stages or in the thought stages…before all the cream is sorted, and formalised into a final product.

Perhaps KM 2.0 is like showing all the workings out of your maths solution…we get to see how you got there. It’s this “how you got there” that we are trying to tease out, actually as you are sharing, others can help shape your path, and bring you to perhaps a better place…the social capital at work. Also, others can read about the stages in your path, and utilise that know-how for a totally different work at hand, eg. an approach, experiences and insights a blogger shares about her workings towards a “engineering” deliverable, could very well be usable by an HR person.

A HR person is not going to read an “engineering” deliverable, but if they happened to come across a post (a fragment) about a research method the engineer discovered and applied in the “engineering” deliverable, the HR person may be able to use that info in their research task.


KM 1.0 was usually a top down approach where the transformation of tacit knowledge into explicit form was non-obvious. It often did not fit the way many people actually work. But Web 2.0 approaches allow people to use low level technologies to make this transition (tacit to explicit transformation) themselves, using the path they find useful.

And in doing this, they often make much clearer the path they took. This makes it easier for others the learn (explicit to tacit transformation) as well as help (explicit to explicit).

Web 2.0 approaches greatly accelerate the creation of knowledge by easing these transformations. The easier tacit and explicit knowledge can be moved and changed, the faster knowledge can be created, permitting a wider range of problems to be attacked and solved.

So, Web 2.0 approaches are firstly important and useful for the individual user. They have to be or no one will use them. But, an almost emergent property of these approaches is that normal human social networks can vastly leverage these individual actions to create a large storehouse of knowledge.

Of course, the organization really likes the fact that tacit information, hitherto only found in someone’s head, is now in a location that the organization can access and use. At least some organizations. The ones where the creation of knowledge is a core value.

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