Tacit Knowledge in Innovation Management

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If I had to visualise what tacit knowledge look like, it would without a doubt be some sort of a Pushmi-pullyu creature, mad with inexplainable joy during group meetings. It is what flows most fluidly in team work, and what is most easily absorbed: very much like good manners or

If I had to visualise what tacit knowledge look like, it would without a doubt be some sort of a Pushmi-pullyu creature, mad with inexplainable joy during group meetings. It is what flows most fluidly in team work, and what is most easily absorbed: very much like good manners or bad habits. It is the most organic way in which people get on the same level, transferring their skills, moulding opinions and solutions. It is also the hardest thing to teach someone: have you ever tried to teach a child to sleep? You can’t do it. And they ask how is it possible that you can’t teach them something you do every night but are perfectly capable of showing them how to solve mathematic equations and things.

 

This controversial nature of tacit knowledge is what makes it essential to managing innovation: the ability to know what people take for granted and how would that affect your managerial decisions. In an organisation, tacit knowledge is a primary asset: it is generated from within the company while taking into account a wide range of outside factors that form each of its members, it is developed under the organisation’s core philosophy and area of operation, and it stays within the firm, growing with each new project.

 

In creative environments, it is what creates an environment of strong personal connections, dedication, inspiration. It also plays a major role when facing other groups: audiences, clients, competitor’s firms on the market. It aligns all the minds in a team and limits the danger of self-deceit, lack of integrity, and short-sightedness. With its two heads endlessly pulling inwards and outwards, towards the organsiattion’s in-house work and towards the wider world and its requirements, tacit knowledge is unmeasurable, undistinguishable and untraceable. In this, it is a managerial nightmare, but on that brigns out the best in a team, even if officially invisible.  All the hunches, intuitions, passions that storm around emerge from the release of tacit knowledge into reality, where it could make a change. When merging this across all members of a team, it creates strong, sustainable, and innovative solutions – a vision.

 

Edited by: Emma Berg