Information is not Knowledge



Actually, the person credited with saying this is Albert Einstein. What does he mean? Well, Einstein was a scientist, so he probably did a lot of experiments and got a lot of information from those experiments. Knowledge is attained through understanding of that information. Understanding means comprehending the information and how that information can be applied. For a scientist, that would have been the steps he would have had to go through to truly attain knowledge.

Why is this important? We are given a lot of information each and every day. Sometimes we are provided so much information that we even have a term to describe the over-prescription of it – ‘information overload’. We are not any smarter because we have a lot of information. We are only smarter if we know how to assimilate the information.

Information is a message that contains relevant meaning, implication, or input for decision and/or action. Information comes from both current and historical sources. In essence, the purpose of information is to aid in making decisions and/or solving problems or realizing an opportunity. Knowledge is the cognition or recognition (know-what), the capacity to act (know-how), and the understanding (know-why) that resides or is contained within the mind or in the brain.

To speak of this in the context of enterprises, knowledge is meant for value creation. Do enterprises know how to use their information for creating value? What is the value that they are trying to create in the first place? Do enterprises know what is valuable to them?

There is a lot of data, which is constantly being turned into information in organizations constantly. This is creating an information overload of sorts for the people who receive it. Does that graph that shows drop in sales indicate a need to increase marketing efforts? Maybe not if taken in the context of the current pandemic. However, the question can be reframed to ask what would be needed to again see a rebound, given all the new data about the impact the pandemic has had on lives and the economy.

This is the time to be asking the questions about the future. It is the time to be formulating knowledge from new information.