Monday, March 20, 2006

Knowledge and Wisdom

As a KM practitioner, consultant and lecturer, I am always asked by new students

What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

As at today's date, Wikipedia defines knowledge and wisdom as:

'Knowledge' is information of which someone is aware. Knowledge is also used to mean the confident understanding of a subject, potentially with the ability to use it for a specific purpose.

'Wisdom' is the ability to make correct judgments and decisions. It is an intangible quality gained through experience some think. Yet others think it is a quality that even a child, otherwise immature, may possess independent of experience or complete knowledge.


Let me also throw in a few personal definitions :

1. we communicate information to one another (one person's knowledge is another person's information)

2. learning is the process of turning information into knowledge

3. we build and apply knowledge (wisely or unwisely, specialised and generalised)

4. knowledge can be relative to other knowledge, within a specific and specialised domain, with a time limit on the value of the content (which can change)

4. wisdom is valuable knowledge that is timeless and changeless and can be applied across different domains

This is an interesting debate that KM practitioners continually face. Do you have any further comments, challenges or opinions about these definitions in the specific context of Knowledge Management in Organisations?

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