It was a weekday morning in the early 1990s. I stepped out of my office at FIND/SVP onto what the floor of what at that time was arguably the largest independent business information center in the world (and probably still is, though now it’s called Guideline). It covered the better part of a large city block. Shelves filled with books and magazines rose partway to the very high “downtown New York” ceilings. People scurried here and there, making copies, tapping on computers, speaking on phones to some of our 2,000-plus clients. Bees would have been envious of this intense buzz of activity!
Then, it dawned on me. This place was a factory—a knowledge factory! We started with some kind of raw data—numbers, words, databases, ideas—and passed it along to our clients. They in turn used the information to create value—competitive advantage, profits, revenues, opportunities, solutions, etc.