Information Glut, The Learning Organization & Zen

Tom Davenport had blogged about a information imbalance in the blogosphere sometime back.
He writes : “Most of us are pretty haphazard about what information we need and want to see. We click mindlessly through the blogosphere.”

I have been thinking about the implications of Information Glut on a typical decision making cycle within the enterprise. This in turn has an impact on how quickly organizations learn.
Most of the current conversations around the idea of Enterprise 2.0 seems to be focused on the adoption of blogs and wikis within organizations. However, as adoption of these socio-technical frameworks improves, findability and filtering of relevant content would need to improve as well.

A typical decision making cycle may have the following phases:

  1. Filter out/Find (machine intelligence+community filtering) relevant content and conversations
  2. Sensemaking – Connect,Collaborate and Adapt
  3. Act – Execute
  4. Step back & Reflect

From a “Collaborative KM” perspective content per se may not be sufficient to make a decision. The Sensemaking phase allows peers to connect and collaborate on the fly to make understand the original context and adapt it to new circumstances. This is followed by the Act phase and then the “Step Back & Reflect” phase. With a proliferation of content in Enterprise Blogospheres and Wikis the amount of time you spend on finding and/or filtering out content has to reduce significantly so that the enterprise can focus on the Sensemaking, Act, Step Back & Reflect phases. These are the phases where new knowledge is created and learning happens.

On a ligther note I enjoyed this Zen story that seems to suggest a solution to the information glut problem. Quoting from the story : “Son, I do not think you became a devotee of the Buddha because you desired to turn into a walking dictionary for others. There is no end to information and commentation, glory and honor. I wish you would stop this lecture business. Shut yourself up in a little temple in a remote part of the mountain. Devote your time to meditation and in this way attain true realization.” (Emphasis Mine)

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2 thoughts on “Information Glut, The Learning Organization & Zen

  1. Hello Dinesh,I found your blog via Bloglines.Interesting post. I like your 4 steps, though I wonder if it is really 3 where step one is part of Sensemaking?Anyhow, great thoughts on the new socio-technical wave in organizational learning.I will mention this at my blog. Please stop by!Regards,Terry

  2. I agree that we are facing the haystack syndrome..Too much data and less information and lesser and lesser of what we need.I have been part of Business Intelligence projects and we seem to realise that it is critical to know the questions even for the Analytics 2.0 🙂 to answer them well

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