all bits considered data to information to knowledge


A glimpse of future: Just-In-Time Information

Ever-shrinking attention span of the younger generation gets quite a bit of attention (pun intended) from the researchers and educators (e.g. "How Social Media Is Ruining Our Lives" - over the course of the last ten years the average attention span has dropped from 12 minutes to a staggeringly short 5 minutes )

Yet I wonder. Maybe we do not need long attention span in the era of informational deluge pouring through smartphones, tablets and laptops? The pervasive nature of internet is changing the way we collect and process information. No longer do we need to own information, we only need to know where/how to find it, and how to connect it with other bits we've already found.

Memorizing information was the staple of a rote learning for centuries - people traveled to read a copy of the book in particular library or listen to particular lecture; movable type and audio/video recording changed this - books/records/movies become more readily available, in a library or purchased from a bookstore. As time passed, books became ever more affordable - but they still were self contained: the information in a book/magazine/movie was distilled and structured to provide all the components needed. With the advent of Internet and electronic media this began to change - it became possible to transform raw data into information just in time. And the premium is not on ownership but on speed of finding and processing the data, ability to evaluate and integrate it on-the-fly, and - what's the word- the critical thinking.


Evolutionary Best Practices

“Best practices” are the proverbial wheel. You know - the one that does not need to be re-invented… The Wikipedia article defines best practice as “ a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark.” It has been recognized as “management practice” and even made into ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 standards.

Yet they do have a shelf life, and stale “best practices” is nobody’s idea of efficiency. The very same Wikipedia article adds that 'a "best" practice can evolve to become better as improvements are discovered.'

An evolutionary metaphor seems to be apt for a definition of “best practices” - in order for the species to adapt to changing environments they must evolve, in order for species to be recognized as such they must preserve their distinct genetic makeup for some reasonably prolonged period of time.

The trick, as usual, is to recognize the right time to embrace the change, or to reject is. In natural evolution, as in the business environment, the right turn at the wrong moment is just as deadly as wrong turn at the right moment - both would result in particular species (uhm… businesses) being sent to the fossil beds.