Data are the raw material of the next economic paradigm. Data, information, knowledge, innovation, and wisdom are all related; but it all starts with data. In order to produce anything valuable in the domain of social capitalism, the creation and formation of data is hypercritical. The better the data, the better the information, knowledge, innovation, wisdom and culture that will follow. Each stage of transformation along the chain reaction from “data” to “culture” is an opportunity for both great value creation AND astonishing corruption.
Data are Kings:
Yet data are often collected and processed with very little vetting. We all know that information is most easily spun from the data collection process. We know that bad knowledge comes from bad information, and we know that unsuccessful innovation comes from inappropriate knowledge. Obviously, to be an unwise leader is to be unimaginative leader. A failed culture creates failed data…and the circle completes itself.
Data are an asset:
On the other hand, the ability to collect data is often the most tangible intellectual property that an organization can hold. It is easy to copy a patent but difficult to recreate the system that generates patents. Excellent data results in excellent technology from the moon landings to the Internet. The trick is that all assets must contain two components; a quantity and a quality. This means that some rigor is needed in the data collection process. When data are produced, the quantity is the “measurement” but the quality is the certainty or uncertainty that what is being measured is actually what is being observed.
Phenomena such as art, politics, emotions, capital markets, and spirituality are difficult to measure because the item being observed exists as a function of the observer’s interaction with it. Still, the quality of the data includes the certainty that all data were measured the same way AND some disclosure of the uncertainty that remains. This is an area of great omission and where severe problems arise especially where the most people rely on the data to make decisions. The term “comparing apples to oranges” is a real problem and it is particularly elusive at very early and highly incremental stages of ideation.
Mouse goes squeak:
Often the people involved with the intensely small or incremental portion of the data design and collection process are the least powerful people in the supply chain. Often they have the least say in how the data is analyzed and certainly have no visibility of what happens upstream. It is tragically amusing that the dominant characteristic of most hierarchies is that each level of management “filters” the data from lower levels and delivers it to the next level where actions are authorized.
The Culture of Data
Social media is entering the human culture at an incredible rate. Social media has also shown us what happens when the good data becomes the important information, which increases knowledge among the most people leading to increasingly effective innovation and changing the conventional wisdom about an increasing diversity of subjects. Social Capitalism will replace Market Capitalism simply because the culture is superior.
Hint: Culture Produces The Data.