A Knowledge Gap is something you need to know. It may be something you need to know in order to close a Key Decision, something needed to deliver on a feature or performance gain, or something necessary to ensure that the product is safe and reliable enough.
Teams always have more Knowledge Gaps than they can close. Much of the “art” of leading a Rapid Learning Cycles program is learning to prioritize — which Knowledge Gaps to close early, which ones to defer and which ones to consciously leave open.
By definition, every Key Decision has at least one Knowledge Gap to close before the decision can be made. When the team creates the first-pass list of Knowledge Gaps, they turn to their map of Key Decisions to identify the Knowledge Gaps related to those decisions. Then the team goes further out to look for other Knowledge Gaps, some of which may take precedence over Knowledge Gaps related to Key Decisions.
The team’s first list of Knowledge Gaps will probably be long and overwhelming. The team will immediately whittle the list down to something manageable by establishing priorities. Teams can move into learning a lot faster if they work together to establish the Knowledge Gaps they will close first.
Learn more from Katherine Radeka:
Knowledge Gaps: The “Known Unknowns” In Your Innovation Program
Three Types of Knowledge Gaps to Close Learning Activities to Establish Facts, Develop Alternatives and Find Limits
About the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework
The Rapid Learning Cycles framework accelerates innovation by helping teams make decisions at the right time with the right people and the best available knowledge. The framework was developed by Katherine Radeka and first fully explained in her book, The Shortest Distance Between You and Your New Product: How Innovators Use RLCs to Get Their Best Ideas to Market Faster. You can learn more about the framework at the Rapid Learning Cycles Institute.