Bill Gates on the Future of Information Democracy – Issues 2006 –

Bill Gates notes a few interesting tid bits about the changing dynamic of knowledge, successful workers and companies & Software’s role in complementing new needs.

Key point include the idea that managing knowledge is less about stuffing more info in our brains from a how to manual or a dummy’s guide to walking in a straight line and chewing bubble gum at the same time.

As Bill loosely puts it, knowledge is a derivative of information. Ergo the hard facts interpreted with your personal experiences, the context of situations, people, systems etc, the interpretation of all of these things together and then reflection or reconsideration of the information.

What is not discussed is the idea that reflection expands when we begin to assess how the knowledge would fit into new situations.

Mind Mapping allows us to take a Knowledge Snap Shot, of what we know or think we know about an information set a fixed point in time. We can then grow this snap shot into a slide show as we had additional shots. If we had enough shots rapidly enough the effect starts to feel fluid like a motion picture feels fluid as the frames of knowledge are captured almost at the rate at which we begin to ‘Know’ them.

Sometimes we later go into our snap shot or slide show and we edit the picture, just as we might in adobe. We add or take away from the layers as we re-interpret, reflect and make changes according to a new context or setting or additional information.

The significant management break through with a mind map (yes I know its at least 40 years old if not 10 centuries or 4 millennia depending on whom is attributed with the concept) is that the linkages from Information Item C -> kernel of knowledge A -> kernel of knowledge B -> Information Item D are drawn out such that we can trigger the memory of how to associate the information to our knowledge in one area to our knowledge in another area and the information it relates to.

This all helps us communicate more effectively.

We benefit from having a more efficient, organized inner dialogue, slightly amplified by software tools, and maybe more importantly we benefit from being able to hold a more concise dialogue externally with others as we direct others through the map of our information/knowledge flow.

Bill further talks about some new software designed to watch how a worker works and then make relative suggestions. This is just an amplification of the mindmapping process, whereby we watch our selves work, map it, consider it and add knowledge and then through viewing the big picture of our actions and the related nodes, we make our own suggestions of how to improve.

We’re basically talking about how to draw out the thought process of making what on the surface appears to be an intuitive leap, but what our brain knows to be a connection of synapses firing to point us towards a likely outcome.

Its a goal that has been shared by people for quite a long time from students of cabala to natural philosophers of the 18th & 19th century. We’re trying to cut down to the root of how ideas relate to each other and find a way to speed our thought process along more efficiently and much more quickly.

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