If time loss is the most obvious way that Information Overload affects organizational effectiveness, the destruction of mental acuity is the least obvious one. It is also probably the worst, in terms of actual damage to the bottom line. What we’re talking about here is a reduction in a wide range of mental capacities, all of them highly relevant to the performance of knowledge work.
We need food to survive. Old food can do us harm. Therefore, we have a range of defense mechanisms – from our noses and taste buds to mandatory “best use before” dates on food packages – to detect and eliminate obsolete food.
We need information to survive in today’s workplace. Old information can do us harm. Where are the defense mechanisms to detect and eliminate obsolete knowledge?
We know that Information Overload costs knowledge workers around one day a week, but few people understand where this figure is coming from, how it was measured, and what the underlying time-waste mechanisms are.
A compilation of causes and solutions to the misuse and abuse of the notorious Reply to All feature.
Reply to All: probably the most hated feature of Email. How do I know? Because whenever I work with clients to reduce Email Overload, one request pops up right at the beginning: “Can we put a stop to the abuse of Reply All?” Yes, you can.
You can see it on Twitter every day, a year and a half after he coined it: Clay Shirky’s famous Filter failure meme; “It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure”.
It’s catchy. It’s thought-provoking. And yet, I believe, it’s also misleading.
Although practically every organization is full of knowledge workers groaning under a deluge of email, it’s interesting to note that in many of them I run into a small minority of people who have things under control.
Throughout the Defense Department and the federal government, the inefficient and undisciplined use of technology by the very people technology was supposed to benefit is degrading the quality of decision-making and hobbling the cognitive dimension of the information environment.
A blog by Nathan Zeldes, focused on insight, debate and solutions for restoring productivity and work/life balance in this age of infoglut.
A recent report, commissioned by Hitachi Data Systems, found 40 per cent of companies in Australia and New Zealand are suffering from the information glut, up from 34 per cent two years ago.
I was discussing with a college student I’ve been advising whether it was a good or a bad thing that Google makes access to answers so easy. To my surprise, she opined that it’s a bad thing – because people who use Google to answer a question are more likely to forget the answer they find, whereas if they have to think the problem through and discover the answer for themselves they will remember it in the long term. This shows that our ambivalence to information use goes back to antiquity…