There’s no such thing as information overload. That’s the audacious claim of the author of the Innovation Leadership Network Blog, Tim Kastelle.
Kastelle contends that there has always been too much information. It’s just that in the past, we developed methods of managing it, filtering it and working with it that were reasonably effective. What’s changed is that the volume and velocity of information we must deal with today have grown so much that our traditional methods of dealing with it don’t work any more.
That may be true up to a point. But I think we are truly facing an information glut today. The number of “channels” we need to pay attention to has expanded almost exponentially, including Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, Facebook, information streams on our mobile devices and more. But our ability to handle all of it as human beings hasn’t changed very much. We must be extremely selective about what we pay attention to, so we can find what we need and then be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, signal from noise, useless information from the nuggets that we need to do our jobs.
We need better filters
The bottom line is this: We need better filters to manage information today.Not surprisingly, I view mind mapping software as one potential solution. Here’s why:
Think about the process you follow when you’re conducting online research. Chances are, it looks something like the flow chart above. Mind mapping software is a powerful information capture tool. It then provides us with the ability to review what we’ve gathered, identify patterns and meta-categories within it, organize it into logical chunks and discard what isn’t really useful, add our interpretation to it and then share it with our key stakeholders.
What readers of this blog have to say
Data from my 2011 survey reinforces the idea that mind mapping software is a key tool for handling information overload. 52% of survey respondents reported that it’s a “significant” challenge for them. But 36%also said that their mind mapping software has helped them to a “significant extent” to manage this challenge. Another 20% called it “invaluable.”
So how about you? What tools are you using to manage information effectively?