Viva vision #8 Capturing priceless tacit knowledge & making it discoverable in Viva Topics


This person knows their knowledge on a project will be lost when they leave next month after 5 years of dedicated service; this was making them sad. However, they are now a Topic Centre Champion and their knowledge is easy to find by others. When they find the name of this persons project; hover over the word and a “topic card” pops up with useful content.

Open Viva visions

I love the “knowledge iceberg” metaphor. I blogged about this a few years ago in relation to Yammer; how the product helps differentiate and cut through “explicit” and “tacit” knowledge sparking serendipitous conversations!

You what?”

Here’s an update taking in the Viva suite; enables curating priceless tacit knowledge that we all have, that can become explicit knowledge once you share it with collaboration features. Then discoverable, going forward in Viva Topics!

EXPLICIT KNOWLEDGE is expressed and recorded as words, numbers, codes, scientific formulae, and musical notations. Easy to communicate, store, distribute and found in books and on the internet. At work explicit knowledge is the tip of the knowledge iceberg found in emails and file shares. Also on the Intranet as primarily a one-way push of company information.TACIT KNOWLEDGE is unwritten, unspoken, and a vast hidden database of knowledge held by humans based on emotions, experiences and observations. Acquired through collaboration with other people and shared activities.

Viva is intended to improve the employee experience from the moment staff are hired to the moment they leave.

And, everyone is expected to create formal documentation at work from time to time. This is explicit knowledge, but we also need to spend time nurturing collaboration networks, sharing, supporting each other; and perhaps innovating too.

Our digital wellbeing needs to also be considered in our new hybrid workplace and these continued uncertain times. We need to take time out to relax from work. We can now find support in Personal Insights with virtual commute, shorter meetings with appropriate breaks, daily briefing emails from Outlook, focus time, headspace meditation and quiet hours/days.

This allows the brain time to relax and perhaps even spark ideas; we can quickly share in conversations from our own devices, as if sitting together in the office – but actually sharing our thoughts, ideas and expertise perhaps in Yammer or Topics. I’ve had my best bursts of creativity walking the dogs. All examples of tacit knowledge!

Here’s a customer story using Viva Topics, from staff at Northumbrian Water who can now identify assets, construction projects, and even processes for the work they do, without leaving the applications they’re in or running a massive search query, whilst working in the field.

MVP, Joel Olsen published his “iceberg of knowledge” infographic comparing SfB and contrasting Teams.

So, consider Working Out Loud and sharing your work with a view others might find it helpful; and others might help you improve your work!

Teams features with the SharePoint backend is the place to store our explicit knowledge. There are now so many more quick ways to share priceless tacit knowledge that then becomes discoverable explicit knowledge – found by hovering over an unusual word or acronym.

  • Channel Conversations in the “main arena” is Teams equivalent to Yammer, the difference here is conversations are often focused on a file uploaded into Teams. Those uploaded files are actually stored behind the scenes in good old SharePoint with “one version of the truth” and co-authoring.
  • Chat in Teams Meetings captures vital tacit knowledge shared in the moment and allows questions to be raised as participants are presenting and saved for a period of time to refer back to via the meeting in your calendar.
  • Checkout Merethe Staves blog: Channel It!
  • And we have …
  • Whiteboard can be shared for meeting brainstorming with sticky notes and coloured pens and shared as a link after the meeting
  • OneNote can be added into a Channel Tab as a collaborative meeting or project notebook.
  • Planner can be added into a Change Tab as a lightweight collaborative task tracker.
  • A picture paints a thousand words with instant silly emojis, stickers, gifs and memes encouraging “work-life” balance.

Tacit knowledge also fits, of course, into Viva Learning as builds on the collection of life’s experiences, education and training that resides outside conscious awareness. It’s the knowledge one possesses that helps tap into intuition, a vital component to making high-stress, high-consequence, and split second decisions. As you go through life you purposefully acquire a lot of information.


Visit Santa’s Grotto at Microsoft Cloud Accelerator Workshops!


Follow my Viva visions

03 Dec: Cloud Conversations Podcast: My productive and satisfying day in Viva on Teams..
08 Dec: M365 UK User Group: A Viva Visionary chats with a Viva Realist (Sara Fennah, MVP)
08 Dec: Yammer Community Festival: Looking forward to catching up with old and new Yammer fans and hearing great success stories
25 Feb: Scottish Summit: MVP’s – Kevin McDonnell, Zoe Wilson, Ana Ines, Sara Fennah, the Viva Visionary and more!

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