What you don’t know will hurt you

Businessman at the entrance of a labyrinthDonald Rumsfeld did us a big favor by describing three categories of knowledge.

“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know”. Donald Rumsfeld  U.S. Department of Defense (D0D) news briefing, February 12, 2002).

He initially forgot one category “unknown knowns” (i.e. knowledge that organizations have but cannot find / access when needed).

If you are looking to improve competitive advantage you do not have much control over unknown unknowns. But you need to have a good handle on the remaining others.

Knowns knowns and known unknowns are the result of hard work.

The problem of unknown knowns, on the other hand, does not require much more than putting in place a free-form-search Knowledge Base.

FFS Kbases basically ensure that if you have it, you will be able to find it.

As usual, there are no free lunches. FFS Kbases require daily contributions. Otherwise, they quickly become useless. You also have to use them.

The starting position is to acquire FFS Kbase software -make sure you do your homework.

About kwkeirstead@civerex.com

Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in critical infrastructure protection, healthcare, connect-the-dots law enforcement investigations, job shop manufacturing and b2b organizations. (C) 2010-2017 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions.
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