Information Rot and Instability
Leadership lessons from Menelaus and the Shape-Shifting Proteus
Information rot and instability in complex human systems
I was advising some colleagues and sharing my experience on how to use sense-making to understand and manage complex situations. Sense-making is a distributed ethnographic approach that relies on brief stories or anecdotes. Participants recount their experiences and respond to questions, adding layers of meaning to the narrative. This qualitative and quantitative data aids in detecting patterns and forming a coherent understanding of the context, ultimately guiding decision-making and actions.
One crucial aspect I emphasized was that the stories are subject to decay. I noted that such information rots and becomes less useful, valuable, and actionable. Drawing from my past experience with sense-making projects, I estimate that the useful half-life of this information is approximately one month. This means that if you gather 1000 storie…
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