Data drives decisions every day in government. But turning raw data into actionable insights is only the first step. How can federal agencies continually add value to the original data and end up at a higher level of understanding and impact? How can they transform those raw data points into strategic, mission-critical actions?
To answer those two questions, picture the summit of a mountain. For anyone who’s ever hiked, that’s the sweet spot. The view is spectacular, and depending on the trail’s difficulty, the grueling climb is finally over. The rest is literally downhill.
When looking at this process of turning data into wisdom visually, and learning how each component interacts with the others, we begin to understand this model and how to use it in federal agencies.
Data is Knowledge Management’s Base Camp
The big base of the mountain is data. Ideally that data turns into information which becomes knowledge which ultimately transforms into wisdom. But at the ground level, data is just a fact, figure, signal, or measurement. Just one piece of the puzzle.
Don’t underestimate the value of data, though, just because it sits at the base of our imaginary mountain. In fact many people consider data the new oil. We gather data for a reason. So in a way, wisdom and decisions are already built into the process at this level.
But without a proactive approach, data sits at the base of the mountain unstructured and unusable. That’s why at Tesla Government, we know what data to capture to spur that climb toward institutional knowledge. We help federal agencies preserve their institutional knowledge by collecting and storing their data at the outset so the right people can get the right information at the right time.
Information Transformation and Activation
Remember making inferences in fifth grade reading class by looking at context clues? That’s what happens at this stage of the process, but with fewer wizards, border collies, and bridges to Terabithia.
By asking the questions who, what, where, and when, processing and analyzing data begins. Once the data is organized, aggregated, or validated, tools like graphs and maps and charts place the information within context and give agencies a clearer picture of the data’s meaning. Information is only as good as its interpretation. And so, the climb must continue in order to reach actionable information, or knowledge, where those inferences are applied and data begins to tell a story.
Tesla’s data visualization specialists partner with federal agencies to gain valuable insight from their data and drive the decision-making process. We work on government projects all over the world that move the needle on mission progress in ways raw data never could. By answering their questions and allocating resources more effectively, our clients watch their data work for them as they see it transform into useful information.
Knowledge: Making Information Findable and Usable
Information becomes more than just a collection of facts when we ask how it will help us reach our goals. Or why it matters in the first place. At this point in our climb, we uncover relationships between pieces of information, gain deeper insight, and arrive at knowledge.
But here is where many federal agencies encounter their biggest hurdle. Obstacles like information overload, data silos, and messy shared drives get in the way of finding and sharing institutional knowledge. Time dwindles and productivity lags, making decisions slow to a crawl. Even if agencies reach the point where their data is properly organized and stored, curating and making that information findable is, for some, an insurmountable task, like moving a boulder blocking the trail.
This is when a knowledge management system becomes essential. With a knowledge management platform in place, federal agencies can share knowledge, not chaos, with various stakeholders, like other agencies, NGOs, and the public, and collaborate in a secure space that fuels faster, better decisions. With common obstacles reduced to pebbles and kicked aside, agencies reach the pinnacle of unlocking the value that sits in the information itself.
Wisdom: The Peak of Data’s Potential
Maybe you’ve heard the saying that knowledge is knowing tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put one in a fruit salad. In other words, knowledge is wisdom applied in action. So whether we’re talking about fruit salads or a federal agency’s data strategy, success means we scale knowledge up to the wisdom of smart decisions and actions. (While we’re at it, let’s not add bananas to fruit salad either.)
Armed with new knowledge and meaningful connections, we finally arrive at the peak of wisdom, where a clear picture of the area can be seen for miles. Here federal agencies have data that supports their missions. Whether they need to deliver a message or prove a point, now they can with facts and information to back them up.
But beyond just making smarter decisions, this is also where smarter collaboration comes into sharp focus. Other agencies and organizations are asking the same questions, writing similar reports, and reviewing the same data sets. Why not get everyone working in the same direction?
Our community building experts at Tesla bring relevant parties together in a real-time, collaborative, and data-rich environment. The result? A broader knowledge network that blazes the trail toward better solutions and outcomes for everyone.
Let Tesla Government Be Your Guide
Nhat Hanh says “In the mountain of wisdom, no climbing is in vain.” Whether we’re talking about hiking a tumultuous trail or transforming raw data into powerful institutional knowledge, the climb to the top is difficult. Obstacles abound. But is it worth the effort? Just ask anyone who’s reached the breathtaking peak: Every time.
Are you looking to climb that mountain toward institutional knowledge and wisdom? Let the experts at Tesla Government be your guide.