Information Overload Awareness Day

“What can we do to call more attention to the problem of Information Overload?” is a question I hear almost daily from managers at companies who have recognized the extent to which the problem impacts their organizations.  As of now, I have a much better answer than I previously had: participate in Information Overload Awareness Day, a new workplace observance that calls attention to the problem of information overload and how it impacts both individuals and organizations.

Yes, you can wear a button or a T-shirt (we’ll have those next week) but that’s only the first step.  On August 12, the day we’ve set aside to focus our attention on the problem, we are holding an online event that will permit us to do a deep dive into different ways that Information Overload is adversely impacting knowledge work and knowledge workers while also spotlighting possible solutions to help managers and policymakers cope with loss of productivity.

Information Overload describes an excess of information that results in the loss of ability to make decisions, process information, and prioritize tasks.  Organizations of all shapes and sizes have already been significantly impacted by it; according to our research the problem costs the U.S. economy $900 billion per year in lowered productivity and throttled innovation.

The event features a variety of speakers including noted authors Maggie Jackson (“Distracted”) and Mike Song (“The Hamster Revolution”), executives from such companies as Dow Jones and Morgan Stanley, a CIO from the U.S. Air Force, and Nathan Zeldes, president of the Information Overload Research Group and the former executive in charge of addressing the problem at Intel.  (I’ll be there too, of course.)

While a few people put their heads in the sand and say this is not a real problem, the costs are quite real and the problem is only going to get worse.  By 2012, the typical knowledge worker will receive hundreds of messages each day via e-mail, IM, text, and social networks.

Simply put, companies need to focus on what can be done to lessen information overload’s impact right now.  We’ll look at the latest research and solutions and cover areas including managing e-mail, calculating Information Overload exposure, improving search, and managing content, just to name a few.

The cost of the event is $50; attendees who promise not to multi-task (i.e. IM, e-mail, or text) during the event will receive a 50% discount.

Companies are invited to sponsor Information Overload Awareness Day by enrolling as Designated Sites.  This allows all of their employees to attend at no charge and demonstrates their commitment to helping solve the problem.

Tweet this: Information Overload Awareness Day Aug. 12; event to present latest research and solutions; http://www.informationoverloadday.com/

Jonathan B. Spira is the CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.

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