Posted on 01 November 2011 by Mridul Chowdhury
When an organization thinks about information usage, it should ideally think about its entire life-cycle rather than just the data collection. At mPower, we think of information life-cycle as having four major components:
1) Information Gathering
2) Information Processing
3) Information Viewing
4) Information Sharing
An ideal “information plan” of an organization should cover all of the above components. It is important to realize that these components are heavily inter-dependent. So, the entire plan should be made all at once rather than piecemeal. There are numerous examples of cases where “too much information” or “too little information” is collected as a result of inadequate plan for the entire life-cycle.
The first step is to gather data from the field – just enough data based on exact definition of need. The second step is to process that data through various relevant criteria to turn it into insight. The third step is to present that insight to different actors of the system in ways that is relevant for what they do – for instance, the information view of an executive director will be very different from the view of a field manager. The fourth step is to share information up and down and laterally across the organization – a higher level manager may pass down decisions to a lower level manager, while a lower level manager may ask for feedback and instruction from an upper level manager.
The more we are working with development organizations, the more we are observing that this holistic, “life-cycle” approach to information usage is largely missing. One of our quests is to imbibe this line of thinking in these organizations in a collaborative manner.