LILA ~ Learning Innovations Laboratory at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Looking for content and documents from our Gatherings? Login

Critical Knowledge Transfer by Dorothy Leonard

Posted by
|

As you may recall, Dorothy Leonard  who is the William J.Abernathy Professor of Business Administration Emerita at Harvard
Business School joined the LILA Community during the last several years as part of her research into the recently published book “Critical Knowledge Transfer.”  It is based on original research, numerous interviews with top managers,and a wide range of corporate examples, When highly skilled subject matter experts, engineers, and managers leave their organizations, they take with them years of hard-earned experience-based knowledge—much of it undocumented and irreplaceable. Organizations can thereby lose a good part of their competitive advantage.

The tsunami oCriticalf “boomer” retirements has created the most visible, urgent need to transfer such knowledge to the next generation. But knowledge is lost also during commonplace hiring and promotions, during acquisitions and layoffs, and when the workforce is dispersed globally. When essential expertise is not shared and retained, precious time and resources are wasted as successors relearn how to work with clients and stakeholders, how to problem-solve, how to keep operations running
smoothly, and how to innovate.
Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap first addressed this acute loss of knowledge in their groundbreaking book Deep Smarts (2005). Since then, managers have
repeatedly asked them for practical, proven techniques that will help transfer those deep smarts—the organization’s critical, experience-based knowledge—before it’s too late. Now, with coauthor Gavin Barton, the authors share a comprehensive approach to doing just that. The authors emphasize the implicit and tacit dimensions of expertise, which are often the most valuable yet also the most challenging to transfer. Whether you’ve got two weeks or two years to prevent critical knowledge from leaving your organization for good, this book has solutions.Dorothy shared that Critical Knowledge Transfer provides a variety of practical options for identifying your firm’s deep smarts and transferring that knowledge from experts to successors.

Add a comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Harvard Graduate School of Education