We’ve Got the Data, We Need Insight

©IDG Communications, Inc. Photo contributed by Matthew Mikaelian.

Thought Leadership Leverage, 8/12/10

According to Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003”. That’s a mind blowing statistic. Now 80% of that information may very well be videos of dancing cats, text messages asking, “where are u”, email from Nigerian royalty offering to send you ten million dollars but there’s still more valuable information available to each of us than ever before. However there’s a paradox that I’ve observed and it seems that there is an inverse relationship between our access to information and our insight.

Information is neutral, it has no opinion and it isn’t inherently good or bad. It’s just information. Regardless of the quantity of it that is available or the speed at which it now travels the globe it is only valuable or powerful if it is coupled with insight. However insight requires critical thinking skills, analysis and knowing how to ask questions to solve a problem. Too much data or applying the wrong information to the wrong situation makes things more confusing, not less. I’ve seen a lot of very smart people confusing their ability to access information with the ability to decipher it. Technology will continue to provide us with tools and access to the information at warp speed, which can either be a help or a hindrance if we don’t take a step back and learn how to manage it effectively.

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