Walking my talk: “quick and dirty”… on the edge of knowledge


I have been an advocate of producing “quick and dirty” information for a while (see this post and that post). Offering that info, insight, experience out for the public scrutiny seems to me the best way to get good feedback from others and from the reality to refine it and come up with answers or better questions – it’s aligned with the idea that Dave Snowden has about building resilience.

Speedy Gonzales - an iconic messenger?

Speedy Gonzales - an iconic messenger? (Photo Credits Jeremy Brooks, FlickR)

In this respect, now seems like a good moment to also follow suit on this blog by trying and blogging on a more regular basis, for shorter posts. I’m still intending to write longer posts every now and then, particularly from the stock-taking and harvesting insights series. But all in all it may be a better idea for me to get my ideas out and about and to engage with you about them on a more regular basis. And at the moment there is ample matter to draw inspiration from with the couple of IKM-Emergent papers on M&E of KM which should be coming out any day now (the summaries are already available on the IKM website, under ‘what’s new’), the article I’m co-writing on learning alliances in Ethiopia, the study we are conducting about information and knowledge management practices in the water and sanitation sector in Burkina Faso, the personal effectiveness survey which I introduced here and will be discussed shortly (and hopefully approved) by the management of my organisation…

But a first quick and dirty insight for now, though, is a reflection from the series of dialogues about knowledge management that a colleague of mine and I have been having with our Director. When reflecting together upon the added value of our organisation, it struck me that our value actually lied in the combination of the subject matter expertise we have in the WASH sector, combined with the network we possess (in the sector and at its edges, to combine various perspectives) but more crucially even perhaps, is the last aspect of the triangle: the expertise we have in facilitating social learning processes, online and offline. This is an essential way to collectively leverage other peoples’ knowledge, combine it, innovate, learn and learn to learn and ultimately to achieve change on a wider scale and on a longer time span…

If we are living in the age of knowledge, we are also living on the edge of what we know, and increasingly, I think, we will draw from other sources of inspiration than knowledge: feelings and emotions, intuition. Facilitating the expression and combination of these sources will be a critical skill for people and organisations to redefine themselves, their place and value in society. That, and quick and dirty reflection… You reckon?

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