As its name suggests, tribal knowledge is knowledge belonging to a specific (sub)group of people – a collective intellectual asset. But how is this concept different than other types of knowledge? Well, is that tribe thing. And one other thing.
The tribe connection is pretty obvious – it designates a group working together. But what tells it apart from other groups is the rapport they share. The members of a “tribe” don’t see each other as competitors, but rather as partners. This idea might be wrongfully undervalued by people that believe competitiveness is the main key to boost progress. I agree that a healthy sense of competition can generate progress and innovation, but there’s nothing that beats collective wisdom. A quality performance is driven by combined abilities – like best practices, know-how, protocols, “just in time” solutions, etc.
The volume of all these abilities, though acknowledged, it’s unfortunately undocumented, allowing many opportunities to remain unseen.
The good news is that once you find the means to capture it, it will become a living knowledge reservoir, playing a central source within the tribe.
Given access to collaboration tools, the members forming a tribe won’t face the fears of sharing their expertise and implicit knowledge met in traditional organizations, as they understand the constructive merit of working together, of exchanging of experiences and growing simultaneously.
Happy Knowledge Sharing!