FAQ

WHAT IS KNOWLEDGE HARVESTING?

Knowledge Harvesting is an interview-based approach for drawing out implicit knowledge from experts.

HOW DID KNOWLEDGE HARVESTING ORIGINATE?

In the mid-90s, Knowledge Harvesting The techniques were formalized as a result of conducting from one-on-one interviews with subject matter experts. After several applications were delivered in the market, corporate customers requested for custom applications. This led to the recognition that the actions necessary to produce the result (the software) were valuable in themselves.

WHAT COMPANIES HAVE IMPLEMENTED KNOWLEDGE HARVESTING?

Please refer to the list of Clients.

IN WHAT SITUATIONS IS KNOWLEDGE HARVESTING MOST EFFECTIVE?

Knowledge Harvesting has successfully been applied in thousands of sessions with top performers in all kinds of work. The “sweet spot” is uncovering deep hidden insights, “gut feel”, and intuitive knowledge that is typically used during difficult, complex or unpredictable problems. Examples:

  • Monitor the external environment and translate issues into action – look at competition, economic trends, political and regulatory issues, technology innovations, social and cultural changes.

  • Design ecosystems and enable new business models.

  • Develop new products or process innovations.

  • Repair, troubleshoot and diagnose faulty equipment.

  • Anticipate and proactively respond to critical operational issues.

  • Predict customer purchasing behavior, determine weaknesses of offerings, and identify new innovations that meet customer needs.

WHEN WORKING WITH A TOP PERFORMER, WHAT IS REALISTIC TO CAPTURE?

After selecting a critical knowledge area, it is realistic to draw out information about the expert’s mental model and to translate these vital personal processes into actionable guidance.

WHAT’S THE DURATION OF A KNOWLEDGE HARVESTING PROJECT?

Timelines vary according to these variables:

  • Is the expert available?

  • What is the nature and extent of existing documentation?

  • Are staff available to help gather documentation and to administer scheduling?

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHAT KNOWLEDGE TO HARVEST?

Each project has a step to ensure organizations holistically identify and prioritize critical knowledge.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IN KNOWLEDGE HARVESTING?

The use of information technology is most prominent during the packaging of harvested materials, preceding the translation of elicited knowledge into guidance and reform.

WHAT IS ELICITATION?

Elicitation sessions are collaborative person-to person events in which deep, implicit knowledge is articulated. Templates or any other IT-based resources are never as effective as having a live, curious person to guide the conversation.

WHAT MIGHT ALTER THE SCOPE OF KNOWLEDGE HARVESTING PROJECTS?

  • Is the focus well-defined or could it change?

  • What is the extent of existing documentation?

  • Are project participants easily identified and recruited or difficult to find and engage?

  • What is the cycle time of the target process?

  • What is the extent of startup work?

  • What is the extent of secondary sources of useful information?

  • What is the pace (timing of Knowledge Harvesting sessions)?

  • What is the relative emphasis on different types of knowledge and information?

  • What is the estimated lifetime of the produced knowledge assets (until some adaptation is warranted)?

  • What is the selected medium for packaging the expert’s insights and know-how?

IS THERE A LICENSING FEE FOR USING THE METHODOLOGY?

Yes. The Knowledge Harvesting Methodology is licensed and provides helpful information for staff who seek to learn the skills.

WILL EMPLOYEES IN OUR COMPANY BE TRAINED TO DO KNOWLEDGE HARVESTING?

Knowledge Harvesting believes strongly that in order for Knowledge Harvesting to be fully effective, it must be institutionalized. That means there are internal knowledge harvesting consultants who regularly practice the discipline. Knowledge Harvesting offers training, and mentoring as well as ongoing support and community tools for Knowledge Harvesting practitioners.

CAN ANYONE LEARN TO DO KNOWLEDGE HARVESTING?

Itʼs rare to find someone who can individually accomplish all activities associated with focus, find, elicit, organize, package, evaluate and adapt. Usually, an organization has a Knowledge Harvesting team and divides the labor based on strengths of team members.

BESIDES KNOWLEDGE HARVESTING, WHAT ALTERNATIVE MIGHT BE TRIED?

In our experience there are a number of ways organizations deal with knowledge loss resulting from retirements.

  • Traditional training

  • Job shadowing and mentoring

  • Ask the SME to “write down what you know”

  • Technology focused “fill up the database”

  • Communities of practice

  • Rehire the SMEs

HOW DOES KNOWLEDGE HARVESTING COMPARE TO ALTERNATIVES?

Knowledge Harvesting is a structured, results-driven process for capturing vital knowledge, including deep insights and cognitive processes. Our methodology ensures capture of Declarative, Procedural, Conditional, Social, and Integral Knowledge. Alternatives tend to focus only on declarative and procedural knowledge.

WHAT IS THE RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT OF KH PROJECTS?

Knowledge Harvesting projects typically yield a seven to sixteen-fold return on investment. A method for calculating return-on-investment of Knowledge Harvesting was created by Dan Fredericksen and Larry Wilson. In addition, two professors (from Wake Forest and Auburn University) reported on the return-on-investment potential of a variety of KH projects.

HOW HAVE LONG-TERM CLIENTS BENEFITED?

Long-term clients have improved their ability to improve.

 

© 2020, Knowledge Harvesting, Inc.