Information overload Czech Republic: Information is not knowledge

Author / Editor: Roman Dvorak, Editor-in-Chief, Publisher, MM Industrial Spectrum, Czech Republic / Susanne Hertenberger

“The source of the competitive advantage of the activity of both individuals and the society are not information but knowledge representing the method of coordination of the particular activity, organization of labor and creation of innovative initiatives.”

Albert Einstein was a German-born physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, among other feats. He is considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century
Albert Einstein was a German-born physicist who developed the general theory of relativity, among other feats. He is considered the most influential physicist of the 20th century

I borrowed this statement from Albert Einstein. Who else than just this eminent physicist of German origin should declare the correctness of this statement which at present gains increasing importance compared with the twenties of the last century when information was not so easily available as it is now.

We are snowed under by a sheer amount of information from all sides. The present brings such an amount of sources that makes us feel giddy. The previously censored radio, television and press tried to form our comprehension of the surrounding world and libraries offered only such literature which was approved by the party and the government. Nearly everything was censored. We had no access to relevant information and experience from which we could draw necessary knowledge.

And today? Everybody has free access to information, however in the case of knowledge all remained the same as before. We spend a lot of time at presentations, discussions, brainstorming sessions where we drink lots of coffee, eat heaps of sandwiches and cakes but do not implement real steps which could lead to the transformation of gained information into knowledge and real deeds. There is an enormous gap between what we are saying and what we are actually doing.

As we are taught and motivated by the experience of leaders, it is most important to know why we want to do just this and not that and further how we can achieve it. And last but not least what are we going to use to achieve it. Often, however, we proceed exactly in the opposite way.

Transform information into knowledge

How then should we transform the gained information into sough after knowledge? In recent years the significance of knowledge, also called immaterial activities, rose significantly. Decisive are not production or information technologies but the capability of firms and of their personnel to transform the gained information into knowledge and the capability of the management to utilize the knowledge of their employees. I came over a book which describes the career of Sir Richard Bronson, the founder of the Virgin Group which was first a record company, who during 40 years built an empire of 200 firms with 50 000 employees and a turnover of 20 bn. USD. The success of his company is based on the ability of his employees to provide quality, experience, customized innovations and to create common ideas and values in the vision of a common family instead of a corporate hierarchy. The idea that business must serve for the achievement of higher goals than just to make a profit strongly reminds Bata´s (eminent Czech entrepreneur) philosophy of social benefit as the paramount goal and sense of doing business.

Another of Albert Einstein´s quotations “I am not sure what is more important, knowledge of facts or fantasy” concisely describes the state I have written about above. Now, I wish you a pleasant summer and from your oncoming holiday trips besides information on the particular destination above all a lot of knowledge. This will have a manifold higher weight and benefit for you.