Lost Knowledge & How To Prevent It in Your Organization

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There is a subtlety to soft resources that can make them hard to perceive by even the most skilled professionals. It is especially true when discussing knowledge, a softer resource than perhaps any other. So what happens when that softest of resources is lost?

Today we’re going to discuss lost knowledge, how to spot it, and how to prevent it. Use this information and incorporate it into your workplace to prevent a hemorrhaging of knowledge or stop one already underway.

What AreLost KnowledgeandKnowledge Management?

“Lost knowledge” refers to experience, skills, and other forms of wisdom that were once in circulation in an organization and now are not.

Knowledge management can offset these losses. This strategy refers to how professionals in an organization attempt to stymie knowledge loss over time.

There are very real occurrences of knowledge loss in any organization, be it a school, a publicly-traded company, or even a religious nonprofit. Understanding such loss affects a business’s knowledge management cost can be a tremendous help to any professional, especially one who dreams of climbing the hierarchical ladder of their place of employment.

Understanding how knowledge circulates in an organization is essential to preserving it. Preemptively readying yourself for threats to experience, skills, and other fonts of information in your organization can easily save you from threats to opportunitiesand the loss of professional workers and undermarketed skillsets.

For-profit businesses face a heightened risk. Mismanaged and lost wisdom can constitute threats to revenue streams, including losing customers or missing out on chances to expand a business.

How to Spot Endangered Wisdom

To spot endangered wisdom and information in circulation in your organization, begin by assessing your workforce. The two most easily recognizable bodies of information will constitute “tacit” and “explicit” knowledge.

“Tacit” wisdom usually refers to ideas and wisdom that one cannot often capture through the codification of things like day-to-day operations in a business. On the other hand, “explicit” insights are easy to quantify and copy down, even if people have not taken the initiative to do so.

The loss of both kinds of knowledge can be devastating to a business, though organizations can fairly easily address and capture “explicit knowledge.” Regardless, a thorough examination of one’s organization can prevent overlooking tacit and explicit forms.

How to Capture and Protect Wisdom

After reading all of this, one may wonder how to codify and protect their most precious resource. Some insights are more straightforward than others to capture and codify. A knowledge management task force can interview employees or take more proactive and aggressive methods of containment, protection, and archiving.

There is no universally successful method to capture this elusive resource. Still, you can harness the insights of employees by encouraging them to teach their peers their methods, share their experiences, and aid you in ensuring the success of your workforce.

Even merely communicating the desire to contain and reproduce one’s insights can incite excitement and empathy within the workforce. The power of communication is key to gleaning everything possible from the insights of your workforce.


Wisdom, experience, and insight are a business’s most valuable resources. The right intelligence and insights can change and protect a business, organization, or collective. Help your business succeed even generations from now by protecting its soft and hard resources.

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