Knowledge is power: Discuss

‘Knowledge is power’ is a common phrase in business, often attributed to the philosopher Francis Bacon, and often used with slightly malevolent undertones. Headhunters have traded on it for years: their knowledge of the market and the candidates, all in little black books. But the market is changing. And so is the knowledge that people want.

The hierarchy of knowledge, or the DIKW Pyramid (Data – Information – Knowledge – Wisdom), defines the process of how wisdom (or great decision making) is reached. However, an article from HBR written almost ten years ago points out that gaining actionable knowledge is a much more complex process than simply distilling information. It is more ‘social, goal-driven, contextual, and culturally bound’.

We recognise that the needs and wants of both candidates and clients are changing: the culture of a firm is as important, if not more so, than a huge uplift in salary. People want to work with ethically and morally sound organisations, organisations that care as much about their CSR activity as their profit. The old-fashioned, transactional approach to acquiring talent simply no longer works.

Our Research & Insight practice works with clients differently: we challenge them, partnering with them to identify exactly what they need (not always what they want, or thought they needed). The key drivers mentioned above – social, goals, context, and culture – are all essential elements to understand before any hire or company decision involving talent is made. We are not transactional in our approach. Our aim is to de-risk and pre-inform. By approaching any talent challenge from this angle, you will obtain the knowledge that allows you to make the right decision (and achieve the apex of wisdom).

Knowledge is power. The right actionable knowledge leads to the right talent decision and a more powerful and profitable business.

If you would like to find out more about Research & Insight and how we have deployed it on behalf of other clients, or to perhaps discuss a specific assignment, please do not hesitate to contact Jacqui Pinnell, Group Head of Research & Insight on +44 (0) 0207 484 0080 or via for an initial confidential discussion.