In any new era, many people are often overwhelmed by discomfort and alienation. Socio-economic, cultural-societal and technological changes go hand in hand, bringing a certain amount of unease. Thanks to the breakthrough of Big Data – the first in Big Science – knowledge has become a socio-economic as much as a cultural-societal force in the digital age. No longer should we regard knowledge statically as power, but dynamically as a force, a lever. Letting Wisdom Percolate Through In the well-known pyramid of data-information-knowledge-wisdom, it is currently wise to fully integrate the first three layers and to let wisdom percolate through, so to speak. Wisdom then, means knowing how to deal adequately with the whole body of data, information and knowledge. A hundred years ago, in The Scientific Principles of Management, the iconic Frederick Taylor advocated a “scientific” approach to entrepreneurship by transforming data and information into knowledge about the way in which production in factories could be organized in an optimum manner. Nowadays we must apply that insight primarily to the digital knowledge of markets and individuals that we can obtain at will from various mostly unstructured sources. Age of Enlightenment Revisited Continuing the developmental line and the role of science of previous centuries, the challenge lies in the extent to which the new period of Big Data Enlightenment on the basis of an intimate relationship between Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) will be able to transport our socio-economic and cultural-societal life to a new prosperous level. Already in 2014, we can anticipate the start of the so-called Web of the World. At around that time, we expect approximately 1 trillion devices to be linked to the Internet. At the beginning of 2011, the Internet hosted 255 million websites and, of the 7 billion people on earth, 2 billion were online. As such, the ecosystem of web pages, people and devices is rapidly becoming a reliable predictor of the way in which diverse developments will mature. Millions, Billions and Trillions The factor 1000, which we currently perceive between the core numbers of the three web stages is, in conjunction with the totally different potential of the corresponding interacting entities (sites/pages, people/behavior and devices/sensors), an indication of the immense influx of the so-called Big Data that will be collected, stored, processed, shared and exploited. This will lead ubiquitously to a historical increase in information and knowledge, causing many people already to envisage a new period of Enlightenment. Three Simple Qs Three simple questions to the 21st-century organization can initiate the deliberation that is necessary to embark, well prepared, upon this path of Big Data Enlightenment:
- Is your Business Intelligence taking Big Data into account?
- Are you capable of switching from speed to realtime?
- Are you prepared to make the necessary organizational changes?