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.
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.
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
- 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