Hierarchies of Understanding:: data is useful, INFORMATION “invaluable”


I’m as good (or bad) at understanding humans and human learning as the next person! I am not an “educator” just someone who, I suspect (like everyone else), has at some time or other felt swamped: by too much to do; too much to absorb; too little time. We know that people learn in different ways and at different speed and, quite apart from Carpenter & Cannady, there are any number of alternative views on HoU…take your pick!

What I like about the C&C approach is that it reflects an ongoing process – we ARE (or should be) constantly learning – with feedback from our environment shaping our perspectives. On one occasion rendering the “expert” a “novice” and, on another, providing the vital “missing piece” that transforms information to knowledge and, through understanding, to wisdom.

In the beginning was information*…

But, ever the contrarian, I can’t ignore the fact that, the limitations to obtaining data (about anything) pertaining to that which we are observing, are our own!

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Even when the DNA is similar “we can’t fix today’s problems with yesterday’s tools”:: Part 3


EXCESSIVE COMPLEXITY can come in a wide variety of forms: flawed economic theory; excessive debt (measured in relation to the requisite complexity of the system); poor or misguided Governance [instead of homoeostasis for business]; general/risk management or accounting practices that “constrain” the system in pursuit of skewed rewards or excessive returns*; misaligned operational structure & IT;  or processes &/or products; product, culture and strategy ambiguity (that hamper information-flow);  lack of “requisite variety”; assumptions or decisions based upon correlations in incomplete or misleading data…all very dangerous for individual financial systems and those connected to it, irrespective of scale or domain.

*the assumption that, because we know (knew) how to manage complicated systems, we know how to do likewise with complex systems is, evidently, wrong and dangerous.

We continue to be limited by our own knowledge, thus, invite disaster. We prefer faux certainty (a projection of the future based upon our past) to the reality of uncertainty and, as a result, when disaster strikes, we are prone to “label” what was unforeseen as unforeseeable…that suggests that we have looked but did not see! When, too often, the truth is that we didn’t look but assumed. Or “overlooked” by failing to utilise the tools available to us. Read more of this post

Even when the DNA is similar “we can’t fix today’s problems with yesterday’s tools”:: Part 2

INFORMATION – INTELLIGENCE – INNOVATION have transformed our INVENTIONS, theories and practices to such an extent that we need to be aware of the limitations of our knowledge: we MUST question what we “know”…not so much a case of familiarity breeding contempt but leading to “ignorance” and increasing risk.

The complexity of some man-made systems has so outstripped our ability to manage them that, increasingly, we need to draw upon our observations of the complex systems found in nature 

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Practice without sound theory will not scale…but it WILL expose and “amplify”, wrong assumptions, errors & omissions

The irreversible complexity of man-made systems* e.g. communications, IT, transport, economic, financial, business, logistics, business, etc. have outstripped our ability to understand, maintain, manage or repair flaws without the tools and techniques that enable us to examine the relevant system components and relationships at a variety of scales [micro – macro – holistic]: Law of Requisite Variety (refer Part 1). Read more of this post

Identifying Hidden Structure (in Data) and Computing Knowledge

Extract taken from Ontonix Corporate website. Full article here.


We live in the digital age. True.  The flow of data is impressive. Statistics inform us that each year we generate more data than the past generations did in decades. But the problem is that Information Technology (IT) has concentrated on simply automating old ways of thinking, creating bottlenecks and problems we didn’t even imagine, and not really inventing new processes or approaches. There is little innovation going on in the IT arena. But one thing is certain, we are drowning in data. The problem is not simply storage (disk space is cheap). The big deal is how to extract workable knowledge out of all this data.

But what is knowledge? What is a “body of knowledge”? Setting aside ontological hair-splitting, we could say that a body of knowledge is equivalent to a structured and dynamic set of inter-related rules. The rules can be crisp or fuzzy or both. But the key here is structure. Structure is the skeleton upon which a certain body of knowledge can be further expanded, refined, modified (this is why we say “dynamic”). One could say that structure forms the basis of a model or of a theory. Today, there exist many ways of extracting structure from data. Statistics is one way. Building models based on data is another. But because building models and mis-handling of statistics has contributed to the destruction of a big chunk of our economy, we have invented a new method of identifying structure in data – a model-free method, which is free of statistics and building models. A method which is “natural” and un-biased…

Diversity, Risk and Innovation Growth

Brain Leaders and Learners is a consistently interesting and challenging blog that is worth a visit…if not subscription. Simply because it is very easy to just get on and do rather than to think, question and create. The following is an extract from a recent article.

My interest is two-fold.Firstly, who doesn’t want to develop their intelligence!? Secondly, complexity is often referred to as problem-solving capability…

Originator of multiple intelligences, Harvard’s Howard Gardner,  defines intelligence as … “the ability to solve real-life problems, to generate new problems, and to create something meaningful or offer a service that is valued within a person’s culture or community.”

Are you moving in the direction of innovative renewal? It takes a plan that’s rarely easy, and sometimes suffers heat from others’ risks.

Risk-taking tactics, open segues to filing work digitally across departments, as a way to avoid paper piles, open more access to organizational goals and save time.  Can help the old guard to leap over a few routines and ruts that hold back innovative growth.

Let your brain lead you past limitations and ruts

If you believe IQ is fixed and business is stuck in recession without options, then stagnation may be ensured at work, because brains either fuel or limit growth through mental plasticity. More intelligence at work relies on multiple intelligences, and leaders who expect dendrite brain cells to reconfigure for higher IQ in multiple domains. MITA brain based approaches facilitate originality through many mental and technological portals, such as multiple intelligences, built into strategies online.  How so?

1. Looking for more linguistic intelligence? Want words to come easier, ads to mean more, speeches to ring truer, or books to yield innovative action? Then play with words, do crosswords, join a list serve discussion, compete in scrabble, debate, or offer to speak to leadership conference. Search for new ideas on the internet, write a blog.  Or tell your best idea in a Tweet of 140 letters or less.  To develop words and language daily is to boost your linguistic brainpower, which includes mastery over language. Read more of this post