Method Knowledge

One of the knowledge types we take pains to highlight during a knowledge mapping exercise is method knowledge - the type of knowledge that a team builds up over time and that which makes them effective. It is knowledge that is seldom captured because people are either unaware of how valuable that knowledge is, or they do not see capturing it as a priority. 

Many years ago, in one of our projects, we discovered that a team of three young people had been running a national event for their organisation for the preceding three years. The event was growing in popularity and profile, becoming what they termed a marquee event. When we interviewed the three young people, we discovered that they had basically figured out how to run the event through trial and error. Between them they were able to recall and explain how they managed the different aspects of the event, but all that knowledge existed only in their heads. It was clear that there was a risk of knowledge loss, more so as the organisation had a high staff turnover rate. To mitigate the risk, we embarked on a programme of documenting their method knowledge.

Here is another example, this instance of how Cargill’s global social media team manages their method knowledge. Thanks to Laura Ostenso for bringing the article to my attention.

What method knowledge do you work with? And how are you managing it?

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