Ever heard of the DIKW pyramid? It stands for the Data / Information / Knowledge / Wisdom pyramid. Sometimes it is also referenced as “DIKW Hierarchy”, “Wisdom Hierarchy”, “Knowledge Hierarchy”, “Information Hierarchy” or “Knowledge Pyramid”.
Although it is uncertain when and by whom those relationships were first presented, the ubiquity of the notion of a hierarchy is embedded in the use of the acronym DIKW as a shorthand representation for the data-to-information-to-knowledge-to-wisdom transformation.
Data is conceived of as symbols or signs, representing stimuli or signals. Information is defined as data that are endowed with meaning and purpose. Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, expert insight and grounded intuition that provides an environment and framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information. It originates and is applied in the minds of knowers. In organizations it often becomes embedded not only in documents and repositories but also in organizational routines, processes, practices and norms. Wisdom is the ability to increase effectiveness. Wisdom adds value, which requires the mental function that we call judgment. The ethical and aesthetic values that this implies are inherent to the actor and are unique and personal.
Imagine the string “WifiPassword”. The string alone is data. Understanding that it is a string is information. Knowing it is your wifi password is knowledge. And using is to access your wireless is wisdom.