I don’t think we can criticize organizations for assembling what they know on one hand … and then criticize them on the other hand when they don't assemble what they know for being incompetent and irresponsible.
Organizations are presented with countless observations. And it is their ability to integrate these observations into meaningful context that makes them right or wrong, smart or dumb and competitive or dead.
In case it is not obvious from my blog, a chunk of my work is dedicated to creating technology that can assemble context based on real-time observations for improved enterprise awareness and discovery. With this in mind, check out this advertisement poster (a must see) for London’s Natural History Museum. Basically, my thinking goes:
If .6% makes this much difference, no wonder existing systems are not that intelligent!
There can be no organizational intelligence, situational awareness or whatever one would like to call it, if an organization does not assemble its own observations into context and then use this context for decision making.
If parents were unable to assemble and contextualize their children’s school schedule with their soccer schedule and vacation schedule, they would be dysfunctional -- and possibly criminally negligent (e.g., if they kept losing their kids). Parents put these observations, and countless others, into context so that they can make the best possible decisions.
While more observations produce greater potential intelligence, more contextualized observations produce greater actual intelligence.
This being the case, I think most organizations have a significant gap between potential and actual intelligence because their enterprise observations are unassembled. Their observations are isolated across numerous operational systems – aka "islands of excellence." No wonder organizations make dumb decisions like recruiting people they have previously fired, marketing to people they have arrested, and lowering customer confidence and loyalty when, for example, a casino extends a free buffet coupon to the wife of their biggest high roller.
Organizations must be permitted to assemble their observations if we expect them to be smart, efficient and survive. And emerging technologies like Perpetual Analytics are going to radically improve an organization’s ability to assemble observations into context for improved awareness and intelligence.
So we should ask ourselves what observations (transactions) will we permit an organization to observe, receive and store? And, how smart is too smart? Also, who do we trust with such "smarts"?
There will also be important policy decisions about what supplemental facts will we permit organizations to request on an as-needed basis from secondary organizations for improved context, intelligence and decision making. For example, when and to what extent should a government agency be able to request public records information from a data aggregator?
There are many other policy questions that belong in this debate. Under what conditions should an organization be denied the ability to assemble its own observations? Or denied the ability to request secondary reference data? And since there are policies permitting the construction of knowledge, when must one’s observations be destroyed (i.e., forced forgetfulness). And what if an observation is wrong or has been maliciously fabricated?
We are going to need an army of technologists working on Responsible Innovation.