I like this quote by the Swedish author Henning Mankell that appeared in a Sunday New York Times op-ed column titled “The Art of Listening”: “
Many people make the mistake of confusing information with knowledge. They are not the same thing. Knowledge involves the interpretation of information. Knowledge involves listening.
We are awash with data and information. Numbers, facts, and observations are constantly at our fingertips in our Blackberrys, iPhones, and Droids. Online newspapers, magazines, and social media smother us in sense and nonsense. Marketing and survey research companies publish mounds of opinion data daily. The key question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we learning anything? Are we turning that data and information into knowledge that can be applied for the betterment of our organizations?”
TED and the pecha-kucha movement provide excellent examples of how data can become knowledge and move people to action. Those presenters tell a story about their data that engages people emotionally. They realize that just because someone has data doesn’t mean they have knowledge.
This graphic, from Epic.graphic, makes the point: