Information Democracy is an admirable goal, and something, it would seem, almost everyone would aspire to. But that is not the case. If it were simply a matter of applying technology to achieve Information Democracy, I have no doubt that many organizations would be enjoying its benefits today. But technology—as is always true with important changes in management philosophy and practice—is just one component of making Information Democracy work.
One problem lies in misconceptions about what Information Democracy really means. As I previously defined it, Information Democracy is a principle of equality that demands actionable insight for all. What may not be obvious from this definition is that Information Democracy is intended first and foremost to promote the good of the organization. It does this by empowering individuals, and in this way it is similar to political democracy. But there are some conceptual differences that cause the analogy to break down rather quickly.
Political democracy is intended to ensure equality for all citizens, and in so doing promote the common good of a nation. In Information Democracy, users have access to all the information and capabilities they need to do their jobs—which promotes the common good—but not equal access to all the information and capabilities present in the organization. Confusion about this distinction may cause organizations—and especially top management—to be wary of Information Democracy.