One of my earliest memories is sitting infront of the ABC watching the Wombles of Wimbledon. For those who need a memory jog try:

“Underground, Overground, Wombling Free,

The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we.

Making good use of the things that we find,

Things that the everyday folks leave behind.

Wombles are organized, work as a team.

Wombles are tidy and Wombles are clean.

Underground, Overground, wombling free,

The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we!”

 You can imagine my disappointment years later watching tennis and not a womble to be seen. I digress. The wombles were eco-pioneers, spreading the importance of recycling, gathering other peoples’ rubbish and using it for functional needs.

The term wombling became common for collecting rubbish off the streets to use. Though goodness knows, there’s no wombles about for non-flat screen TVs…(again, a digression, anybody else’s street become a wasteland of old style TVs hanging around hoping for a new owner?). Old tattered couches find new homes within 24 hours. Weeks later, those pre – HD TVs are still littering the streets.

Which I guess, somewhat circuitously, brings me to value. What value do we place on knowledge? Has the Internet and Web2.o norms of sharing and collaborating led to a decrease in the value of knowledge?

Have we created a generation of knowledge wombles? You know people who skate along grabbing free stuff all over the place. People’s ideas of blogs, e-books, and webinars. Are we richer for this? Or dangerously diving head first into the shallow end of the thinking pool.

Content is king, and the primary driving of social media marketing. But is there an unintended consequence on the development of knowledge. Are we so used to picking up free content from others that we have lost the ability of discerning what knowledge is worth paying for? Why pay for the book when the key points are covered by some-one’s review?  Why pay for the conference ticket when you can read the blog?

Scott Gould addresses the issue from one perspective in this article , and it raises some really interesting points. While technology increases our opportunity to access more ideas, does it necessarily increase our knowledge? Does it provide a false confidence?  Or are we focusing on the ‘doing’ rather than acquisition of knowledge.

What we know from New Product Development (NPD), ideation is only the first stage. There needs to be some way of channelling, funnelling, filtering the ideas to determine which ones make it through to value add.

In a glut of ideas and free information, I use trusted people to filter the ideas and information. Trust is the new control, and maybe the currency of the knowledge economy? But if we stop paying for knowledge, are we sure that the producers will be of sufficient quality? Still thinking…would love to hear your thoughts…

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