Bill Brantley points to The World is Round by Laurence (Larry) Prusak in the April 2006 HBR. Bill provides a nice review for people who don't get HBR delivered to their doorstep: Information <> Knowledge: Why Connectivity Alone Will Not Create Knowledge
They key point about this article is that confusing connectivity with knowledge is giving false measures of how competitiveness for countries such as India and China. Also, despite the fact that one-billion people have now come online, there are five-and-a-half billion people who are still on the margins of the new knowledge economy. Connectivity and information technology alone are not the solution to realizing the benefits of innovation and thus countries must spend time and resources to creating knowledge. As I argued in an earlier posting, workforce training is the new competitive imperative. And, as Prusak writes, it cannot be accomplished by just giving someone an Internet connection.
Throwing a bunch of knowledge workers together via the internet does not automatically create a smart organization. Organizations still need a goal and leadership. People need to know how they should be smart and what is expected of those zillions of interactions that are possible.
This feels similar to a discussion on the ONA Practice discussion list, where people are warning of throwing around network analysis concepts without understanding their meaning: for example, "Hire people with high centrality!"