Dear clients and friends,

Powell in Istanbul

Are you an organizational leader — business owner/executive/board member or government agency head?  If so, you may recognize this conversation we had recently with a senior sales executive at a multi-billion dollar firm.

His insightful comment: “As an organization, we don’t know what it is we need to know to compete most effectively.”

We’ve heard similar from executives in a range of functions, industries, and company sizes.  Most organizations — even sophisticated ones full of smart people — systematically fail to “compete in the knowledge economy” as effectively as they could. They spend plenty of time and money on information content, processes, and technologies.  Yet, paradoxically, their leaders lack the very information they most need to guide their organizations through rough competitive waters.

This is not a new development — the late Peter Drucker describes this challenge in his 1995 article “The Information Executives Truly Need“.  But the continually-accelerating volume, velocity, and variety of data are rendering it vastly more problematic.

This bothers me, for two reasons:  (1) it is not as it should be, and (2) it does not have to be this way.

What about you?

Is this true in your organization? Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Am I getting more data than I did two years ago?
  2. Does this help me to identify and capitalize on significant trends better than I could two years ago?

If (like many) you answered YES to 1 but NO to 2, you could be suffering from data blindness — a condition in which an overload of non-relevant data actually obstructs your clear view of what is happening.

In the short run, this adversely impacts your bottom line through opportunities missed and threats unseen.  Even worse, it can become baked-in as business as usual — creating a longer-term drag on your ability to compete effectively.

If you are responsible for producing business results, you simply cannot afford this hidden penalty on your performance.  Succeeding in business is difficult enough under the best of conditions — but this is like playing basketball while blindfolded.

You can change things

You and your organization can — and, to perform optimally in our competitive world, must — excel at acquiring, focusing, and applying our epistemic resources: Data, Information, Knowledge, and Intelligence.  This means being better than “good enough.”  And that’s the only thing that will bring sustained competitive advantage to your enterprise.

KVC Triangle FNL_RGB Why am I telling you all this?  Because I have been down this road with my clients, tried various approaches, and discovered those that work.  Now you can take advantage of this two-decade experience base.

My firm The Knowledge Agency® conducts assessments and interventions based on the Knowledge Value Chain® and other frameworks we have developed in serving our clients.  Professionals in strategy, market research, competitive intelligence, knowledge management, and corporate libraries have applied and benefited from our insights.

Benefits can be dramatic. In a recent assignment, we recommended that our client go on an “information diet” that will increase their corporate research unit’s effectiveness and visibility — while saving them as much as 20 percent of their multi-million dollar research and intelligence budget.

Next steps

Organizations large and small, in a range of sectors and geographies, continue to benefit from our work.

Can you achieve this same level of performance enhancement?  There’s nothing stopping you!  Contact me and let’s discuss.


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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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    COMPETING IN THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY is sponsored by the Knowledge Value Chain® (KVC), a methodology that increases the value and ROI of Data, Information, Knowledge, and Intelligence.

    The contents herein are original, except where otherwise noted. All original contents are Copyright © TW Powell Co. All rights reserved.

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    E SCIENTIA COPIA. Knowledge is the Engine of Value.