November 7, 2009

How do you define knowledge and expertise?

Reading an advance copy of Bob Penna’s forthcoming book, The Outcomes Toolbox, I was reminded of a conversation Jim and I recently had, about the difference between knowledge and expertise.

Exploring the difference between data, knowledge, and information, Bob writes,

“Shared data can be meaningless; but shared information is priceless.

“Knowledge… is more than information: it is familiarity, awareness, and understanding.

“Knowledge is also richer and more meaningful than information: if information is data organized so that its patterns and connections are made apparent, knowledge is information placed into a person or organization’s operational framework, so that its value, relevance, place, purpose and usefulness become apparent.

“Knowledge is derived from, builds upon, and synthesizes information. It results from making comparisons, identifying consequences, and making connections. Knowledge is information enhanced by experience, wisdom, insight, instinct, judgment, and ‘rules of thumb’ developed over time through trial and error.”

And, I would define expertise as the practical, prescient, and effective application of knowledge.

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