- The common view (that I’ve written about before) is that we’re reaching an information overload breaking point
- But it turns out that humans have been complaining consistently about information overload since at least the 15th century
- Information overload is very real at an individual level, but each generation deals better than the past. So good individual coping strategies are more important than system wide responses
The common view is that we’re about to hit breaking point for executive information overload
I talk about information overload a lot with Australian executives. I’ve never had a high level exec tell me that they’re not suffering from information/email overload.
I know that if I want to get a group of executives nodding along all I need to do is show this chart from Boston Consulting Group:
It always gets us onto talking about how the current rate of growth in complexity and information just can’t continue.
The conversation typically goes something like this:
- “Look at the growth in complexity, it’s exponential!”
- “That’s what it feels like trying to keep up with emails on a day-to-day basis”
- “Growth in complexity just can’t continue at this rate. It’s just not possible”
- “Humans aren’t like computers that obey Moore’s law. We can’t just upgrade – we’ve got basically fixed cognitive capacity”
- “Something has to change dramatically soon, because we’re about to hit a breaking point”