Knowledge management: Can information be counterproductive

Gerry McGovern goes to town with metaphors to explain knowledge management and how our minds work to transform information into knowledge. He likens the ability of our minds to hold knowledge to a cup's ability to hold so much water before overflowing and wasting its contents.

    Think of the mind as a cup and think of information as water. You pour information into the cup (mind). After a while, the cup becomes full. If you pour in more information, the cup will overflow and the information will be wasted.

    The idea here is that the mind has a certain capacity to retain knowledge. After a certain amount of knowledge has been retained, the mind is full. Pouring in more information serves no productive purpose.


    Most of us are probably like the cup. We have a certain knowledge threshold. We spend time acquiring information about a subject which we turn into knowledge. Over time, this knowledge hardens into opinion and attitude. In such situations, much new information about the subject is ignored and flows off us.

But wait... There's more (he says, in a Ginsu knife spokesperson's voice).

    Time is the oil of the new economy. Attention is the car. Knowledge is the destination. Information is the map.