Emergence through energy?

Chaos can be such an incredibly ordered state of things. These days, on the professional front, I am running from a workshop in Benin to a working group meeting for the project ‘IKM Emergent’ (http://ikmemergent.wordpress.com), from the organisation of a symposium on sector learning in the WASH sector to initial discussions around an IRC internal working group on innovative communication. And professionally, running from a stag night (and mine at that!) in Amsterdam to a catch up in London with a friend I met recently, punctuated by discussions for the wedding preparation with my ‘better half’ and good times with friends…

An incredible mix of emotions and of reflections. And the more mixed, the more related it seems… of the obscure workings of chaos. A sense of connectedness to this world and a sense of realising the unity of all my interactions with other human beings, of my emotions with theirs, and of interactions of each other’s thoughts…

What is it about chaos, complexity, patterns, emergence that make it sound so real while we are still at a stage of poorly characterising it, let alone making deep sense of it? I believe it is that deep feeling of whole interconnectedness that really gives weight to chaos theory and to emergent issues. Feeling that all small talks and actions, larger initiatives and projects, philosophy of life and epistemological framework actually reverberate the same patterns… the fractal of my life HERE and NOW.

A Persian rug (courtesy of VISTA on FlickR), perhaps one of the oldest forms of fractals

Connecting energies and emerging together

Connecting energies and emerging together

In all these activities, I have also come to think that the liquid or flow that perhaps provokes transition phases (a physical term which, applied to development work would mean that it instigates social change) is the energy that one absorbs  from others and reverberates back to them.

In sharing knowledge, emotions, thoughts, we seem to all connect to the same grid and let a kind of human electricity pass on through the grid. Perhaps the emergent patterns that we observe are a product of these social transactions.

Now that leads me to a discussion I started (and unfortunately ended too early) with a colleague on how we approach our work and interactions with others. His stance is to engage with people that are least likely to respond and engage because they are part of the ‘issue’ that one is trying to change and they perceive your action as a threat. My stance is rather to rapidly identify existing energies (geared towards similar goals as mine), to connect with them and to try to effect and expand to others through them. Where does that lead, what are relative merits of one or the other approach, how could it possibly link with complexity and chaos… the investigation has just started…

The Giraffe

This is the blog of working group 3 from the IKM Emergent programme. Our working group is supposedly dealing with the ‘management of knowledge’ which is a very doubtful concept (can we manage interactions between people and the cognitive processes triggered by these interactions? Hmmm

The Giraffe

The Giraffe

, don’t think so…).

Anyway, this blog really has some interesting references, not least coming from Valerie Brown, a respected
Australian academic who is providing a lot of food for throught to the group a.o. when it comes to our theoretical framework and the semantics that we use.

So check The Giraffe and feel free to leave your comments!


Where to start with chaos and order?

Will I ever get more certain about anything ? Just as I thought I started gathering quite some ideas on sector learning, resource centres, learning alliances, learning and knowledge management in general, my hopes to make sense of this world are crushed again – or my hopes of making sense of it the way I did are crushed.

The reason for the onslaught on my vision of the world? I’m just finishing to read Margaret Wheatley’s seminal ‘leadership and the new science’.Margaret Wheatley\'s excellent book \"Leadership and the New Science\"

This has been written a while back – this second edition is from 1999.

However, the book remains spot on on a number of ideas I think. What I take from this book is essentially a confirmation from the feeling I had that we should abide by Nature’s laws a lot more. Not go with the human flow but just go with the natural flow that we all feel in spite of cerebrally follow the forms, functions, roles and rules that we have assigned ourselves as human beings, and that we have ingrained in ourselves for too long.

Another thing that I take from this book: there is absolutely no need to focus on critical mass and on having reached a certain level. The slightest tickle in the system can provoke a gigantic reaction. Of course, this reaction will probably reach that effect through feedback loops afterwards or because it is a feedback loop of similar little ripples in the past.

But the bottomline is: go local, go for one-on-one and make the change happen there. Champions are more important than systems, or rather champions work with systems and the other way around.

Now there’s a leap before more people are ready to dive in the dark and just accept to put their deeply entrenched beliefs and old reactions aside. One doesn’t change humans like this, and the preparation of the workshop I am going to partly facilitate reminds me of this. How to change? How to become the change that we seek to achieve?

I can’t really tell but all I know is, the dynamic of change that my learning management movement is trying to achieve is very much in line with the teachings of this book, and the beautiful lattice-like shape of the KM4DEV core group trying to organise a workshop at thousands of miles’ distances in a very organic but effective way is only another testimony that indeed we need to change in order to survive, and changing and dancing with chaos is not only beautiful, it feels extremely good!!!

Confusiasm way back on the spot!!!