You are surrounded by knowledge in your AEC firm. If you reflect for a few minutes, you’ll likely agree that not all of that knowledge is equal. Some knowledge in your firm is commoditized and easily replaced when people leave the firm. Some knowledge is outdated, wrong, and/or irrelevant, not missed when experts retire. However, there is another category of knowledge which comprises unique, hard-won, experience-based knowledge, which is essential to the success of your firm today, and in the future. Knowledge Management professionals call this “Critical Knowledge.” Critical Knowledge is the high-hanging fruit in your firm, located deep in the brains of your wisest people.
From September of 2016 through April of 2017 Knowledge Architecture sponsored an eight-month research project into Critical Knowledge Transfer. Dorothy Leonard, Chief Advisor of the Leonard-Barton Group and Professor Emerita of the Harvard Business School, led four firms—Shepley Bulfinch, SMMA, Dewberry, and HGA—in this project.
Below you will find Knowledge Architecture’s Critical Knowledge Collection, a boxed-set if you will. This KA Connect talk collection shares the individual experiences of each participating firm, as well as a deeper dive by Dorothy Leonard into the theory and practice of Critical Knowledge Transfer.
By watching these talks we hope you will walk away with a well-rounded perspective of the complex challenge of transferring Critical Knowledge, various Critical Knowledge Transfer strategies, and inspiration to move forward more effectively with Critical Knowledge Transfer within your firm.
Experiments in Critical Knowledge Transfer at Shepley Bulfinch
Jim Martin of Shepley Bulfinch at KA Connect 2017.
In the fall of 2016, Shepley Bulfinch embarked upon an initiative to identify pockets of scarce, important, and hard-to-replace knowledge within their practice. Jim Martin shared lessons learned from the discovery process, approaches for capturing critical knowledge, and tactics for disseminating it to others in the firm.