Information disorder

The Information Age is bearing down on us. We’re carrying the burden of constant connection. Wireless internet, 3G, mobile devices, checking in where we’re going, checking out what others are doing, and that old dinosaur email—we’re all connected all the time.

Life was smoother in the Stone Age once the wheel was invented. The greatest discovery of the Information Age won’t be targeted advertising, it’ll be whatever way we embrace the organisation of the information we choose to consume so that we can get back to it again quickly, when we need it. Finally, the thing I’ve been saying all along is starting to surface a little more in the media. DATA CRUNCHED: How email deluge makes workers go postal is an article that appeared on News.com.au this week. Here are a couple of chosen snippets:

“These solutions won’t work if your company doesn’t embrace it,” Dr Searle said. “If a culture exists where a reply to an email is expected straight away, it will not work.”
He said changes needed to be part of company policies handed down to workers from the top.

“There are two key drivers for information overload,” he said. “A lot of the information is irrelevant for the person who is receiving it and the second one is there is an inability of systems and processes in organisations to manage information efficiently.”

The article focuses on email, but the principle applies to any and all kinds of information. When it comes to knowledge management within your organisation, here are the keys:

  1. KM sponsorship must come from the top and be championed by leaders, in every team, throughout the business. By leaders, I don’t mean managers, necessarily, but those with enthusiasm who can lead by example. It needs to be embraced through policy and reward and recognition.
  2. As you consume new information, don’t sit on it—don’t ignore it and don’t hoard it. Immediately filter it, then decide to trash it or apply it to the central knowledge base. If it relates to a particular service, system or customer, attach it then and there, or create a new entry. Just like filing the paperwork, it’s far easier to put it away as you go than to wait until the in-tray topples over from neglect.

So what about you? Are you feeling stressed from information overload? I must say, I’m finding the mobile application alerts pretty intrusive.

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