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Consortium for Service Innovation


Attributes of Knowledge 

Knowledge is information that people can use to make decisions or take action.  What’s knowledge to one person may not be knowledge to another, because different people have different abilities and responsibilities--a medical journal article may be useful to a doctor, but confusing or misleading to her patient.  Knowledge is most often gained through interaction and experience.  As we acquire more experience, we augment, refine, and correct our knowledge.  Therefore, our knowledge continually evolves, although it never is perfect or truly complete.  We all know our individual knowledge is power.  But a group’s shared knowledge is even more powerful--the “smartest person in the room” is all of us together.  For more about knowledge, see the KCS Practices Guide.


We use the term “service” in its broadest and most generic form.  Service is the business of helping others be successful and productive in their endeavors. In the process of getting work done, there is network of interactions: “requester - responder” or “customer - supplier” relationships. These interactions happen within and across all business functions. The interactions are not bounded by company boundaries or individual roles; they happen between companies, customers, and partners across all information-intensive industries and institutions.

Principles and Core Concepts

A principle is a deep or fundamental belief:

  • A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning
  • A moral rule or belief that helps you know what is right and what is wrong and influences your actions

KCS principles apply to multiple practices: principles are the basis for, and manifest themselves in, multiple practices.  Principles don’t tell you how to do something, they tell you why we are doing what we do.

A core concept is based on one or more principles. Core concepts are more specific and more numerous than the principles.

A Practice

The KCS Practices organize what we need to do. The Practices are the application or use of the principles and core concepts in organizing the activities.

  • Practices help us organize the techniques (how)
  • Practice include examples of how to do things (like implementing a balanced scorecard or value footprint) that are applicable across multiple techniques or functions, ie. tech support, HR, financial services.
  • Practices are made up of a definition and techniques. Techniques are details of the Practices that can often be accomplished in many different ways. 

A Technique

Techniques describe activities or how we do things, details on what we need to do (actions, implementable)

  • A skillful or efficient way of doing or achieving something
  • A more granular level of detail than a Practice
  • A collection of techniques make up a Practice


  • Knowledge -  information upon which we can act. Knowledge is the by-product of an interaction.
  • Content - knowledge that is captured and findable. Knowledge content may be in the form of text, pictures, animation, audio or multi-media (video with audio)
  • Network - the collection of people and content who would benefit from interaction and shared experiences, not limited by any artificial boundaries or structure like role, department, division, or company. Intended to include all relevant people and content in the domain including employees, partners, customers and others.
  • Issue - a question, problem, exception. The motivation for people to interact.
  • Knowledge worker - people whose responsibilities include the use of information to make decisions and take action
  • Requestor - a knowledge worker who is seeking knowledge
  • Responder - a knowledge worker offering knowledge


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