Inderscience Publishers

Enabling innovative thinking: fostering the art of knowledge crafting

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In the industrial revolution, the mechanical toolmakers became the most critical element in the economic chain of production. It was, after all, the toolmakers who made all the other factories possible. In the age of knowledge and high performance organisations, the toolmakers are those who generate the operating knowledge used in every other organisation. Software is probably the best example of a common knowledge tool. In a more general approach, the most important skill in the knowledge era is that of knowledge crafting. Much of what is happening within reengineering efforts results in knowledge taking a more prominent place in the structure and operation of the business. This can be both devaluing and enabling for workers. Some manage to migrate on to client-server platforms for example, while others may be let go. It is important for the organisation after the reengineering to develop a new organisational culture that can take advantage of the new power of knowledge. This paper proposes research into the development, deployment and utility of knowledge tools within organisations. Exploratory investigations indicate potential benefits from both a Human Resource perspective and the organisational leadership and strategy point of view. A model is proposed within which the importance of tool making can be understood. From the model, projections are made about current and future needs for knowledge tool making capability within organisations. Research interventions are proposed that would test the overall fit of the descriptive model as well as the usefulness of the knowledge tools used in the interventions for building knowledge crafting skills.

Keywords: knowledge crafting, knowledge management, concept mapping, meaningful learning, innovation cycles, tool making

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