Read, Watch, & Discuss:

We have used inductive and deductive reasoning and feedback from others to surface tacit knowledge. This week, you will learn about and next week you will practice another strategy – Generative Knowledge Interviewing (GKI). If you like to talk through your ideas or you have found that you often discover what you want to say when you bounce your ideas off of others, GKI may be a particularly useful method for you.

To make the most of a GKI, focus on these three things:

1. Practicing Generative Listening: The generative listening you will practice next week differs from the problem-solving and empathic listening most of us are more used to engaging in.

Problem-solving listening is motivated by our desire to help others. Even when we aren’t asked, we often start offering ideas and possible solutions when someone describes a challenge or problem to us. We want to help.

Similarly, empathic listening comes out of our natural human desire to connect with others – to say “I know what you are talking about – I understand.” And, it often leads to a trading of stories that can strengthen bonds between people.

However, in generative listening, your job is to keep your ideas, solutions and similar experiences out of the way so that the focus stays on helping the interviewee explore their own experiences. Your goal is to engage in “radical curiosity” so that you can help the interviewee uncover and articulate their own learning.

2. Asking Embodied Questions: Embodied questions are questions about what the experience was like in the moment it happened and as the individual experienced it in that specific place and time. They include questions about what the individual experienced through his or her sense in the moment (what did you see, hear, feel, taste, smell?) and questions about challenges and moments of insight or “ah-ha” moments that happened during the experience.

3. Unpacking Common Words and Expressions: When we describe an experience for the first time, we often rely upon a sort of short hand – it was “interesting,” “boring” or “fun.” We might say that we “helped out,” “led the group,” or “learned a lot.”

The problem is that listeners do not really know much about the experience and what we learned when we use these generic expressions. While we think we know what we mean, it often turns out that when people push us, we discover that we are a little fuzzy in our own heads as well.

That is why it helps to have someone else ask you questions that push you to say what exactly do you mean by “interesting” and “why and how was it interesting?” and “what happened first and then next to make it interesting?” As you start to answer these questions, you begin to surface your tacit knowledge.

Watch Generative Knowledge: Uncovering Hidden Strengths, Purpose & Intelligence by Melissa Peet (TEDxUCO) (17 minutes) in which Dr. Peet describes how and why she developed this technique.

🐝 Buzz / Think-Pair-Share

Then, write down your answers to the following questions:

  1. What was most interesting, surprising, or confusing to you?
  2. How do you think of embodied knowledge?
  3. How is the kind of listening she describes similar to and or different from what you have experienced?

Share your responses with a partner, and then with the group.

Dig Deeper: If you want to learn more about Melissa Peet’s work, see The Generative Knowledge Institute.

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