Building Wisdom to Face Change

Building Wisdom to Face Change

It goes without saying, but we do indeed live in a changing world. It seems as though the pace of change is speeding up and that the future is looking increasingly uncertain.

Consider how quickly ChatGPT, a new technology, took to become a mainstream talking point compared with other “new technologies” from years past. ChatGPT tool just 2 months to have 100 million users, compared with 18 months for YouTube, over 4 years for Facebook and more than 10 years for Netflix.

Consider too, changes in commerce with the increasing ubiquity of digital technologies for purchasing goods and services, or the changes that we are witnessing in the climate across the world, or even the growing fractiousness in public debate.

As a futurist, how should I think about this? As an association leader, what should your response be?

A good place to start might be with a reference from curator Maxime Lagace: “Fools avoid change at all costs. The wise embrace it. They know it’s part of life.”

Wisdom, then, is the starting point in facing change.

But how do you build the wisdom necessary to successfully lead your association through all this change? A good model to use is the “DIKW Wisdom Hierarchy”. DIKW – data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. Wisdom, reflected in decisions and conversations, is built on knowledge. Knowledge, which is a reflection of understanding, is in turn built on information. Finally, these two lower layers of information and data. Information is defined as the description of collected data.  

Thus, the collection and use of data is the foundation on which to build wisdom.

For any organisation the data to be collected is in digital and analogue forms. It’s what is held in spreadsheets and databases. It’s what comes from sensors and other technological inputs. But it is also found in facts and in physical observations. And, for those seeking to collect a richer set of data to inform about the future, it’s in observations that include scanning for pockets of the future in the present.

This DIKW Wisdom hierarchy is a way to create value from your data. A way to build wisdom from the gathered raw and unprocessed evidence. A way to transform data into wisdom through the processes of description and understanding.

For it is this building of wisdom that will help guide your organisation in the face of a changing world.

Paul Tero

M: 0419 862 078