Wiggle Chips

The Knowledge Gap

Let me tell you an amusing little story to illustrate a point about a thing I’m calling the Knowledge Gap.

Most mornings I leave for work quite early while my wife gets our kids ready for school. She makes them breakfast and packs a lunch for them to take to school. It’s typically a healthy lunch with one “cheat” snack.

The “cheat snack” is often one of those tiny bags of potato chips that has 8-10 chips in it. Pretty harmless.

While my wife preps the kids for school in the morning, my role is to get home as early as possible after work to take care of the kids while their mother works later into the afternoon or early evening.

After school I like to help them with their school homework, do some kitchen cleanup, and then prep and eat dinner with the kids.

Part of the routine I’ve developed with the kids is that they are taking on increasing responsibility for things at home.

An example of this is that they are required to empty their own lunch bags when they get home.

And they typically do. Usually after I’ve reminded them. Regardless, they now do it.

Starting awhile ago I remember hearing them ask, “what do I do with this little bag of potato chips?”

Without a second thought I just said, “put it back in the pantry in the big box of potato chips.”

After a few days of this, I asked them, “Why didn’t you eat the bag of potato chips that was in your lunch? There are literally 8 chips in that bag and, who doesn’t love potato chips!”

Their answer surprised me. “We don’t like chips.”

Thinking to myself, are these really my kids? How is it possible that any kid of mine doesn’t like potato chips?!

Instead of getting judgy about them not liking potato chips, I asked them, “have you told your mom you don’t like chips? Then she won’t pack them in your lunch.”


This is what I call the “Knowledge Gap”.

One part of the “organization” – in this case me – knows a key piece of information that another part of the organization would benefit from knowing. But the information is not getting from the person unpacking the lunch bag after school to the person who packs it in morning.

The Knowledge Gap.

Have you got a knowledge gap in your workplace? A disconnect between the designers and the end users?

What are you doing about it?