Dynamic Knowledge Creation Model

The Dynamic Knowledge Creation Model was created by Nancy Dixon, building on the work by Ikuijro Nonaka. It refers explicitly to how organisations deal with knowledge, though other academics have noted its relevance in other fields.

Nonaka posited that there are four processes of knowledge creation that link across tacit and explicit knowledge. These are illustrated below.

SECI modelImage linked from here.

This shows that the four processes are

  • Tacit to tacit knowledge – acquired through conversation and socialisation. It may not be the primary subject of the conversation, but new data points can be joined up new ways to create additional meaning
  • Tacit to explicit knowledge – this can be again acquired through conversation or another form of communication, but in this instance the transference is intentional
  • Explicit to explicit knowledge – where multiple data sources are combined in intended ways, to create additional understanding that can be greater than the sum of their parts
  • Explicit to tacit knowledge – where individuals take things they have learnt and apply them to their thinking and actions

In Rachel Bodle’s article, she combines this with Dixon’s thinking to come up with the composite diagram below.

A Model of Dynamic Knowledge Creation The diagram shows that there are four types of knowledge assets within an organisation (or individual)

  • Routine knowledge (explicit to tacit) – learning by doing
  • Experiential knowledge (tacit to tacit) – judgement of individuals
  • Conceptual knowledge (tacit to explicit) – frameworks and models to utilise
  • Systemic knowledge (explicit to explicit) – editing and synthesising multiple sources
Market research agencies traditionally reside in the conceptual sphere – it takes the tacit knowledge from stakeholders and the target audience and converts them into meaningful, actionable recommendations and frameworks. The best agencies will frame their solution in such a way that makes it transferable beyond the confines of the specific brief.
However, there are also opportunities for agencies to assist organisations in the other areas
  • Routine knowledge – research may not necessarily help people or departments do their jobs better. But in certain circumstances, research tools extend into these areas. Workshop debriefs can walk through the practical implications of implementing the findings, ideally in a real situation. An example of this would be in processing and responding to consumer feedback.
  • Experiential knowledge – debriefs shouldn’t be reserved for the immediate stakeholder. By inviting everyone within an organisation, those inquisitive minds with a gap in their schedule can listen to the findings. There may not be any obvious, explicit benefit but the opportunity for serendipity arises
  • Systemic knowledge is traditionally the preserve of the client but, with resources increasingly stretched, some are looking to outsource this. Good research agencies should already be doing this – surveys and focus groups don’t reside within a black box. Secondary data collection and bricolage solutions using cost-effective online tools (the precise ones depend on the nature of the brief) should be pre-requisites in complementing the core research offering
I’ve only recently become aware of these models, but I’ve already found them extremely useful in reframing the nature of my projects. Organisations thrive on knowledge. It can only be a good thing if I can identify additional means of them harnessing and applying that

sk

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7 Responses

  1. Ultimately, researchers have to stop remaining a “talking” data and have to go deep into the information and hitting on the implications. The routine, experiential and systemic knowledge you’ve enumerated are indeed the “extra miles” for researchers to give their clients. This post is not just about some new info but some refreshing insights on how we deal with our data.

  2. Thanks Pinoy – we’re in complete agreement.

  3. Interesting model.

  4. [...] Dynamic Knowledge Creation Model (curiouslypersistent.wordpress.com) [...]

  5. Hi Simon, really helpful blog post.

    I was thinking about the experiential part a little bit and the one thing that doesn’t get out of my head is how knowledge within organizations could be shared continuously in an ambient, almost incidental and certainly low-involvement way. Sure, a lot of creativity develops out of the friction between people with different mental states coming together, but from my experience, there is also much to gain from internal knowledge sharing – and intranets and stuff where you constantly have to look for it are more of a burden than a help.

    So yes, there are whiteboards and flip charts, and everybody has some RSS-reader, twitter, facebook and all kinds of other curated updates, but I think there could be so much value in having a ‘knowledge’ stream built-in and designed into offices. Would love to know if you have gained some experience with this kind of stuff?

  6. Thanks Thomas, really good thoughts. Although I didn’t personally work on it, Essential contributed earlier this year to a customer segmentation where one of the outputs involved the office meeting rooms being designed to represent different segments, right down to the furniture and layout. It was a really powerful way of reminding colleagues of the different groups buying their products.

    This is undoubtedly at the higher investment end of the scale but some of the low-level ambient things you mention could be really powerful – working almost like outdoor advertising in that their effectiveness is linked to placement and frequency of exposure.

    Cheers,
    Simon

  7. [...] Kendrick recently posted about a Dynamic Knowledge Creation Model on his blog. There, he describes the different forms of knowledges and the ways of exchanging them. [...]

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