Archive for December, 2005

Social Physics

I listened to this podcast this morning. I’m not sure I agree with the value of attempting to codify trust in electronic social networks, however what he’s talking about seems a huge leap ahead from Linked In, Friendster and the like. His work seems very grounded in an understanding of complexity. It seems to me to have some real potential in terms of digital identities, and what he’s calling the emerging ‘social web’. There’s more info at

Science in the web age

The science journal Nature has just published a set of articles on the use of blogs, wikis, and web services in sharing information in the research community. This one I found particularly interesting as it goes into some of the reasons why uptake in the science community has so far been very low. The usual suspects of course – fear it won’t be seen as formal or appropriate enough by peers, fears of research ideas being taken by others etc. This does seem to be changing however, and appears to be leading to bigger audiences for the early adopters, and more cross disciplinary exposure of ideas.

KMAP 2005

Earlier this week I went to the KM Asia Pacific conference, held at Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand. The theme of the conference was “Building a Knowledge Society: Linking Government, Business, Academia and the Community”. As such there was a lot of talk about using KM methods in the policy and e-government arena. I’m starting to get fascinated by the potential for cross sector KM. In my work in the environmental research and management sector in NZ I think we’re starting to achieve some gains, but we’re still very much at the first generation of KM, in terms of connecting up data and information systems. Highlights of the conference were:

  • Jane Fountain’s keynote “Can Government be a Catalyst for the Knowledge Society”.
  • The workshop on “Bridging the Policy-Technology Divide: Developments in NZ Public Sector Information Management” organised by SPEAR. This was a superb example of ‘unconferencing’ a highly interactive workshop session in the midst of a very ‘lecture’ style conference.
  • Meeting David Rooney, a truly lovely and insightful man, and hearing his theories on Wisdom Management. I don’t yet quite buy his distinction between wisdom and knowledge, but it’s a very useful debate to be having I think.
  • Dave Snowden’s closing keynote on “Co-Evolutionary Approaches to Inter-Disciplinary and Cross Silo Knowledge Creation”, in which he roundly challenged the hypothesis driven methods of academics, practioners and managers. His argument was that the current process of industry ‘experimenting’ and then academics studying those experiments to elicit ‘best practice’ is just too slow in today’s world. He advocated a proactive rather than retrospective approach to research in which research co-evolves with practice, and is done in real world contexts, in organisations, rather than as external observation.
We need to start from the cold blooded premise that almost everyone is a genius - not that almost everyone is worthless.
John Taylor Gatto