Monday, June 15, 2009

Definition ...

When making a presentation about the basic concepts of Knowledge Management, there are a few things i prefer to discuss before moving to the idea of Knowledge Management. One of these, is to try and make a distinction between the idea of Data, of Information, and Knowledge. I try to get the audience to come up with what they think each of these are, and what they think are the differences between these.

The other day, i was making a presentation to an audience, and this question came up. As usual, the distinction between Data and Information is quite well understood, but the distinction between Information and Knowledge is not so well. So, while there were a few thoughts which came about, there was one which was worth writing about:

Information is what we receive, and Knowledge is what we make of it.

This description, probably, sums up quite well the distinction between Information and Knowledge. It puts Knowledge at a point of internalization, where the information received is converted into Knowledge, by assimilating it into the mental models that the receiver has developed.

This also brings up a point that most KM initiatives are essentially Information related, while KM as a discipline needs to be more about Knowledge Facilitation, rather than Management.

Any thoughts on this, please feel free to comment.


Murali said...

Thanks for sharing this Atul.
It nicely brings back "context" into the equation, which I think has been neglected with conduit models and most content management solutions.

I have been using the analogy of a dictionary to make people understand the distinction in KM assimilations. Levels Jumbled Words>structured with meanings>making a joke>actually being able to laugh on a joke.

my 2 cents...


Atul said...

thats a nice example to use, Murali. the example i take is that if you see from a report that there has been 20% growth, thats information, but whether 20% is good, great, or outright stupendous, is knowledge.