D. Keith Denton

Information should not be plentiful or easy to share. Information sharing that makes data readily available is more of a curse than a cure. A manager’s biggest decision will be rationing scarce attention. New information technologies that help filter and redirect e-mail and telephone calls can certainly help, but ultimately management decision-making is all about setting priorities. Good managers tend to want to identify and … [ Read more ]

Alvin Toffler

Every chunk of knowledge has a limited shelf life; at some point that knowledge becomes obsolete, or, as we say, turns into “obsoledge” – ideas and assumptions that have been falsified by change and surrogates or proxies that are no longer appropriate to the topic at hand. In fact, given the acceleration of change, companies, individuals, and governments base many of their daily decisions on … [ Read more ]

Howard Gardner, Murray Gell-Mann

The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann once said to me that he thought the most valued personal trait in the twenty-first century would be a facility for synthesizing information. Increasingly, I am convinced he was correct. The ability to decide what information to heed, what to ignore, and how to organize and communicate that which we judge to be important is becoming a core competence … [ Read more ]

Jim Stovall

When you look at the productivity vs. activity scale, most of the things on your desk, in your files, and in your mail are activity, not productivity. As a blind person, I am fortunate enough to have people who take volumes of printed material and reduce them to the items that I have determined to be productive. If you can do this in your work … [ Read more ]

Herbert Simon

What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.

Ursula K. Leguin

When action grows unprofitable, gather information; when information grows unprofitable, sleep.

Herbert A. Simon

A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.

Carl Stern

The most powerful force subverting conventional value chains, partly because it acts as a catalyst and accelerator for all the others, is a revolution in the economics of information. Information has always been the glue that held value chains together. The cost of getting sufficiently rich information to suppliers, channels, and customers made proprietary information systems and dedicated assets a necessity, and gave vertical integration … [ Read more ]

Philip Evans, Bob Wolf

There is a near-universal tradeoff between richness and reach of information. Richness is variously the amount, quality, specificity, recency, or trustworthiness of the information shared in a transaction; and reach is the number of people or entities involved. Typically, we can transact with lots of richness if we are willing to give up reach (a conversation) or with lots of reach if we are willing … [ Read more ]

John Seely Brown

If all your information is tailored to what you want to know, you may miss that which you don’t know you want to know, and should.

Alvin Toffler

I don’t think the issue is too much information. More important is decision overload. We believe that every person, or organization, can only make so many competent decisions in a given amount of time. Up until the point that we change our biology, there are some fixed limits on the speed by which we individually process information. However, there are enormously powerful tools by which … [ Read more ]

Liesl Capper

When our mind gets too much information, we either ignore most of it or group it into chunks. This is how we make decisions about information really quickly, and our brains are hardwired this way. When we were troglodytes, we had to make a rapid decision when something jumped in front of us to either run away or club it on the head. We are … [ Read more ]

Rhonda Germany and Raman Muralidharan

The availability of information is perhaps the single most significant contributor to corporate change. As Nobel laureate economist Ronald Coase concluded almost 70 years ago, the boundaries of the firm are defined by its transaction costs. “A firm will tend to expand until the costs of organizing an extra transaction within the firm become equal to the costs of carrying out the same transaction on … [ Read more ]

John Seely Brown

In the old days, things didn’t change quite so fast, and media or more accurately genres with a given medium had a chance to stabilize. Then we would subconsciously appropriate a genre and know how to read the content through the lenses of that genre. But today things are changing so rapidly that you don’t have that much stability in many of the genres which … [ Read more ]

John Seely Brown

In the information technology world we tend to make everything explicit. We don’t understand how to design for the sub-conscious mind – we design for the conscious mind and we only pay attention to content. But humans pay attention to context as well as content, that’s how we make sense out of the world. Indeed…content without context is often meaningless or dangerously mis-interpretable. When you … [ Read more ]

Tom Davenport

People have been saying for a long time that the widespread availability of information would democratize organizations, and that the upward and downward movements of information would be replaced by horizontal ones. I just don’t see it happening.

In fact, the widespread availability of information is making it easier for senior executives to check on and control every movement of people at lower levels. So, … [ Read more ]

Richard Saul Wurman

Finding, winnowing, sorting, and organizing information takes priority over creating it. After all, the Library of Congress wouldn’t be of much value if all the books were piled randomly on the floor. The way information is presented and organized becomes as important as the content.

Richard Saul Wurman

People still have anxiety about how to assimilate a body of knowledge that is expanding by the nanosecond. Misinformation and mayhem are rampant. Information anxiety is produced by the ever-widening gap between what we understand and what we think we should understand.

Information anxiety is the black hole between data and knowledge. It happens when information doesn’t tell us what we want to know. Our relationship … [ Read more ]

Richard Saul Wurman

Where we once went to great lengths in this country to find information-like walking from one town to the next-and we were concerned with not having enough information, now we’re more concerned with winnowing down the amount, even avoiding the constant barrage. A reduced amount of useful information seems preferable to skimming everything possible.

Jim Collins

On our global information superhighway, the last thing we need is additional lanes or more information. In fact, to accelerate effective information exchange and collaboration, we need more rest stops. We need someone to guide us in processing information. Rest stops are integral to sifting through the heaps of data to get to the golden nuggets of information that will help the bottom line grow. … [ Read more ]