A couple of weeks ago I talked about tacit knowledge and how it is key due changing way experts will be deployed, and short fall in skilled workforce. This was driven home again this week, with the release of skill assessment by “Accenture 2014 Manufacturing Skills and Training Study” that showed some real truths to the situation in the USA.
The diagram below show the current split of jobs that Highly skilled to skilled to unskilled, then the second shows that percentage of the Highly skilled and skilled jobs will grow over the next 2 years.
This is in total contradiction to the next set of questions around how severe is the skill shortage in customers.
The take away is that we putting in more complex processes, and systems in order to compete in the “flat world” which requires increased skilled people, yet there is reducing capacity in skilled, and highly skilled talent, actually the pool is shrinking.
The study goes on to talk about training and the use of operator training systems, and the need for intuitive (self learning) systems. But my thoughts rang back to discussion on Tacit Knowledge and how critical it is to capture experience not in words, or videos, but in systems that enable actionable decisions (built on embedded captured operational experience). Examples are Embedded operational Procedures, simulation for the future, pattern recognition on conditions to see events before they happen, all new techniques just entering the operational systems.
Tacit knowledge is not easily shared. Although it is that which is used by all people, it is not necessarily able to be easily articulated. It consists of beliefs, ideals, values, schemata and mental models which are deeply ingrained in us and which we often take for granted. The key to acquiring tacit knowledge is experience. Without some form of shared experience, it is extremely difficult for people to share each other's thinking processes.
Tacit knowledge has been described as “know-how” – as opposed to “know-what” (facts), “know-why” (science), or “know-who” (networking). It involves learning and skill but not in a way that can be written down. On this account knowing-how or embodied knowledge is characteristic of the expert, who acts, makes judgments, and so forth without explicitly reflecting on the principles or rules involved. The expert works without having a theory of his or her work; he or she just performs skillfully without deliberation or focused attention. Apprentices, for example, work with their mentors and learn craftsmanship not through language but by observation, imitation, and practice.
The study goes on to provide examples of the impact of this shortage for a midsized $500m complaint to be $4.6m loss annually:
Food for thought!!! Tacit Knowledge must be captured in a form that new users can take actionable decisions in a reliable and effective way, through knowledge and experience moving from the experts to the systems in a sustainable approach that can evolve.