Implicit knowledge – what’s this anyway?

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Owner of this photo is Flickr user Lollyman. Original location of the image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lollyman/4424552903/
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We must all remember our first job: the excitement behind the new experience, the worry we might do something wrong or the satisfaction of getting our first paycheck. Until you adjust to your new responsibilities, being a newcomer can be quite stressful – but less so if you are offered proper team support. If this is the case, you can truly focus on your progress, which is after all the path to self-improvement.

How does progress happen? Beside absorbing the theoretical knowledge behind specific actions, one must experience real life tasks, face atypical situations, and learn the skills of team collaboration. It’s precisely this mix of experiences that we want to talk about.

Each job has its own evolution path, but they all have something in common: you start from your academic background and grow trough your experience. This is actually where knowledge splits: between the “know-what” (or explicit knowledge) and the “know-how” (the so called implicit knowledge). You can’t do one without the other.

Implicit knowledge is more difficult to transfer because you can’t just write it down or verbalize it. It’s a combination of instinct and practice.  Some call it “knowledge under construction” and it’s usually an unconscious skill. Using a knowledge management solution that takes into account the implicit knowledge potential, can prove very beneficial if used efficiently. And for this to happen, the KM solution’s first job is to encourage direct collaboration between employees.

People use different work mechanisms and each of us have different levels of expertise. This is why working as a team is usually so much more rewarding. When someone is struggling with a project, there’s a big chance one of her/his colleagues can help by simply offering a detail that could release the jamming point.

Situations like that are very much avoidable and the “Open Sesame” phrase is: just ask!

In today’s services and knowledge-heavy economy, companies’ value often reside in their employees and the connection between them. Yes, manuals, procedures and other documents are useful and very important to have in each company, to document the majority of most common internal processes. But it’s culture and know-how, and the capacity to perpetuate it that makes a company great better.

This is why I believe that creating a space where this form of intelligence can be captured and nurtured is a necessity. Asking questions via a KM system will not only help you get accurate, real life tested and up-to-date information, but it will also ease the process of getting to the right person. Know-how and even know-what are not always about hierarchy: sometimes a coworker that is actually your subordinate – or even work in an entirely different team! – can prove to have the answer you were looking for.

Once captured, storing this knowledge and making it easily discoverable is equally beneficial, as all company’s employees will benefit of the content being built over time. Especially helpful for the new hires!

It’s exactly this type of knowledge management solution that we aimed to build by developing our software, Quandora Question & Answer.

Sign up for a free 30 days trial and send us your feedback or questions!

Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum.

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