Hello folks,

In this article we present an overlook of 4 pivotal concepts for the upcoming publications on the blog. We are going to explore the notion of data, information, knowledge and wisdom, which are associated to different levels of innovation potential (the capacity of transforming reality). We portrayed this on the image below:

We understand that two forces, complexity and value, respectively positioned in the vertical and horizontal coordinates, sustain the Innovation Potential. Therefore, the more on top right corner the higher the potential of innovation impact.

Besides the scale of to potential reality transformation, the graph also points out elements related to the human and computational elements according to each level within the scale.

Following are the meanings of each color elements;

  • Dark blue – Human with your senses, practices and experiences.
  • Orange – Enhancers’ elements of innovation.
  • Green – Potential development phases of innovation to the decision-making.
  • Light blue – Digital tools and computers that serve to support human labor, defined here as cognitive prostheses, which help us to perform creative tasks in increasing complexity.

To define each of the elements of innovation enhancers (data, information, knowledge and wisdom), we will use a thermometer as metaphor.

02 - termometro

Looking at the figure, what can we infer from it? What is data, information and knowledge on it? Thus, what possible conclusions can we draw from the reading of a thermometer (intuition and wisdom)?

 In this case, there is the following description for each enhancers innovation elements:

  • Data – the signs that are not interpreted, the lowest grain and the raw material of the knowledge scale. They arise from what we experience (life events) and what is captured by our senses and by electronic devices. In the example, the 36.2 number is just a number or a sign. Data could also be characters such as “@”, “T”, “——-” and so on.
  • Information – is a set of data organized within a scale, showing a series of grouped events (data). The thermometer’s letter “C” (Celsius) is the scale, which could also be represented by Fahrenheit degrees, however, it would have different values. We humans, somehow, memorize the data obtained by the senses (organizing and classifying into a scale), on the other hand, computing systems retain data in lists, spreadsheets, documents, databases, among others.
  • Knowledge – is a type of contextual information that can change something or someone, being somehow justified. Knowing the temperature of 38 degrees (given) on the Celsius scale (information) that indicates the person has a fever (average temperature of a healthy person is 36.4 degrees) thus, some action must be taken. We humans can reflect on an issue and make a decision, on the other hand, computer systems use algorithms for this; both are based on data and information. An algorithm, for example, can find products consumption patterns in a supermarket or be used to improve the traffic of a city.
  • Wisdom – placed at the top of the scale, the wisdom becomes subjective and seemingly irrational (illogical) composed by complex series of arguments that navigate quickly through the previous three phases. What treatment should be applied to patients suffering fever? People with great experience can give wise counsel. In computer systems we use instruments to connect data from different areas to bring increasingly intelligent answers (Web 3.0, also known as the Semantic Web).

In this article we provide a bit o Aquarela’s views on the notions of data, information, knowledge and wisdom. Although there are a lot of debate on the topic its consensus is still on the way. In particular, the knowledge presented here are useful and will be the foundation stone to explain how the path of Web 3.0 is being paved by Big Data and the Linked Open Data in our point of view. For those who want to know more about the subjects covered in this article, we bring some reading suggestions following.


  • GETTIER, E. L. Is justified true belief knowledge? Analysis, [S.l.], v. 23, n. 6, p. 121–123, 1963.
  • DRUCKER, P. F. The new realities. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2003.
  • SANTOS, Marcos. Um modelo para a gestão colegiada orientada ao significado por meio da realização de PCDAs. Dissertação (Mestrado em Engenharia e Gestão do Conhecimento). Programa de Engenharia e Gestão do Conhecimento, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianópolis, 2003. Disponível em <http://btd.egc.ufsc.br/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Marcos_Henrique_dos_Santos.pdf>.