Day 177 of Self Quarantine Covid 19 Deaths in U.S.: 188,000
Since I met Russ Ackoff thirty years ago and learned about WUKID, I strive to advance from data to wisdom in my learning journeys. Russ gave me the practical definitions of the stages of learning:
- Data – the raw stuff of the world. It could be a temperature reading 67 degrees or the price of a book or any of the raw things that we encounter each day.
- Information – provides structure for data. A weather report puts the temperature (data) in context. The outside air temperature in Seattle, WA on July 10, 2007 was 67 degrees at 2 PM and the sun is shining. Each of the components of the previous sentence is data put together to form a glob of information.
- Knowledge – is actionable information. Given the above weather information string I would know that it is going to be a nice day but cool for that time of year so I would carry a light sweater or jacket if I were to go outside.
- Understanding – is seeing patterns in knowledge and information. If the above weather string were combined with 20-30 days of similar strings of information and I had lived in Seattle for 10 or more years, I would be able to see a pattern of it being a cool summer. Understanding has a longer time component than information and knowledge. Understanding incorporates double loop learning as described in Schon’s The Reflective Practitioner.
- Wisdom – is going beyond the levels of understanding to see larger scale systems and be able to predict behaviors and outcomes in the longer term future (5-15 years) based on seeing the patterns that arise through understanding. When lots of data over many years was refined into information, knowledge and understanding patterns, scientists were able to see long term weather patterns like el nino and la nina. Based on these patterns weather forecasters can predict longer term trends in Seattle and I can act accordingly.
I loved it when the Gapingvoid artists drew their image of WUKID and then added Impact:
What I love about these images is the text they provide to share the context behind the image:
“Semiotics is the study of the signs and symbols that imbue meaning and meaningful communication. It includes the study of signs and sign processes, indication, designation, likeness, analogy, allegory, metonymy, metaphor, symbolism, signification, and communication.
“Semiotics has been recognized as having important anthropological and sociological implications by many of the greatest innovators behind the respective disciplines. Umberto Eco proposed that every cultural phenomenon may be studied as communication; Clifford Geertz, arguably the 20th Century’s most respected anthropologist, once wrote that ‘culture is the culmination of symbols that transmit behavior’.
“It is with these thoughts in mind that Gapingvoid started to study how to impact organizational outcomes by informing culture, mindset, beliefs, and behaviors through semiotic tools.
“We have consistently witnessed and measured how people’s perceptions can be shifted through meaning attached to objects. Back in 2005, we popularized the term ‘social object’ with semiotics in mind: the idea that objects spread ideas faster and more effectively than nearly any other medium We see daily examples in internet memes and Red Baseball Caps, which have come to represent an entire political ideology.”
I’ve been fascinated with the study of conspiracy theories since Mark Ackerman of the University of Michigan introduced me to the Post Truth Economy and conspiracy theory. As we talked, Mark introduced the notion of micro conspiracy theory. Mark was studying the interaction of the Post Truth Economy and micro conspiracy theory. I asked for an example. He suggested I recall a time when I or others might have shared something we knew not to be true about another business colleague. He explained that those examples are micro conspiracy theories. I was depressed thinking about the number of times I propagated a micro conspiracy theory or accepted one.
While on the way to somewhere else on an Internet search, I came across this doctored gapingvoid image posted on Imgur that adds conspiracy theory to my beloved framework of WUKID.
After I stopped laughing, I realized that in today’s Post Truth Economy I will have to update WUKID to WUcKID. I placed conspiracy theory between knowledge and understanding because there is an evil genius in those who intentionally perpetrate conspiracy theories. I can’t place conspiracy theory as a full fledged participant in the journey to wisdom and thus the lower case “c.” Unfortunately in today’s world conspiracy theory has its place.