January 2, 2009

The Knowledge Worker's Tool

My sister got The Daily Druker for me this Christmas. Casey said in her inscription that she hopes "this book will find a way to inspire you each and every day. I also hope you will share some of the knowledge and insight this book contains with your avid blog readers." So far, I haven't been able to tell if 'avid' was a sarcastic punch to the gut or not...

31 December

Information is what holds an organization together and information is what makes knowledge workers effective. Enterprises and individuals will have to learn what information they need and how to get it. They will have to learn how to organize information as their key resource.

In moving from data literacy to information literacy, you need to answer two principle questions: "What information does my enterprise need?" and "What information do I need?" To answer these questions you have to rethink:

  • What your job is, and what it should be
  • What your contribution is, or should be
  • What the fundamentals are of your organization

So, as we move deeper in this New Year I challenge you to answer that series of questions for yourself and for your organization. And what would a challenge be if I didn't follow through myself?

I consume a ton of information every day. Most if it adds to my line(s) of work, but I'm sure that at least one of my 125 RSS feeds is unnecessary. And that doesn't count the paper, the radio, or any other of the myriad sources of information out there. I don't think that a news blackout is in my future, but I am at least going to perform a little more due diligence so I can move further from data literacy and closer to (relevant) information literacy...

How has data consumption (versus information consumption) affected you? Or maybe you don't see a difference between data and information. Either way, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

"The executive and the knowledge worker only have one tool - information."
Peter F. Drucker


Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about doing a huge RSS purge myself...in fact, i think RSS has been the single worst thing to happen to my career since i found out i could sneak my gameboy into middle school. I read everything i can find and add new subscriptions without hesitation (fleshbot.com?). The only reason i will typically delete a feed is if the publisher won't allow the full text to come through (i'm looking at you espn.com). I allow myself the lack of discretion because i think that it makes me a more interesting person to know that Santonio Holmes accidentally leaked a nude picture of himself to the internet, or that i know more random facts than the guy i'm sitting next to at the dinner party. But, at the end of the day, does any of that information make me better at my job? Does it make me a better person? A better contributor to society? Probably not. The purge will happen eventually, but for now, i care more about being a clever conversationalist that got a leaked copy of 808s and Heartbreak 5 days before it came out than i do about being a good person or a good employee.

Aaron Stiner said...

How funny, a friend of mine (thanks Amber) got me the daily drucker for a graduation gift - we will have to compare notes! =)

As for your information, it is a challenge of our time to determine what information is "good" and "right" and "relevant" and when enough information is enough.

It is a blessing and a curse. What I find helpful is having, as a prof once said, hooks and frames. I scan all the information I can, and then what "hooks" onto areas I am interested - philanthropy and web 2.0 applications for example - I delve into more deeply. Then, I fit that information into my existing frames and see how it confirms or changes what I already hold as my worldview.

Gathering and processing information is like anything else in this world, a way to pass the time until we die...every five minutes you spend processing information is five minutes you could be spending doing something else and the other way around. Each of us will choose to spend our time differently. I only hope to be conscious about how I spend my time and how it fits in and shapes the narrative and purpose of my life.