Knowledge Creation and Web 2.0

Ever since I attended a conference which introduced the concept of Learning 2.0 to me early this spring, I’ve struggled to understand how tech like Blogs, Wikis, Mashups, etc. can fit into an organizations model for learning and Knowledge Management (KM). Lately, I’ve been doing some reading on Knowledge Creation. I ran across this article from the International Journal of Information Management titled “Innovation and knowledge creation: How are these concepts related?” (S. Popadiuk, C.W. Choo; #26; 2006; p 302-312)

The article called out the Nonaka and Takeushi (1995) model of Knowledge Conversion (in a work environment). Nonaka believed that there were four modes of knowledge conversion he also believed that as participants in a work environment engaged in these modes, they would gain deeper knowledge and be able to apply this knowledge to their work.

Sociailization – comes from shared experience with others, networking to share experiences. It can also come from “direct interactions with suppliers and customers and walking around inside the organization.”
Externalization – information or knowledge becomes “crystalized.” People within the organization start sharing what they’ve learned (sort of like how I’m sharing it here) in the form of “concepts, hypothesis, diagrams, models, or prototypes.”
Combination – knowledge takes the pace of shared presentations, meetings. The knowledge items become categorized. The knowledge items start to undergo classsification and are morphed by people in a format that the organization can use and apply.
Externalization – knowledge items are shared throughout the organization. Also, they can take the form of formal documentation or training to be referenced by people.  Also, at this  point that benchmarking and prototyping of new programs, products starts to take place.

This is my first stab at trying to apply or determine where some of the Web 2.0 or 3.0 (this is what I hate by assigning version numbers to things, by using the earlier version you risk looking like a tool) technologies fit into a model of knowledge management so here it goes . In this model I’ve applied blogs, forums, discussion and post-mortems as examples of the “Externalization” mode. Wikis as I noted earlier can be a interim or preliminary form of knowledge definition, categorization and classification. Training and formal documentation comes in the last mode or “Internalization.” Ideally, this formal conversion of “Tacit” knowledge into “Explicit” could draw from the forms in the previous modes.

This is just a start of a model or map of where the new technologies might fit into a larger picture of K.M.  One more thing, in creating this model it occurred to me that making formal and concrete assumptions about any model and trying to apply them literally and directly, can paint yourself into an uncomfortable corner where you end up looking at the very least mildly 2 dimensional. So it’s with that caveat that I will say, that this model is not a prescription for developing a formal Knowledge Management system.

Hastily created model/image of Knowledge Conversion Model



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