The Information Cycle is a learning model where:
a person or organisation asks a question and offers direction on their information requirement
They then collect information
They then collate the information
They then analyse the information and interpret the results
They then produce an outcome based on that analysis such as a decision or a request for more information.
The process can then start over as more knowledge is demanded. This is a useful model for acquiring and building knowledge and can be used for many things, from managing operations to conducting business intelligence and competitive intelligence.
An illustrative example
More often than not, this first cycle leads on to secondary and tertiary requirements.
A simple, illustrative example of this could be someone that wants to set up a coffee shop.
Directing Information Requirements: One of the first things the future coffee shop proprietor might want to know is, 'where are my competitors located locally?'. We call this, an 'information requirement'.
Collecting information: The aspiring coffee shop owner could collect information by wandering the streets or by looking on Google Maps.
Collating Data: He or she could collate that data, using a pen and paper, or by using software such as ours to structure the data by space and attribute.
Analysing the information: The budding coffee shop owner would then analyse the results and look for the best location for their new venture.
Producing an outcome: Finally, the product would be a decision, such as where to situate the new shop.
More often than not, the first round of questions creates the need for more information. In the case of the coffee shop owner, he or she might realise that it would be useful to categorise the various coffee shops in the area, listing them by chain, or by speciality, for example. Hence, the cycle. The process starts over and more knowledge is acquired. A third cycle could begin when the owner realises it would be useful to know at what price people are selling coffee.
It's not uncommon for people to repeat this cycle again and again until they are happy that their knowledge has been maximised.
The 'Information Cycle' forms the backbone of our model. The component parts are modular and can be used independently or in whole as part of our software package.