I still remember some hectic mid-recession workday during the Bush 41 economy when I read that headline in my cube at FIND/SVP. The author was Cindy Kotler and she was describing in the now defunct Journal of Commerce the unwavering attention that Japanese managers favor on market intelligence. They certainly had a stronger appetite for it than our American clients. But the corollary to fact-gathering was also true: Information devoid of its social, marketing and technical implications is meaningless. In theory few would disagree. In practice we're still at the starting gates.
Today the info as verb mantra is especially applicable to Google's mantra in support of its strategy to organize the world's information. How?
* By buying out major publishers?
* By indexing enough of the web to control its currents and manage its pulses?
Nope. The method writes B. Iyer T. Davenport in the current HBR is...
Informational kudzu, always putting down new roots based on the thoroughly internalized principle that information shall be organized by analyzing users' intentions.
It's not a "what" -- it's a "how." Information by itself ... hangs itself. If it's sticky it's a piece of gum just waiting for a ride on someone's feet. If not it races to the bottom of the search results.
Contrary to Google's colossal search logs it is not a person, place, or thing, nor is it simply a description of static facts.
Stepping back again to the early nineties what would the past say about today's acumen for putting information into action? I don't mean Google's strategy per se but our own ability to interpret information through the lens of intentionality?
Could it be that our ability to test scenarios, consider outcomes, and weigh consequences now rivals the sophistication of our search tools? Could it be that information gathering and dissemination are learned skills possessed by fewer and fewer as access to information increases?