In my view, information overload is at the heart of stressful corporate cultures. It can be both a symptom of chaos and the disease itself. I can almost guarantee that no one you talk to has a clue what to do about it. It seems embedded, enterprise-wide . . . and everyone’s too stressed to tackle it.
I’m going to run a series of posts that hone in on specific solutions, from an outstanding IABC publication, “Preparing Messages for Information Overload Environments,” by Martin Eppler and Jeanne Mengis.
To start off, I thought this breakdown of what makes up overload was pretty cool. It’s more than just quantity.
How much? Intensity: number of messages per time unit
Quantity: number of messages and amount of information per message
What kind? Uncertainty of information . . . sources are unclear, evidence is contradictory
Ambiguity of information . . . multiple interpretations are possible and equally likely
Diversity of information . . . similar information is in different styles and formats
Novelty of information . . . new and unknown insights in unusual style or format
Complexity of information . . . number of info items and interrelations are high
It would seem the solution is just “simplification.” But stay tuned.
I’m available to consult with you or your business if you’d like to do a specific analysis of your own communication environment and pilot some solutions.