Research Summary

(formerly Leonard-Barton) Creating and Exploiting Knowledge-Based Assets

by Dorothy A. Leonard


For the past decade, Dorothy Leonard's research has focused on how companies develop and exploit strategically advantageous knowledge assets. In her 1995 book Wellsprings of Knowledge (HBS Press), she identified and described in depth, activities that create and channel technological knowledge to invent, import, integrate and commercialize technology. The book Deep Smarts, published in 2005 (HBP), focused on the business-critical, experience-based knowledge that underlies both current operations and future innovation.  In 2014, she and co-authors Walter Swap and Gavin Barton provided a practical guidebook for managers (Critical Knowledge Transfer) on how to nurture and preserve deep smarts.  She continues to research how this type of expertise can be identified and transferred to less experienced personnel—especially its tacit dimensions.