By now it’s become conventional wisdom that the business world has moved from the Information Age to the Knowledge Era. In the Information Age, information was a relatively scarce resource that conferred competitive advantages on those who obtained it. In the Knowledge Era, by contrast, information is virtually free. We often feel we’re drowning in the stuff. In theory, the true competitive advantage stems from turning all this information into useful knowledge.
It’s a nice theory, as far as it goes. The truth, however, is that even knowledge holds little value until we use it to make decisions. Decision-making is the all-important intermediate step between knowledge and action, between strategy and execution. Yet, it remains a somewhat mysterious and often overlooked process, both among individuals and organizations. Only recently has it started to receive the attention it deserves, though this very attention demonstrates how little we truly understand.