The knowledge hill characterizes the process of first learning and then doing. On the left side, we ascend the learning curve, on the right we execute. Our uphill/downhill image is intentional. In general, learning takes more time and effort than executing on what we know.
Knowledge is information with causal power. Below is a diagram of how knowledge emerges—you’ll likely recognize the pattern (depends on diagram). Simply put data—both qualitative and quantitative—are unstructured. But when we take a perspective, a point of view, we turn data into information. When that information enables us to cause things to happen, it is knowledge. (Do I need a brief example/elaboration?)
The knowledge hill is useful to understand whether we’ve gained the minimum effective knowledge to bring about a desired outcome. For example, if someone asks if we’ve shipped a product, and we respond with “no, but we learned a lot,” we have not reached the critical point in our knowledge. The real world consistently requires us to reach these minima.