Know-How – Can ‘Know-How’ Contribute to Organizational Creativity?

Posted on October 8, 2013
Why is know-how so important to explore? In the modern complex organization accessing organizational creativity through individuals or groups may be imperative for creating a new product or service. In an era where new ideas are the life-blood of the organization – having an awareness of the contribution know-how can make to organizational knowledge creation – can make a difference. Know-how occurs at various levels. It occurs both at the organizational level and intertwines with the personal level.

At the organizational and outer level we may ask – what do we know, or don’t know?  In particular, focusing on the blind spots the ‘don’t know what we don’t know’. You can’t help but link this to Johari’s window model when used at the organizational level, with its blind, hidden open and private areas. In particular the shadow (hidden) elements. In other words, the really interesting elements that we may not be aware of. Indeed, this reflects how we view and see the world around us, and of course this can be limited by our own past experience. As such, inviting the views of others may enable us to reassess, and see the organization from a fresh perspective.

As an individual in a company you gather know-how and knowledge over time as you experience different elements within the organization. The knowledge accumulates and becomes instinctive. This is why fast track managers move around the organization to gather experience from various departments and gather a type of tacit and wordless knowledge purely through observation. They gather know-what, know-how and know-why.
On the other hand there is the idea of know-how at the individual personal level. Again, what do we just ‘know’? This is the deep inner knowledge that sometimes we don’t know where it comes from. We just ‘know’. This relates to our deep interior knowledge and knowing. This is a fascinating area and part of personal knowledge. This inner knowledge is a type of superior ‘interior technology’ that we all have access too if we choose to use it. Finally, the top leaders in the world do use their own individual ‘know-how experience’ to make decisions and this over-rides reliability on purely rational decision-making processes. As such know-how contributes to creativity.

Janette Young of Knowledge Futures is a Knowledge Consultant, Coach, Trainer, Learning Facilitator who focuses on Knowledge and Know-How; Leadership; Executive Development; Personal Development; Virtual Learning and Instructional Design. Author of Personal Knowledge Capital: Chandos Publishers.