Monday, September 14, 2009

Why you do not know your Company's IQ

IQ is Information Quality. If information represents language and meaning, quality represents the effectiveness of that communication to present meaning in that language. The concept of information quality has been around since the inception of language. Philosophers master language and meaning, to develop patterns that simplify the presentation of information as a situational context. Relating meaning to the language of communicators inherently creates a narrative perspective of information experience, since individuals experience time linearly and perception logarithmically. Information Quality is becoming more relevant to organizations that strategically design products and responsibly conserve resources.

Cultural Adoption of Information Quality

A “hype cycle” represents the interest in a concept or practice by a specific audience, and historically models the adoption of technology. The hype cycle is characterized as having the following five phases:

  • Trigger - An event or incident that triggers initial interest.
  • Peak - Over enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations.
  • Trough - Disillusionment abandons concept.
  • Slope - Experiment and practical application.
  • Plateau - Value is demonstrated.
The hype cycle can model the adoption of Information Quality, provide context to the current cultural environment, and present the eventual transition of Information Quality from conception to convention.

(Hypothetical and Obscure)
Culture – Intellectual Abstraction – Academia Academia is positioned to interpret and analyze culture. The abstract concept of Information Quality is described by the works of linguists, philosophers, and diplomats. They create and define models that represent the interpretation of information in communication. Academics dissect the language and meaning of those concepts using scientific methods and explore new abstract relationships. As academics create new knowledge and publish their findings; individuals, institutions, and public personas monitor those developments and borrow ideas that have direct utility to their interests. In the case of Information Quality; individuals, institutions, and public personas could now attempt to qualify the effectiveness of communication to improve their ability to control.
(Overenthusiastic Application and Failure)
Politics – Business – Information Systems Propaganda is presenting an unethical relationship of concepts as communication, but optimized to eliminate individual interpretation. To establish control, organizations improve the effectiveness of communication, but reduce the objectivity of that information.
(Experimentation and Discussion)
Internet – Information Technology Control is temporary and unstable since individuals eventually refuse invalid information. The damage incurred while communicating propaganda aggregates in individuals as a resentment towards the concept and organization, hastening cultural abandonment.
(Convention and Best Practice)
Marketing – Customer Service – Human Resources As time elapses, distance separates individuals from the resentment of a concept. Individuals rediscover a concept without the negative cultural connotation and experiment with new applications for old concepts.
(Universal Concept)
Operations – Values - Culture The practical utility of a concept is demonstrated and accepted as a cultural convention. Individuals will associate the concept and culture as a united entity, common and obvious to individuals in that culture.


The adoption of Information Quality assurance has been stalled by the maturation of Business Intelligence systems, which require unique planning and accurate calibration, but promise unrealistic efficiency and automation.  Business Intelligence has been expensive, intrusive, and inaccessible to the majority of organizations, emulating the “peak” of a hype cycle. The Internet provides an environment to experiment and discuss Information Quality with other individuals, each sharing and communicating their interests, which corresponds to the hype cycle “trough.” Information Quality will eventually permeate the role of Information Technologists, as projects become more complicated, and management more automated. As organizational interest grows for Information Quality; Marketing, Customer Service, and Human Resources will adopt practices that improve the effectiveness of their communication, presenting the characteristics of the hype cycle “slope”. Operations, and the individuals that manage an organization will adopt Information Quality best practices and integrate conventions into culture, representing the hype cycle “plateau” which connects concept from abstract culture to meaningful adoption, and into meaningful culture.

Information Quality will eventually become an obvious mechanism individuals and organizations use to optimize communication, but until then, this is an example of how an organization will interpret IQ.

As an organization, interpret how effective your communication is:

Identifying and upholding shared values?
Mediating conflict?
Protecting victimization?

Planning projects?
Distributing roles and monitoring tasks?
Investigating expectations and delivering adequate solutions?

Using appropriate language?
Providing accessible formats?
Organizing information for comprehension?

Representing diverse perspectives?
Incorporating multi-disciplinary concepts?
Researching concepts thoroughly and unbiased?

Communicating concepts honestly?
Improving employee quality of life?
Presenting transparent motivations for action?

Guaranteeing quality of service?
Estimating the cost of service?
Conserving resources?

Presenting original concepts?
Referencing established concepts?
Differentiating your services from competitors?

Providing relevant information?
Responding to language changes?
Managing operations?

Translating culture as policy?
Transferring information?
Integrating best practices?

No weighted score is necessary, since failing to meet any one attribute will result in employee burnout, wasted resources, and lost opportunity.


What practical solutions exist to improve Information Quality in your organization?

  1. Provide organizational support to identify individuals as abstract but primary system components.
  2. Leverage the momentum of human capital by focusing individual ambition.
  3. Empower individuals to improve and optimize their role.
  4. Utilize the motivation of individuals to autonomously improve the organization's ability to communicate.

-Ryan Gensel

1 comment:

Ryan Gensel said...

This is a brief and limited introduction to this topic, its intentions is to provide context to subsequent articles.

-Ryan Gensel