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Conversational knowledge: What it is and unleashing digital conversations


In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, knowledge is a valuable asset that drives innovation, decision-making, and organizational success. Traditionally, knowledge has been captured through formal documentation and structured systems. However, there is a growing recognition of the importance of conversational knowledge.

In this blog:

Wasted time in Yammer or MS Teams conversations 

How much time have you wasted scrolling up and down a Yammer conversation or MS Teams chat after you’ve done a text search to understand the context, realizing just how annoying all those GIF’s, images and humorous comments are now that you are trying to find something useful?

In this blog post, we will explore what conversational knowledge is in the context of digital tools like Yammer and MS Teams, why it is important, and how organizations can effectively capture and harness it.

Understanding conversational knowledge

Conversational knowledge refers to the insights, expertise, and tacit information exchanged through informal conversations, discussions, and interactions among individuals. It encompasses the rich context, nuances, and practical wisdom that is often not captured in formal documents or databases. Conversational knowledge thrives in the day-to-day conversations both digitally and face-to-face, and where ideas are shared, experiences are discussed, and insights are gained.

The importance of conversational knowledge

  1. Rapid knowledge exchange: Conversations enable the rapid exchange of knowledge, allowing individuals to learn from each other's experiences, successes, and failures. This facilitates a continuous learning culture within organizations, accelerating problem-solving, innovation, and personal growth.
  2. Tacit knowledge transfer: Conversational knowledge often involves the transfer of tacit knowledge, which is deeply rooted in an individual's expertise, intuition, and know-how. This tacit knowledge is challenging to capture through traditional documentation methods but is crucial for developing expertise, making informed decisions, and driving organizational performance.
  3. Contextual understanding: Conversations provide a rich context for knowledge sharing. They allow individuals to explore diverse perspectives, ask questions, clarify uncertainties, and gain a deeper understanding of complex topics. This contextual understanding helps in making better-informed decisions and fostering creativity and critical thinking.
  4. Collaboration and trust building: Conversational knowledge fosters collaboration, as it encourages open dialogue, active listening, and shared problem-solving. When individuals engage in meaningful conversations, trust is built, relationships are strengthened, and collective intelligence is harnessed for greater organizational success.

Benefits of conversational knowledge can also be its greatest weakness

The benefits of conversation in developing organizational knowledge can also be its greatest weakness when wanting to share knowledge from Yammer or MS Teams wider.

A better search or including the content as part of an enterprise search may help but doesn’t address the fundamental issue – conversations don’t make great knowledge articles. The expression 'the right tool for the right job' comes to mind.

If the knowledge remains in the conversational thread, then it is down to people remembering when they had that conversation, searching and reanalyzing the conversation to get the relevant points.

Capturing conversational knowledge

Looking to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to resolve this problem still requires people to ask and correctly word their prompt.

If everyone is doing this, then is that more efficient and cost effective (how much is the compute costing you) to deliver? Can you be confident that the responses are providing the same right answers? Not all the conversation is going to be ‘right’ and how many similar conversations have been had?

So, what’s the solution? This isn’t a new problem, ticket management (incident/issue/request) systems have always had this dilemma. Likewise, the same problem exists with emails holding knowledge sitting in individuals Inboxes. At least in Yammer it doesn’t become a problem when a person leaves.

There comes a point where creating a knowledge landing page for a specific topic of interest and linking it to the conversation is better than having everyone repeating the same searching and trawl exercise. When that ‘point’ is, is hard to define, but as a consensus starts to form then it is time to consider how valuable this new bit of knowledge is for the organization.

With the right solution in place, then the creation of a new knowledge page that is easily findable (both by search and navigation) can be done quickly and is further enriched with the metadata from your taxonomy. This makes it easier to locate and associate to other related content as well.

Search Screens completeAtlas Intelligent Knowledge Platform

ClearPeople’s Atlas simplifies the process of creating new easily findable knowledge pages tagged with the right metadata in your M365 tenancy, bringing the content closer to those who are using it and within context of the work they are doing and collaborating on. 

Pages can also be templated for a consistent look and feel. A great simple user experience helps people digest the content quicker. This means anyone who wasn’t involved in the conversation can now get access to the same curated knowledge, without having to read the conversation that created it.

If you still want AI to help, then why not use it to assist in creating the page, acknowledging you will still need to validate and check its citations (where did it get the information from and is the source reliable and/or the best expert for this information).  

Conversational knowledge summary

In summary, conversational knowledge represents a powerful resource within organizations, enabling rapid knowledge exchange, tacit knowledge transfer, and contextual understanding. By embracing and capturing conversational knowledge, organizations can harness the collective wisdom of their workforce, drive innovation, enhance decision-making, and foster a culture of continuous learning and collaboration. Invest in the necessary tools, promote a learning culture, and create platforms for meaningful conversations, and you will unlock the tremendous potential of conversational knowledge within your organization.  


Knowledge Management blogs, e-books and other resources

For those eager to explore further, a plethora of knowledge management blogs and ebooks are available, providing deeper insights and strategies tailored to various industries. Embracing KM is not just about keeping pace with the digital world; it's about leading the charge in innovation and efficiency.

Knowledge management blogs

e-books and other resources

Knowledge Management eBook


A comprehensive guide to knowledge from creation to application. 

  • Introduction to knowledge and useful terms
  • Knowledge management challenges and how to overcome them
  • Measuring and sustaining progress
  • What it takes to create high performing knowledge teams

Download the eBook now. 


Author bio

Grant Newton

Grant Newton

Grant is an outcome-focused delivery professional. He has a track record of embedding enduring capabilities through new technologies and processes across a range of organisations. There is nothing Grant enjoys more than seeing happy customers and business value happen together through the changes introduced.

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