“How does Information Overload impact you?” is a question I’ve been asking knowledge workers for quite some time. In the past six months, I began to capture their answers with a high-definition video camera. If you think Information Overload isn’t really a big deal, see what the people I interviewed, including senior executives from IBM, NBC, RIM, and Siemens, have to say. The answers may surprise you.
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 information overload: the problem costs the U.S. economy $900 billion per year in lower productivity and throttled innovation according to Basex.
Basex produced Information Overload – The Movie to illustrate the impact that the problem has on knowledge workers of all levels. From top managers to administrative assistants, to knowledge workers in the trenches, information overload has a detrimental effect on our ability to perform at our best, leading to poor decision-making, slow project completion and stifled idea generation. By 2010, the average number of corporate e-mail messages received per person per day is expected to reach 93. Meanwhile, individual knowledge workers lose as much as 28 percent of the day due to unnecessary interruptions.
Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.