It is said that intelligence is the eyes and ears of the enterprise, and this is a useful analogy in some respects. In the obvious sense, through our eyes and ears we take in sensations that in effect are the “data collection” functions of the human body.
These sight and sound sensations would just be a jumbled mass of nerve cells firing without some kind of sense-making to put them into order. Studies have shown that a newborn baby takes in the same level of sensations that an adult does—but has not “learned” what the sensations mean. (One developmental psychologist called the resulting sensory chaos a “blooming, buzzing confusion.”) As a result, a baby can’t “see” clearly—but only because its sense-making capabilities are not yet developed.
The same is true in organizations. Data comes at an organization continually at a fast and furious rate. Without some kind of sense-making function, it all seems like that same “blooming, buzzing confusion”. A good intelligence function serves as that sense-making function—in addition to being eyes and ears. The KVC model can be used as a template in developing the intelligence function beyond mere data collection, beyond mere analysis—into a real-time strategic direction-finder.
Excerpt from the Introduction to The Knowledge Value Chain Workbook by T.W. Powell.