Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Live KM blogging: Three types of knowledge

Earlier this week, I defined knowledge as

Information in action. That is to say that knowledge is information which people use to make decisions or add value. Knowledge includes the rules and contexts of the information's use.
There are three types of knowledge (beyond the two-types distinction) we are concerned about:
  • Acquired knowledge comes from outside the organization. We're told acquired knowledge can be purchased or "rented." I'd guess it could be stolen, too. Contract employees are an example, I think, of rented acquired knowledge. The government expects contract employees to come with the required knowledge already stored up and ready to use.

  • Adapted knowledge "results from responding to new processes or technologies in the market place." The Coast Guard's innovation council and process is an example of adapted knowledge at work in the Coast Guard.

  • Fused knowledge is that knowledge which is created when people with different backgrounds and perspectives are brought together. This is the fundamental organizational call for diversity. Diversity, and I'm not just talking race and color and gender, is what allows for fused knowledge.
Organizations must be cognizant of all three types of knowledge, for they're obtained in different ways.

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