In today’s economy the chief differentiator is, arguably, knowledge, not power, wealth or title. More specifically, it is technology, otherwise known as applied science, which, in many instances, has the greatest potential of making a business successful. When used properly, technology adds value to both the supply side and the demand side of the equation.
As a matter of fact, research and development systems that use state-of-the-art technology give rise to the majority of products and services that dominate the marketplace in both quantity and quality. A promotion and distribution infrastructure like that of amazon.com allows producers and consumers to maximize value on the basis of information coupled with the scale, concentration and diversification of product inventory.
Such method of creating value is called BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE, which is nothing more than the process of transforming data into relevant information for decision-making. In order to transform data into information we need to know, or at least have a general idea, of what we are looking for. Knowing what you want is of fundamental importance in business given th fact that what we want to know determines how we come to know it. As a corollary to that, what we want to do determines how we come to do it and whom we want to reach determines how we can reach them. Put simply and succintly, the how flows from the what.
For instance, if we want to know what day it is we look at the calendar. Similarly, to find out the time we look at a clock, and to adjust the temperature in the room we use the thermostat. Measurements and the tools to fetch them, in fact, are the stuff of science that generates the knowledge necessary to meet and exceed people's needs, wants and expectations. We must, therefore, make sure that the instruments we use will actually measure, assess and accomplish what we are aiming for from the outset.
In order to do this we must rid ourselves from the built-in biases of our craft. If we are carpenters we tend to think that every problem and question can be solved with nails and hammer; if we are lawyers, with lawsuits; if we are sky divers, with parachutes. Yet the problem determines the solution and not all the way around. If the problem is darkness the solution is light, not a ceiling fan. If it’s hunger, the solution is food, not a book that tells you how to be in a good mood. In sum, the end determines the means, not the means the end. Bearing this in mind, a proper taxonomy is key to leveraging the knowledge economy as we seek to make our businesses as meaningful and profitable as they can be.