Sunday, November 7, 2010

From Information consumers to knowledge publishers

When was the last time you stop to think about:
  • why you need information?
  • where does it come from?
  • how do you consume it?
  • what do you gain from it?
If you haven't done it lately, take this opportunity to do it. It will  allow you to prepare for the changes that will take place as we converge to the knowledge economy.

Phase 1 - Growing the Pie

Up until the early 1980s, information wasn't the big issue it is today.  Things evolved quite slowly from verbal, to print, to audio and to video.  With every new technology, more people consumed information, mostly news and entertainment.

Walter Cronkite informing the assassination of President Kennedy

Phase 2 - The digital age

With the advent of the personal computer in 1975, society enters the service economy. In this new era,  people start consuming information has part of their work. More than an information stream, people are now seeking knowledge streams.

By the 1990s the web goes mainstream and the service economy goes on steroids. This leads to an explosive growth of information.  Yahoo and other early movers take the lead in helping people find information on the web.  However, they fail to execute on the search engine as a radical new idea. In 1998 Google was created.
Google's mission

Phase 3 - Growing pains

The 21st century sees the emergence of another information phenomenon. People wanted to collaborate and share things with one another. They shared it in many formats: text, pictures, videos, links, etc. Some shared original information.  Some didn't. The collaboration aspect gave birth to the web 2.0 phenomenon, and the music sharing business gave birth to the iTunes.

Today information has a huge contribution from bloggers and other small information providers that defy the large traditional information providers.  We get news from our friends that we trust, from social networks in which are constantly plugged into. Newspapers are dropping like flies.  Telecom manufactures and operators continue to see the bulk of the revenue going to the companies that store data.  They are the biggest losers of the information revolution.

Phase 4 - The knowledge economy

We are now experiencing the end of the end of the service economy.  A new era is emerging - the knowledge economy. In this new phase you need to become knowledge consumer and knowledge publisher (developer).  Your revenue will depend on your ability to produce original work, which others (low income humans, and machines) will put into practice.

Remember the four question I asked you in the beginning? We will answer them now as if you were in the knowledge economy:

  • why will you need information?

    You need both information and knowledge to support your original knowledge development.
  • where will it come from?

    Your information and knowledge will come from anywhere in the world, from people that you will never know.
  • how will you consume it?

    You will consume via wireless devices (that have nothing to do with iPads).
  • what will you gain from it?

    A sustainable live.
Do you see any problems with the future? What do you think those are? Can I share some with you?

How will you be able to:
  • identify the discipline you are innately inclined to pursue?
  • find others in your field that are aligned with your ideas?
  • assess if they are qualified or not?
  • increase your knowledge in an affordable and effective manner?
Do you have the answers?