Knowledge Games (Part 2)

Published by Lex on

All humans play knowledge games in one way or another. (Even calling this Part 2 is a knowledge game, because there is no Part 1.) What you know, what you know that you don’t know, what you don’t know, what you could know, what you can’t know, what someone else knows. It all gets blended together in some unknowable way which may or may not lead to a meaningful insight.

Some of these games are very conscious, but a lot of knowledge strategy happens subconsciously.

Asymmetry of information gives one side or the other more power in any interaction. There are multiple dimensions of this playing out at any one time, and the more parties involved the more complicated it all gets.

Aligning Information

Getting everyone on the same page is a common management technique. The challenge is that everyone interprets that page differently. While this can be frustrating, the reality is that you want to get different perspectives on the same information.

Aligning information is great, except when it isn’t. It is great when all the data lines up and everyone in the room agrees that this is what the information shows. But the data is rarely that convenient. And if the information looks that definitive, it is probably a good idea to try to poke some holes in the information and especially on the conclusions drawn from that data.

Proliferation of Information

The more sources of information flowing into your organization, the more information filtering happens. Filtering is imperfect. All humans filter information in one way or another. Bad information slips through, good information gets blocked. Important information gets overlooked, relatively unimportant information bubbles all the way through.

This effect gets magnified in every organization. Everyone sees information differently. And to make matters worse, there is official information and unofficial information. For legitimate reasons, not everyone has access to the same information, so everyone is looking at fragments.

But more information doesn’t usually lead to better decisions and better outcomes. Better outcomes come from better insights. Unfortunately, there is no perfect formula for coming with better insights. It is more of an art than a science.

The Information Funnels