Maximizing the Return on Existing Knowledge

Finding Connections

Increasing Return on Existing Knowledge. Focus on tools in teaching and task execution. "Only connect," advised the great English novelist Edward Morgan Forster. This has always been a hallmark of artists, but it is equally true for great scientists. These people have an innate ability to understand connections, and part of this mystery we call "genius." However, the ability to find connections, thereby increasing the return on existing knowledge, can be learned. In time, this will be taught. The first requirement here is a methodology for problem identification – perhaps more so than a problem-solving methodology. Systematic analysis of information on the given problem is needed, as well as a problem-solving methodology based on what we call "systems research." What is needed is the "systematization of ignorance" – after all, around any problem, there is always much more ignorance than knowledge. The specialization of knowledge has become a tremendous potential activity in every field. But since knowledge is so specialized, a methodology, discipline, and process are required to realize this potential. Otherwise, the existing knowledge will not become productive; it will remain just information. To make knowledge productive, one must learn to find connections. TIP OF THE DAY Before making a decision, spend enough time defining the problem.

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