personal knowledge management & wisdom

PKM consists of practical methods for making sense of the increasing digital information flows around us. There is no procedural method to go from data to wisdom. On this Stephen Downes and I agree, though he thinks I adhere to the DIKW model.

That said, while this is a much better model than this, I think it stays true to the original ‘filtering’ vision, where you go from data to wisdom through successive filtering processes. And while there are different ways to think of knowledge — processed, procedural, propositional — this model I think adheres to a more basic view.

Here are some images from a presentation on PKM I will be giving at our local university tomorrow and including in a workshop next week. Data does not create information, information does not create knowledge, and knowledge does not create wisdom. People use their knowledge to make sense of data and information. People create information that represents their knowledge, which can then be more widely shared.



Data + Knowledge = Information

Data Knowledge Information

Seek, Sense, Share: Find

Seek Sense Share FindPKM is an approach for dealing with information by making our thoughts more explicit through filing, classifying, commenting, writing, presenting, conversing, mashing, etc. PKM itself will not make us any wiser, just as accumulating knowledge does not equate to wisdom.

The ways of adding value to information I described in my last post (Filtering; Validation; Synthesis; Presentation; Customization) are not a series of steps, only some of the ways we can make sense of information, for ourselves and for others.

7 Responses to “personal knowledge management & wisdom”

  1. Atle Iversen

    Your PKM posts are always interesting, even if I don’t always agree with everything 🙂

    I think the DIKW model is fine for explaining the basic idea. Unfortunately, there is not always 100% agreement on what each part actually is.

    I’ll use this explanation:
    Data is symbols, information is processed data (who, what, where, when) while knowledge is expertise that answers “how” questions. You may also use wisdom to answer the “why”.

    I think your “sense” part is important
    – make sense of data = information
    – make sense of information = knowledge
    – make sense of knowledge = wisdom

    The “knowledge” part is often context-sensitive (information applied in a certain context) while wisdom is usually reached after reflection and experience (if reached at all) and is often very subjective (I guess as we move from D to I to K to W it gets less objective and more subjective ?)

    PKM itself will not make us any wiser, but it can *help us* become wiser by helping us *make sense* of the information and knowledge that we have. I like this part of your model !

    However, it is important to note that the last, final step is not Share (as it seems like in your model), but USE !

    Knowledge (or wisdom, for that matter) is of no value if it isn’t USED ! It doesn’t matter if YOU use it, or if you Share it and OTHERS use it, but the ultimate goal is to make Sense of the data and information so that it can be USED by someone (for something).

    Well, at least this is *my* opinion 🙂

    My 2 cents on this:

  2. meri walker

    Wrote you a love letter today in my posterous: I don’t have to agree with you to be utterly grateful that you keep making these reports from the “edge” we’re exploring, Harold. To quote Joe Cocker, “You give me reason to live…” Thanks for making this post and sharing the slides. Your generosity of mind and spirit is as precious as the sunrise.

    • Harold Jarche

      Thanks, Meri. I keep grappling with metaphors and models and I doubt that anyone completely agrees with me because it’s all a work in progress. My aim is to develop models that can be applied in the workplace, so quite often they are simplified. As they say, all models are flawed but some are useful. I try to be useful.

  3. Michael gordon

    The implication that wisdom is self-managed and gained through process is limiting. Wisdom inevitably requires an imputation or is imparted from another and is not from self but rather self-realized. PKM yes but keep the wisdom out of it until the model can factor in mentorship and discipleship. Knowledge, information, data are all inwardly gathered, acquired, absorbed, processed etc. Wisdom comes only from doing and is outwardly focused. The doing will ultimately result in wisdom by witnessing the results of doing. It is a byproduct not an objective.

    Your concept is a good WIP but without a better “directional” flow, it does not properly articulate the attainment of wisdom. I would suggest some further thought here.

    • Harold Jarche

      Wisdom is outside the PKM process. Please read the post & references, Michael. Thank you for suggesting further thought on a topic that I have been considering, and discussing in public, for at least five years.


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