My 4i System of Information Usefulness

The innovation discussed

A system to prioritize information one comes across in terms of value to oneself.


What YOU can do with this innovation

Organize the information you use better and/or more efficiently, including identifying ways each could be most useful to you… or at least how much attention you should devote to some given how swamped we are with information these days.

I LOVE a good system, being a highly systematic person. I also LOVE creating some… and improving upon them as they get used and their imperfections get exposed and corrected.

Here’s a prototype of one to classify the usefulness all the information I am absorbing, or deciding not to given I don’t have enough time to absorb it all:

  • i1Interesting – interesting to know, but pretty much just for interest’s sake.
  • i2Informative – has something which I would want to know, which should, by theory, capture interest so it’s above i1.
  • i3Insightful – more than informative in that you’re probably not going to be able find this information easily, like experiences or connection from a variety of sources of research, some of which may not be all that intuitively related.
  • i4 – Innovative – has an application that comes with it that can create change to improve something. I should note this fourth level of innovation is applicable to me (or the user) as much as it might to the outside world. Many things I learn I don’t have a chance to apply, at least not at the moment, but it could be innovation and will help keep my mindset fresh to innovate when I need to since I consider being innovative a bit like being fit physically. You have to train and work at it, even though most of the doing may not be on things that count, like many workouts to become fitter and better are not a race you do or a game you play (at least not key game). On the other hand, something innovative for many years in a place like Silicon Valley that it might be standard practice now, may be new to me or some organization I may bring it to. In that sense, it still gets classified as innovative for me as its user… and you should you choose to employ it and were in the same situation.

As for how much time to spend on each, it’s the inverse of the pyramid. The stuff that is interesting, while interesting, possibly to the point of being entertaining, is the most common kind of information we receive, by far. If we spent the most time on each piece, or maybe even the collective whole, we are depriving ourselves of time and attention better devoted to information higher in the hierarchy.


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