In his 1982 bestseller Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, author John Naisbitt famously wrote “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and studying at Cornell and Harvard, Naisbitt worked as a corporate executive, and served as Assistant Secretary of Education in the Kennedy administration at age 34. He studied and wrote extensively about China and about America’s transition into the 21st century. He forecasted the technology boom, and the global economy, but also envisioned that information would replace money as the emergent source of power in the New Age.
More than 30 years later, organizations both large and small, still struggle with how to translate information (or data) into knowledge that will improve business practices. Does the expression “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” come to mind? Even where very formal data collection efforts are in place (annual appraisals, quarterly reports, fiscal-year audits) they are often viewed as procedural rather than informative. Knowing how to process a wealth of qualitative or non-numerical data, and quantitative data (driven by numbers) is key in empowering your business to survive and thrive. How does your organization translate data into knowledge in order to:
- Lead strategically?
- Inform decision-making?
- Manage change?
- Improve processes and productivity?
- Lower costs or reduce waste?
- Increase effectiveness or efficiency?