Lessons in Maturity: Separating knowledge from the Knower

In 2011 I worked for a company of consultants.  One of the tasks I was given during that time was to come up with a way of handling knowledge.

Knowledge comes in two main forms: implicit and explicit.

Implicit knowledge is information or data or skills that people know without realising they do or, at least, without articulating it well.   Implicit knowledge can be very hard to document or explain to someone else. Explicit knowledge is the opposite, it is knowledge that is easily documented and understood in text or diagrams.  In the past and in some places today, civilisations and organisations dealt with the problem of passing on implicit knowledge by using an apprentice and master approach. This approach has gone out of favour in the West generally.

In my research I came across this paper. Its a typical Ph.D. paper with loads of big words, months of research and lots of references. But basically it says you can’t separate knowledge out from the knower and make it useful for people who are in the senior consultant category (mature if you like). The senior consultant will always need to talk to the knowledge originator to get the things (help, implicit knowledge, advice, experience, contacts, etc.) that only a conversation or interaction with the person will provide. Explicit, extracted knowledge only has limited use really only for those who are inexperienced or new to a company.

Likewise reading the Bible on its own without being a disciple of its Author is of limited use and can be quite frustrating.

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