Louis Menand

Knowledge is our most important business. The success of almost all our other business depends on it, but its value is not only economic. The pursuit, production, dissemination, application, and preservation of knowledge are the central activities of a civilization. Knowledge is social memory, a connection to the past; and it is social hope, an investment in the future. The ability to create knowledge and … [ Read more ]

Esther Dyson

The most fascinating thing in the world is a mirror.

Lynda Gratton

Socrates established that while there is value in finding affirmation for existing assumptions and beliefs, the most useful learning occurs through falsification. Falsification requires the discipline of reason and hypothesis testing. What are the assumptions behind this proposal? What data or evidence would we need to prove those assumptions to be false? What do we believe to be true that is actually untrue? What do … [ Read more ]

Colin Powell

The challenge for me was to have informal contacts and to get information from outside the organization that had been set up to provide me information. I did that beginning at 6:30 every morning, when I’d hit my office having read all the newspapers. I would get the CIA to come in for 20 minutes with no other staff members present and tell me what … [ Read more ]

Marshall McLuhan

Light is the purest form of knowledge. Having no characteristics itself, it enables others to see.

Lars Håkanson

Discussions of tacit knowledge typically proceed from Polanyi’s observation “…that the aim of a skilful performance is achieved by the observance of a set of rules which are not known as such by the person observing them.” Erroneously, this is often taken as a rationale for defining tacit knowledge as knowledge that is not capable of articulation and codification. This, however, disregards the second part … [ Read more ]

Sally Helgesen

In many companies, people automatically assume that explicit knowledge is more reliable and accurate—a way of thinking that dates back at least to the era of scientific management.When an executive says, “Cut to the chase, just give me the numbers,” he or she is declaring his allegiance to episteme by attempting to exclude information that arrives through subjective means.

But organizations that favor explicit over tacit … [ Read more ]

Friedrich A. Hayek

Each member of society can have only a small fraction of the knowledge possessed by all, and each is therefore ignorant of most of the facts on which the working of society rests…civilization rests on the fact that we all benefit from knowledge which we do not possess. And one of the ways in which civilization helps us to overcome that limitation on the extent … [ Read more ]

American Management Association

In the Information Age, information was a relatively scarce resource that conferred competitive advantages on those who obtained it. In the Knowledge Era, by contrast, information is virtually free. We often feel we’re drowning in the stuff. In theory, the true competitive advantage stems from turning all this information into useful knowledge. It’s a nice theory, as far as it goes. The truth, however, is … [ Read more ]

Matt Mason

From the author’s point of view, the threat really isn’t piracy; it’s obscurity.

Matt Mason

The average person in the U.S., even if he or she doesn’t illegally download music or movies, violates copyright laws so many times a day, according to John Tehranian, a law professor at the University of Utah, that if he or she were sued for just one day’s worth of violations, the damages would amount to about $12.45 million. It involves everything from forwarding an … [ Read more ]

John H. Fleming and Jim Asplund

In hiring and managing individual employees, it’s important to understand what is difficult to change (talent) and what is more easily changed or acquired (knowledge and skills). Once you hire someone, you are largely stuck with their talents, whereas you can still impart new skills and knowledge. Without a clear understanding of these two different aspects of ability, you will have an incomplete picture of … [ Read more ]

David Dunning

One of the pet phrases I have is “The road to self-insight runs through other people.” Other people can often give us invaluable feedback that can really correct an illusion that we’re suffering from.

One of my favorite, but most chilling, findings is from a study that surveyed surgical residents. They were asked about their surgical skills, and then they were given the standardized board exam. … [ Read more ]

David Smith and Craig Mindrum

Knowledge management is not just about making information, news or content readily available—even content indexed by performance need; this form of knowledge sharing and content management is too passive. What a flat organization needs is actionable knowledge, and the best kind of such knowledge will likely come from another part of a company: “I know what you’re trying to do; here’s what we did, and … [ Read more ]

Frank Kotsonis (?)

The Plural of Anecdote is Not Data.

Alan Wolfe, John A. Deighton, Leora Kornfeld

Wolfe argues, in a distinction particularly powerful as we grapple with the limits to the information age, that information is what machines can pass back and forth, or construct by analysis, while meaning is what only people can make. Meaning, as he defines it, is a macrophenomenon that involves making larger sense out of smaller bits, while information reduces larger complexity into smaller, and presumably … [ Read more ]

Denis Couillard

The source, modification and directional flow of knowledge are the three things around which today’s firms have to organize.

Dan Heath, Chip Heath

The Curse of Knowledge says that once we know something, it becomes hard for us to imagine what it was like not to know it. And that, in turn, makes us communicate to others like speakers of a foreign language. We forget to translate.

Alvin Toffler

As a resource, knowledge is totally different from the other resources economists have studied before. To begin with, it’s intangible, and it’s not depletable: the more we use it, the more we can create. The fact that knowledge is inherently inexhaustible knocks a gigantic hole in the economics that grew out of the industrial era. And, by and large, our economists haven’t caught up with … [ Read more ]

Alvin Toffler

Bureaucratic institutions in both the private and public sector break up knowledge and its components, storing and processing them in separate compartments, or ‘stovepipes’. Over time, these stovepipes multiply, as ever-more narrow specialization increases the number of uncrossable boundaries. This makes it extremely difficult to cope with fastchanging new problems requiring knowledge that falls beyond artificial departmental borders.To complicate matters, guarding each stovepipe is an … [ Read more ]