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Tacit Knowledge, Communities, & The Power of Pull

This week we were fortunate to have John Hagel join our members to discuss his latest book, The Power of Pull.  One of the markers of a good book is that everyone who reads it gets something different out of it and TheCR Network members found a wide variety of topics that sparked their thinking, including:

  • Why passion is emerging as such a critical performance asset for individuals
  • The evolution of knowledge stocks to knowledge flows that are always changing
  • The ability to influence how serendipity happens and increase its productivity
  • The importance of constant innovation in today’s organizations
  • The critical element of trust that is required to learn and innovate quickly

What really hit a cord for me was the importance of recognizing, encouraging, and respecting what is tacit knowledge today because of its critical role in innovation.  Tacit, unspoken knowledge is the beginning point for new knowledge creation and with it, innovation. John points out that tacit knowledge – created at an organization’s edges – is unformed, sometimes inarticulate, and hard to communicate.  The people with tacit knowledge are often discounted because they cannot articulate a polished and fully formed concept.  This is where trust becomes so important.  If someone we trust comes to us with a new idea, but one that is not fully formed, we are much more likely to take them seriously and really listen to it then to dismiss it. So relationships are key to the discovery and evolution of tacit knowledge.

For me – the discussion of the nature of tacit knowledge gets to the heart of why communities are becoming so valuable in today’s environment.  Communities are what enable individuals within organizations to form trust-based relationships with people outside of the organization.  The trust relationships that form allow rapidly evolving tacit knowledge to be discussed, refined, and combined in ways that allow an organization to rapidly take advantage of the new opportunities the knowledge creates.  Those organizations that can more effectively build communities will benefit disproportionately from the newest information in ways that more closed off organizations cannot. In a world where the speed of information is increasing daily, this competency will drive huge value creation for those that can harness it and it begs the question: what is your community strategy?

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