Information vs Knowledge: A Shift In Perspective
Knowledge Centered Support requires teamwork and a huge shift in perspective. Knowledge needs to be considered and treated as an asset, an asset that is owned and maintained by teams, not individuals. It’s about collective knowledge, not just individual customer issues. It’s also about improving organisational learning which can require major transformation for some organisations.
This transformation starts with understanding the attributes of knowledge.
Action Not Words
There are many different definitions for knowledge and all are valid, but the Consortium For Service Innovation felt they should clarify the meaning of knowledge in the context of data, information, and knowledge.
So what distinguishes data from information? Well, Data is just numbers or words, while information is organized numbers or words. Organising data into information gives it some meaning.
OK, then what distinguishes knowledge from information? Well, knowledge is information upon which I can act. Knowledge has an action associated with it; it’s a verb, we can do something with it.
So the definition the Consortium found helpful is “information upon which I can act” and it’s this definition that will be used throughout this series of articles on KCS.
Knowledge is information upon which I can act on.
KCS seeks to capture the collective experience of the organization in ways that others can use ‘use’ or ‘act on’ being the key point.
Now agreeing to this definition allows us to identify and pinpoint the attributes of knowledge.
The Attributes Of Knowledge
Recognizing information that I can act on or use, depends on experience and the context. That is, I may already know some things that complement the information to make it actionable. So information that is actionable to you may not be actionable to me. You see, we all bring something to the knowledge party.
Now this introduces an uncomfortable ambiguity about knowledge, and that is, that knowledge to me might not be knowledge to you. So in essence Knowledge is not an absolute!
Office Worker vs Farmer
For example; the long-range weather forecast for an office worker in their state or province may be considered interesting information but that’s all. Now That same weather forecast for a for a farmer working the land is actionable and the farmer will use this information to make decisions and take actions to maximize the yield and quality of his harvest.
So, What is knowledge to some is only information to others.
This means that what we have in our knowledge base is really only potential knowledgebecause the usefulness of that information really depends on the context, experience and need of the person looking at it.
This means that information becomes knowledge in the moment of use. It is no wonder people pause when asked to define knowledge; its rather quite abstract.
Information becomes knowledge in the moment of use.
As shown in KCS Version 5.3 Knowledge-Centered Support Practices Guide (2012) S1[3.4-10]KCS v5.3 was written and edited by KCS v5.3 was written and edited by Melissa George, David Kay,Greg Oxton, Rick Joslin, Jennifer MacIntosh, and Kelly Murray.
The entire suite of KCS topics are available in one location for FREE via my KCS video book/training course. These are designed to guide interested people through the entire KCS concepts and practices, as well as provide evidence of understanding for those involved in a Knowledge Centered Support program of work or implementation. All you need to is register!