Beyond eyes and ears

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.

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    COMPETING IN THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY is written by Timothy Powell, an independent researcher and consultant in knowledge strategy. Tim is president of The Knowledge Agency® (TKA) and serves on the faculty of Columbia University's Information and Knowledge Strategy (IKNS) graduate program.


    "During my more than three decades in business, I have served more than 100 organizations, ranging from Fortune 500s to government agencies to start-ups. I document my observations here with the intention that they may help you achieve your goals, both professional and personal.

    "These are my opinions, offered for your information only. They are not intended to substitute for professional advice."


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