Part 1 – The Basics

We’ve come to use a concept known as the ‘KID’ operating model quite a bit throughout the years of Xentity. Presentations, papers, and even a blog here and there. It might sound similar to the DIKW pyramid (data, information, knowledge, wisdom). But we really want to offer new perspectives. The whole point of the KID model (which is just DIKW but in reverse and without the W) is to fuse data, information and knowledge practices with new ways of doing business in the knowledge economy and governance. In doing so, organizations are able to provide better workforce utilization and mature towards higher quality decision-making and identify opportunities for the future. But that is just the high-level definition of the concept.

It is way more than just a reversal of a different term. KID is a mindset that seeks to improve how we approach the creation of knowledge and change the thought process of organizations. Please join us for a series of blogs where we discuss KID, its most basic concepts, the mindset it brings, and where it can take people in the future.

The Three Most Basic, Crucial Terms

First thing’s first, we need to get some important terminology out of the way. The three “letters” in KID.

K – Knowledge

Knowledge is understanding and experience. It refers to the relevant and objective information gained through experience. This typically happens as information is processed and analyzed whether by a machine or a human being.

I – Information

Information is processed, organized, structured or presented data that is made useful in a given context. It is singular and must be relevant.

D – Data

Data is raw, unorganized facts that require processing. They are individual, raw facts and have meaning. However, they are also not quite information, even though they relay something specific.


Next, we will provide a basic understanding of KID and DIKW. Or rather, KID vs DIKW. The first thing you need to know is that KID, compared to DIKW, is a fundamental recognition in this day and age we don’t know or have access to all we need or can know that is potentially relevant to our needs. KID is a mindset where you consider how you approach problems and accept that you don’t always know the questions you need to ask. In other words, as our knowledge world evolves rapidly you need to address the foundation from which you build your institutional knowledge.

Think for a moment about the order of things, how you bring the parts together. D-I-K-W means Data, Information, Knowledge and then Wisdom. This means typical workflows exist to use data, transform it to information and eventually aid in the creation of knowledge. That in turn, when adopted as a prescription for behavior and action, leads to newfound wisdom. However, KID looks at the workflow in reverse and therefore challenges you to find solutions differently. Problems are not always clear and are becoming less and less a function of one’s organization. Because of that, KID challenges us to think about knowledge orientation, rather than just exploiting a data system. In other words, knowledge at the beginning and data at the end.

But Why KID?

There are a few more basics you need to understand about KID before we can get into the real meat of this concept. The first is the idea that you can examine KID as an ecosystem with exchanges entering and exiting. It is inclusive of your data and information assets. However, it is also driven from and extends beyond your data and information infrastructure. Taken directly from our KID Paper, “KID is an overarching architecture design encompassing a series of complementary and intentionally overlapping operating models supporting strategic and operational awareness use cases.” The KID ecosystem supports agile and iterative tool development. It discovers patterns, provides experimentation, corrects data quality issues and identifies gaps. Through this governance model, KID not only provides greater data quality but the ecosystem to affect knowledge.

What a KID Ecosystem Does for You

KID as an ecosystem allows for dynamic edge effects to be developed and alter an organization’s basic understanding. One’s knowledge view is often constrained by the current limits of corporate data holdings. KID then creates the conflicts at the edges of the ecosystem where discovery can occur. The ecosystem also allows for the data to be accessed and analyzed in its rawest forms with the transformations that are essential to the needs of transactional type systems. If the data quality is bad, or doesn’t effectively represent what the data means, the information that contextualizes the data is going to be bad. As a result, the knowledge you receive from the organization of that information is going to be bad as a result. Not very wise, right?

Instead, use KID to build a decent foundation of knowledge, leading to stronger contextualized information as well as providing for higher quality data. And THEN you can take that data to formulate the knowledge you desire. KID does not replace established concepts and strategies. It improves and reorients them.

But That’s Only Scratching The Surface More Than Anything, KID is a Mindset

This is the second time we’ve brought up the idea that KID is a mindset. This is probably the best way to define what KID is, hence why we saved it for last. KID really is a state of mind, starting with how you think of yourself. Xentity has performed several services and contracts during its 20 years of existence. Many of those contracts were for federal organizations. We are proud to say we have attempted to introduce this mindset into many federal organizations with decent success.

But back on how you think of yourself, it is indeed extremely crucial. Let’s think of a hypothetical scenario that may or may not be real. Let’s say that you’re a transportation agency that’s looking to make more roads or a ten-lane highway. Data says making more roads or highways with more lanes can help out in traffic, right? But what happens when the roads are worn out? Or what if traffic did not improve? You’ve pretty much just thrown a lot of money at a solution without even considering what the real, permanent solution is.

Or if you want a different scenario, think about the land across this country. Oil wells in Wyoming, ten years from now, could be running into some sort of issue. You could certainly look at what happened on land for the past 50 years and come up with a thousand possible solutions. But, what would happen if you went through a hundred and failed before you actually got the right one. You just wasted a lot of money failing a hundred times. Instead, you could have taken the time to build up a knowledge base that could have given you the one correct solution that would have helped you get it right the first time.

The New Way of Thinking

What did these two hypothetical scenarios have in common? They both constantly repeated the problem without getting to the source. They spent so much time throwing out and doing what they could and could not do, they never stopped to consider whether they should or should not do it. Again, garbage in, garbage out.

Every case is different, so you have to go into it accepting that you most likely don’t know everything you need to know. Therefore, you cannot “push a button” and fix everything. What KID attempts to accomplish is to turn agencies and organizations away from merely “button pushing” to implement a solution that may not work. Instead, they transform into groups who think of the “situation at hand”. We at Xentity want to use KID to transform entire cultures into thinkers who solve problems at the source by building a strong knowledge base of the problem that becomes information. This then allows for the creation of data needed to solve said problem. That is KID at its highest and most basic level.

What We Will Discuss Over the Course of the Series of Posts

Again, this is only the high-level explanation of KID. There is a lot more that goes into understanding KID concepts than just giving a few definitions, the basics, and why it exists. We could do a series of blogs discussing KID concepts. In fact, we plan to do just that. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we will talk about the Operating Models and Major Advantages KID brings.