End-User Experience: IT / methodologies that impact Knowledge Workers using / training Mission Command, LVCG, Mil2.0 & Gov2.0 capabilities.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

DIKW is the backbone of KM

I have been reading about a construct called DIKW (Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom). This is a very simple methodology and makes a lot of sense. Also known as the Wisdom Hierarchy, this is sometimes defined as a a chain or pyramid, however, in today's data rich environment's I prefer to look at DIKW as a continuum or cycle that is never ending. This post is by no means a statement of the perfect KM solution - merely an additional consideration.

We use buzz words all the time. Collaboration, Productivity are easy to pick on. What do they really mean? The ability to create a document? Post it to a portal of some sort? Email or chat with someone about the posted document? In the US Army, we tend to emplace systems and abruptly state "We do KM". The presence of SharePoint does not equal organization KM. Database systems and spreadsheets certainly provide functional tools for our data and most individuals / organizations make information out of data (charts and tables are easy). The software tools we use are extremely important (many of our current tools are lacking but that would make for another post entirely).

The hurdle in DIKW is Knowledge then Wisdom. We must put all that data rich information to use and apply it to our processes and procedures to shape a knowledge base. The information is perceived and reasoned with as we begin forming knowledge and eventually we begin to gain wisdom as we apply knowledge to the way we operate and collaborate as individuals and teams. That is all well and good for a "text book" definition.
What about the real world? I like DIKW's simplicity for gauging where I am and where my team is. One can apply this to an overall effort or even components of the overall effort.
  • Are you processing and presenting data as information?
  • Are you providing information in an organized manner within operational procedures as knowledge?
  • Are you building wisdom?
  • Is your team collectively processing and presenting data as information?
  • Is your team collectively providing information in an organized manner within procedures as knowledge? Does it shape the way you operate?
  • Is your team collectively building wisdom and using it in strategy?
I believe DIKW is the backbone of Knowledge Management (KM). This gives every KM Officer, KM System Manager and even the actual Knowledge Workers a simple tool to guide their work and honestly measure the achievement of KM's real goals.

What do you think?

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