Knowledge management systems must take into account:

1. The three types of knowledge available

2. Impact of the 4th dimension

3. Categorized by how the knowledge can contribute to problem solving situations that require innovation

For Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) initiatives to grow, KMS needs to compete for resources with other enterprise initiatives. The most assured way to successfully compete for resources is to demonstrate KMS initiatives have made a significant contribution to an improved ROI. should be seen both as a cost avoidance process and a revenue producer that leaves a trail marked by an improved ROI. Analytics results deliver a 3 dimensional view of the available knowledge, which serves as a reference to help assess current alternatives. Analytics opens the door to innovation – a necessary step to toward the 4th Dimension. The net is, Analytics is Boolean on steroids and provides a road-map to the 4th Dimension. Preparing for the 4th Dimension starts by understanding the difference between the 3rd and 4th Dimensions.


  1. 3-D time is a charged, Reactionary Present-Time, 4-D time is the Eternal Present-Time
    In 4-D the past is simply history without emotional charge and the future is an opportunity waiting to be fashioned in the now moment, through choice. Yesterday has no bearing on tomorrow. The eternal present is all there is. We can plan for a future event using information gathered from the past, but decisions are conscious choices that are made in the present moment. What we think is what we will experience in the moment. There is no lag-time in 4-D. What you think about will manifest so be mindful of what you think!
  2. Choice: In the fourth dimension, choice-replaces-reaction
    Reaction is an emotional 3-D response, whereas choice provides flexibility. Flexibility creates expanded opportunity and a greater ability to combine possibilities to produce a variety of outcomes. In the fourth dimension you take back your power to choose.
  3. Paradox: In 4-D the past and future become points of reference for information and have no emotional attachments. What was true a moment ago is not necessarily true in this present moment and what was false may not necessarily be false any longer. This opens up more possibilities to experience, releases judgments, and increases our ability to allow.
  4. Alignment/Balance: In the fourth dimension we are constantly moving towards balance and re-alignment. This structure is very open, entertaining and allowing of all possibilities. Well-being, Beauty, the Inner Smile, Appreciation, and Love are options in 4-D. Whereas, Fear is a choice which will place us back in 3-D reaction and limitation.”

Analytics and Knowledge products should be defined by the benefits provided to the user and the ROI contribution of these products to the enterprise.   My definition of Analytics is support process that is necessary for increasing the productivity’s quantity and quality, and that of the individuals who use the process.  The people who developed and use analytics processes need to be held accountable for demonstrating an increase in quantity and quality of their work products.

Following is a presentation of an overview of the three most commonly recognized knowledge categories. This overview is followed by comments how these three knowledge categories (KMS) can be used to significantly increase today’s productivity and help to start the move from a 3rd Dimensional view of the present to a 4th Dimension view.  Reference blog

Explicit Knowledge
This type of knowledge is well documented and accepted as creditable.  Explicit knowledge is the bases for the development of SOP (standard operating procedures) to achieve today’s goals/responsibilities by identify and completing their associated tasks.

Routine tasks are the easiest to manage because: 1. The numbers of these tasks are highly predictable as is the time required to complete.  2. No decisions need to be made and therefore 3. Routine task present a target for automation thus cost reduction, faster response, efficient tracking and record keeping.

Routine tasks are a high-value target for increasing ROI thru automation.  4. Explicit Knowledge is also easiest to manage as long as the associated knowledge base is consistently edited to reflect newly acquired explicit knowledge.

Redirecting routine task requiring significant manual effort to automation creates an opportunity for seasoned and tested employees to demonstrate their ability to grow the scope of their responsibilities.  These seasoned and tested employees have acquired additional kind of knowledge that is often referred to as Tacit Knowledge.  Which leads to offering a description of the next type of knowledge.

Tacit Knowledge
This type of knowledge is acquired by the individual’s life experiences, personal and work related.  Thus Tacit Knowledge is hard for others to define and evaluate based on a resume or interview.  Tacit Knowledge is more often implied but not expressed.

Tacit knowledge is also regarded as being the most valuable source of knowledge, and the most likely to lead to breakthroughs in the organization (Wellman 2009). Gamble & Blackwell (2001) link the lack of focus on tacit knowledge directly to the reduced capability for innovation and sustained competitiveness. 

Tacit Knowledge is part of the individual’s personal development.  Tacit Knowledge is exhibited by in individual’s actions, level of involvement and demonstrated in the person’s reaction to new environments and opportunities.

While hard to evaluate based upon a resume, Tacit Knowledge is much easier to evaluate in an existing employee who is also candidate for reassignment.  Which takes us to the last type of knowledge explored in this overview, Embedded Knowledge.

This type of knowledge was originally defined by Polanyi in 1966. It is sometimes referred to as know-how (Brown & Duguid 1998) and

An IT system relies on codification, which is something that is difficult/impossible for the tacit knowledge holder.

Using a reference by Polanyi (1966), imagine trying to write an article that would accurately convey how one reads facial expressions. It should be quite apparent that it would be near impossible to convey our intuitive understanding gathered from years of experience and practice. Virtually all practitioners rely on this type of knowledge. An IT specialist for example will troubleshoot a problem based on his experience and intuition. It would be very difficult for him to codify his knowledge into a document that could convey his know-how to a beginner. This is one reason why experience in a particular field is so highly regarded in the job market.

The exact extent to which IT systems can aid in the transfer and enhancement of tacit knowledge is a rather complicated discussion. For now, suffice it to say that successful KM initiatives must place a very strong emphasis on the tacit dimension, focusing primarily on the people involved, and they must understand the limitations imposed by computerized systems.

Tacit knowledge is found in: the minds of human stakeholders. It includes cultural beliefs, values, attitudes, mental models, etc. as well as skills, capabilities and expertise (Botha et al 2008). On this site, I will generally limit tacit knowledge-to-knowledge embodied in people, and refer separately to embedded knowledge (as defined below), whenever making this distinction is relevant.

Embedded Knowledge
Embedded knowledge refers to knowledge that is locked in processes, products, culture, routines, artifacts, or structures (Horvath 2000, Gamble & Blackwell 2001). Knowledge that is formally embedded, such management initiative to formalize a certain beneficial routine, or informally as the organization uses and applies the other two knowledge types.

“The challenges in managing Embedded Knowledge vary considerably and will often differ from Tacit Knowledge.  Culture and existing routines can be both difficult to understand and hard to change.”  Usually this difficulty can be attributed to the actions & reactions of the guardians of the status quo and their partners who are in the firm grip of apathy and their desire for job security.

Typically IT has had difficulty in adding Embedded Knowledge to their existing KM System. Due to the difficulty in effectively managing embedded knowledge, firms that succeed may enjoy a significant competitive advantage.”

However, IT’s reputation as a disruptive influence is usually expected and gurglingly accepted.   IT’s cooperation and influence can be used to assure that KMS initiatives will receive the necessary cooperation from other stakeholders

Embedded knowledge is found in: rules, processes, manuals, organizational culture, codes of conduct, ethics, products, etc. It is important to note, that while embedded knowledge can exist in explicit sources (i.e. a rule can be written in a manual), the knowledge itself is not explicit, i.e. it is not immediately apparent why doing something this way is beneficial to the organization.

As an example  – 24-hour retail operation requires that the previous day’s cash receipts must be balanced and accounted for within 30 minutes of the close of the previous day’s business.  The business day runs from 6am the previous day to 6am of the current day – 1st shift runs from 6am to 2pm, 2nd runs 2pm to 10pm and 3rd shift form 10pm to 6am of the following day.  Why the rush to complete the deposit in the 30 minutes?

This picture shows that yesterday’s deposit is not completed until almost 1.5 hours after close of yesterday’s business.  This gives the employee’s access to 1.5 hours of today’s cash receipts to cover yesterday’s shortages.

Reference notes below this line.

Many theoreticians regard explicit knowledge as being less important (e.g. Brown & Duguid 1991, Cook & Brown 1999, Bukowitz & Williams 1999, etc.). It is considered simpler in nature and cannot contain the rich experience based know-how that can generate lasting competitive advantage.

Although this is changing to some limited degree, KM initiatives driven by technology have often had the flaw of focusing almost exclusively on this type of knowledge. As discussed previously, in fields such as IT there is often a lack of a more sophisticated definition. This has therefore created many products labeled as KM systems, which in actual fact are/were nothing more than information and explicit knowledge management software.

Explicit knowledge is found in: databases, memos, notes, documents, etc. (Botha et al. 2008)