Wednesday, April 06, 2016

some old drafts

What Is Knowledge?

He who receives an idea from me receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine receives light without darkening me.

Thomas Jefferson

Unlike capital and labour, knowledge strives to be a public good (or what economists call "non-rivalrous"). Once knowledge is discovered and made public, there is zero marginal cost to sharing it with more users. Secondly, the creator of knowledge finds it hard to prevent others from using it. Instruments such as trade secrets protection and patents, copyright, and trademarks provide the creator with some protection.

Know-why and know-who matters more than know-what

There are different kinds of knowledge that can usefully be distinguished. Know-what, or knowledge about facts, is nowadays diminishing in relevance. Know-why is knowledge about the natural world, society, and the human mind. Know-who refers to the world of social relations and is knowledge of who knows what and who can do what. Knowing key people is sometimes more important to innovation than knowing scientific principles. Know-where and know-when are becoming increasingly important in a flexible and dynamic economy. Know-how refers to skills, the ability to do things on a practical level.

Knowledge gained by experience is as important as formal education and training

The implication of the knowledge economy is that there is no alternative way to prosperity than to make learning and knowledge-creation of prime importance. There are different kinds of knowledge. "Tacit knowledge" is knowledge gained from experience, rather than that instilled by formal education and training. In the knowledge economy tacit knowledge is as important as formal, codified, structured and explicit knowledge.

According to New Growth economics a country's capacity to take advantage of the knowledge economy depends on how quickly it can become a "learning economy'. Learning means not only using new technologies to access global knowledge, it also means using them to communicate with other people about innovation. In the "learning economy" individuals, firms, and countries will be able to create wealth in proportion to their capacity to learn and share innovation (Foray and Lundvall, 1996; Lundvall and Johnson, 1994). Formal education, too, needs to become less about passing on information and focus more on teaching people how to learn.

Life long learning is vital for organisations and individuals

At the level of the organisation learning must be continuous. Organisational learning is the process by which organisations acquire tacit knowledge and experience. Such knowledge is unlikely to be available in codified form, so it cannot be acquired by formal education and training. Instead it requires a continuous cycle of discovery, dissemination, and the emergence of shared understandings. Successful firms are giving priority to the need to build a "learning capacity" within the organisation.

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