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Creating Knowledge Through Storytelling

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Creating Knowledge Through Storytelling

Feb 19, 2024   |  By
KMI Guest Blogger Ekta Sachania

Organizational knowledge is broadly classified into explicit and tacit. While explicit knowledge is tangible and is captured through processes, documentation, books, videos, etc, the fact is that this forms only a fraction of any organization’s knowledge while the rest of the knowledge bound to peoples’ experiences, intuition, insights, expertise, and personal conclusions is tacit knowledge. 

Recognizing the importance of this tacit knowledge and capturing it in a methodical way to make it explicit is a challenge for most organizations. The tacit knowledge may seem too fluid and inconsistent, but its fluidity is what makes it a powerful innovation tool. The conversion of tacit to explicit knowledge known as externalization is critical for an organization’s long-term success.

One of the most powerful tool for capturing the tacit knowledge is storytelling. As per Davenport and Prusek, Quite often a good story is the best way to impart knowledge.

Let’s discuss below some of the reasons that make storytelling a powerful knowledge transfer tool.

Contextualization – Tacit knowledge is all about experiences and interactions in specific situations. Storytelling is the best medium for any individual to describe narratives that include the background, environment, and emotions associated with a particular situation. This helps in capturing the nuances and subtleties that are often implicit in tacit knowledge. Storytelling allows a seamless leap from information to knowledge as best practices and lessons learned. 

Ideation leading to Innovation – Ideas pave the way for Innovation. Employees have hands on experience with processes, clients, products, and customers. When they collaborate to share their stories while collaborating formally or informally, they create a new paradigm by introducing new ideas with potential for improvement and innovation.

Transfer of Wisdom: Tacit knowledge often involves practical wisdom and judgment that is honed through experience. Through storytelling, individuals can pass on this wisdom by sharing anecdotes, case studies, and examples that illustrate the application of tacit knowledge in real-world situations. These experiences comes in real handy when dealing with complex clients and develop relationships with customer leading to project and organizational success.

Cultural Transmission: Tacit knowledge is often closely tied to an organization’s culture. Through storytelling, organizational values, traditions, and unwritten rules can be conveyed effectively, preserving the cultural aspects of tacit knowledge.

Organic way to learn – The wider purpose of any KM framework is to equip employees with knowledge for greater good of the organization, and the medium of learning is vital. Various studies have proved that story telling is most effective in imparting and capturing of knowledge. Tacit knowledge from experienced members and outgoing employees can be embedded in narratives to help inexperienced employees learn and upskill.

If the question is why stories work so well in knowledge management, then the answer–simply–is that “our brains seem to be wired to easily and almost automatically organize information into stories” (Reamy, 2002).

 


Ekta Sachania has over 15 years of experience in learning and talent development disciplines, including knowledge management, content management, and learning & collaboration with expertise in content harvesting, practice enablement, metrics analysis, site management, collaboration activities, communications strategy and market trends analysis. Demonstrated success in managing multiple stakeholder expectations across time zones and exhibiting good project management skills, by successfully developing and deploying projects for large audiences.  Ability to adapt and work in emerging areas with fast-shifting priorities.  Connect with Ekta at LinkedIn...

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