Only 5-9 things 

Suzette Bailey // March 8 // 0 Comments

Decades of research have found that, on average, most people can only hold about 7 things (plus or minus 2) in their short-term memory at once. 

Whether this is a shopping list or the decisions in an important work meeting, our memories are a limiting factor as to how many things we can remember at one time. 

We’ve developed a lot of workarounds to address this, from rote learning using repetition to move information into our long-term memory where it becomes ‘second nature’ (like multiplication tables), using word associations to help remember names at a cocktail party (visualising a flower to remember someone named Daisy), or writing copious amounts of notes to both reinforce what you’re hearing at the time and provide a reference for later. 

However even with all these techniques, much of what we see and hear literally ‘go in one ear and out the other’, making it impossible to access later when we might need it. 

So when it comes to producing business documents, whether it be sales proposals, compliance materials or training courses, we often rely on referencing older documents, templates and libraries even when we have years of experience writing them. 

Think about how different your work life would be if you had instant recall of everything important that you needed, at the time you needed it. Not exactly a perfect memory, where you remember everything all the time, but a memory that worked for you, giving you exactly the references and information you needed when you needed to use it. 

A few people might be able to train their memories to work this way, but for the rest of us, it’s something we probably need external help with. And that’s the basis for a lot of the tools we use in the office today – from search engines to file systems – ways to help us organise content so that what we need can be easily and quickly accessed when we need it. 

However, these tools don’t always deliver what we need. It’s estimated that knowledge workers can spend up to 20% of their time – a day each week – searching for information they need inside their organisation. And that’s on top of the time it takes to find, engage and get information from internal experts. 

Plus we often don’t know what we don’t know (or at least can’t remember it), so in many cases, we don’t know where to search, or even whether certain information exists to be discovered. 

Even when organisations are incredibly diligent in keeping records of everything they do, staff may not be aware of projects and initiatives that were undertaken before they joined or what other business areas are doing today. 

Clearly, this is a problem for organisations, with staff working from their personal narrow range of memory and the immediate resources they can access. This often leads to rework, the reinvention of the wheel, or the relearning of lessons, rather than building on lessons from the past. 

So how do we solve it? More records and more communication? More search tools and more training courses? 

Unfortunately repeating more of the same doesn’t get past that hard limit of 7 things (plus or minus 2) that humans can hold in short-term memory. 

However, there is light on the horizon. To get past this challenge all that is needed is to address the 7 things limit, to have team members who can instantly recall all relevant knowledge on a topic as and when required. 

This is where reKnow’s AI comes in. Artificial Intelligence isn’t limited to remembering 7 things at once. In fact, AI can access all of its knowledge in seconds and use it to produce business documents in minutes. Then human teams can take over to edit and polish documents using 100% of the knowledge of the organisation. 

In this way, AI is a game-changer for organisations. It bypasses the 7 things limits to keep all of an organisation’s hard-won corporate knowledge in memory when needed, at the fingertips of decision-makers and teams. 

If you’d like to explore what it’s like to have all your corporate knowledge ready to use at any time, reach out for a demo. 

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