Once upon a time, rudimentary knowledge management – capture knowledge and store it electronically or physically – was good enough. These were the days before information transformation.
Information transformation – leveraging advanced business analytics to benefit today’s digitally transformed enterprise – has ushered in a new way of looking at Knowledge Management (KM), rooted in the concepts of harvesting knowledge for innovation and continuous improvement, resource management, human resources, operational accountability, customer engagement and more.
The ability to respond to information for growth requires scrutinizing the opportunities for change, alterations, breakthroughs, inventions and inspiration. Today’s KM means using mobile, fast distribution, partnerships, expanded corporate boundaries, social media, and new technologies to understand the customer and meet the needs of increasingly demanding marketplaces and regulatory environments. Only by targeting new markets and cultivating a data-revitalized business can relentless progress, which today is equated with survival, occur.
Now is a time of information alchemy.
What is information alchemy? At its most basic, information alchemy is to use information to learn and adapt for business growth. According to Mike Eisenberg, Dean Emeritus and Professor at the Information School of the University of Washington, information alchemy is transforming data and information into knowledge and wisdom. As Eisenberg noted, the goal of traditional alchemy is to turn base materials into gold; to transform common lead or iron into valued gold, while information alchemy is similar — turning common data and information into valued knowledge.
Information Alchemy & Accountability
With increased knowledge, in any scenario, comes an expectation of accountability – a form of trustworthiness that enforces one’s responsibility for conduct. Companies that are successful through transforming information into knowledge realize that value comes from not only from owning and organizing information but in creating a culture to react to information.
Innovation and constant improvement come from an organization's ability to metabolize information into knowledge and action.
In this fast-paced world of change, knowledge managers can become a part of the solution by considering how they can advocate for a culture that makes information more accessible and digestible to leverage the investment in traditional KM tools including information infrastructure, information sources, information storage, metadata and taxonomy and information creators, consumers and managers.