Last week, I did a keynote speech at a luncheon. I talked about the concept of knowledge. Historically, there was only one type of knowledge–Experiential Knowledge–the knowledge that exists in our memory banks as a result of doing something or having some experience. Those who learned from their experiences became more knowledgeable, and then they transferred that knowledge to younger people.
The idea of capturing knowledge beyond our brains and onto cave walls or writings of some kind evolved once we learned how to draw/write and created a common language. Extended writings morphed to books and books led to libraries as people began to appreciate how vulnerable and biased it may be to store knowledge in human brains only. Stored knowledge–Professional Knowledge–really took off in the last few centuries and institutions were created to actually create knowledge, outside of formal experiences. These research-oriented institutions, academia, took over the “general body of knowledge” and contributions to it were limited to scholarly work with rigorous parameters to ensure the validity of the knowledge.
Over the last 40 years, knowledge has become a commodity–Gartner Group was one of the first to publish articles and case studies and sell them to organizations and people who wanted them. In the last 10 years, knowledge has undergone quite possibly the most significantly transformation of all. Knowledge has become free (like the air we breathe – “just google it”), it has become mobile (we can get it anywhere from our devices), it is being co-created in real time by more people (virtual communities) and it’s half life has gotten shorter and shorter. Yes, all in the last 10 years or so.
Is it possible for anyone who wants to do something new or to be the best at something to not be able to find information that can enable them? The operating mantra is no longer “he who knows most” but “he who learns most”–if you grew up in a world where what you knew defined you, got you employment, etc… know that this will no longer be enough. You will be passed over by those who know less than you but are resourceful to get what they want, anytime from anywhere.
How prepared are you to embrace this change?