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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Information Management Principle #3: Information needs to flow

The second principle of Information Management says as follows:

There is no value in information which is not – sooner or later – being used. Information that might be of use sooner or later holds a potential value, but that value is not realized until it is actually used for something. Simply put, information is just a means to an end.

To realize this value potential, the information needs to flow. It needs to flow to the people who needs it to achieve their goals. It needs to flow to them whenever they need it and wherever they are.

If information does not flow good enough, the potential value of the information is not realized in full. In a sense, information is like water; it needs to flow to those who need it. And like water, it must flow also to keep fresh and usable.

Making information flow is about making sure that people who need it have access to it and that they easily can find it, make sense of it and use it. But it is not enough to make people access, find and use information that has already been encoded into some content. Since information and knowledge exist only in our own heads, we need to make sure that information flows between people. The information must flow from senders to receiver. This means that it must be easy to encode the information in content, find receivers and make the content accessible to those receivers for the sender. Thus, three key words when it comes to making information flow is accessibility, findability and ease-of-use.

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