Saturday, March 27, 2010

Knowledge and the DIKW Pyramid



I have just been reading the following post from HBR: The Problem with the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Hierarchy

This reminded me of one of my earlier posts on KM: Data, Information, Insight...A Fine Balance!

In that, I had mentioned what Luis Suarez says about knowledge and included a YouTube video by Nick Milton on data, information and knowledge.

I had arrived at the conclusion then that to make sense of data/information and translate that to knowledge, we need to ask the right questions--not the quantitative W's of Who, When, Where, and What but the two Qualitative W's of How and Why. And the context surrounding the information is of utmost importance, as the Japanese truly know.

What fine-tuned my understanding was the following paragraph from The Problem with the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Hierarchy:

But knowledge is not a result merely of filtering or algorithms. It results from a far more complex process that is social, goal-driven, contextual, and culturally-bound. We get to knowledge — especially "actionable" knowledge — by having desires and curiosity, through plotting and play, by being wrong more often than right, by talking with others and forming social bonds, by applying methods and then backing away from them, by calculation and serendipity, by rationality and intuition, by institutional processes and social roles. Most important in this regard, where the decisions are tough and knowledge is hard to come by, knowledge is not determined by information, for it is the knowing process that first decides which information is relevant, and how it is to be used.

(Highlight is mine)

The linear view of Data>Information>Knowledge>Decision Making Power was probably true of the Information Age. But it is no longer valid.

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