Random reflections – Jan. 19, 2022

I have two topics about which I am trying to read more. One is critical perspectives on knowledge management and enterprise social media. The second is co-creation – or co-design – in settings that take a long view of the practice and its outcomes; in other words, the work is never done, you just work to continually improve and adapt.

I would appreciate references to any good reads (or people to follow) on these topics, as I continue to explore. I’ll also post references when I get start to put some more thoughts together.

In the knowledge management topic, the issues of power and “whose knowledge matters” seem central to the critique. I see this, also, as an extension of the critical evaluation of teaching and learning (see my recent post for some general background) which encourages educators to embrace “multiple ways of knowing” as key to rigorous learning.

This is an important topic to explore precisely because there seem to be so few exploring it. It just seems so central to issues of equity and justice within organizations, but we’re all, instead, still trying to find the ROI of collaboration (gag), or to prove without a doubt that teams are more productive when they network outside of their own little team worlds. Some of that productivity stuff is important. But what if we’re productive in a way that simply reinforces existing power structures and continues to disadvantage classes of team members? Where does that come into the knowledge management discussion?

I also am intrigued by the very practical application of valuing “multiple ways of knowing.” I recently read Robin Wall Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants.” Kimmerer writes (in lovely prose) about her two ways of knowing the natural world; as a botanist and as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. It’s a wonderful entry point to valuing non-Western ways of knowing, and for me, starts to open the door a bit to thinking about what we miss when we don’t pay attention to our own “ways of knowing” and how it influences what we do and see and think.

The practical question I still wrestle with, however, is how we put that value into play in a world where understanding that much of what we know changes and is not “settled” leads to “I did my own research” about vaccination, or how biology (rather than sexism) explains differences between gender representation and performance in engineering, etc.

On the co-creation/co-design topic, I’m looking to dig into different methods from across design disciplines that might have potential for designing solutions within organizational settings (i.e., knowledge sharing solutions, workplace experience, talent development, etc.). The key here, I think, is to find methods that can be plugged into a continuous mindset; that what we design is never really “done,” can always be improved, especially with regard to how we make smart trade offs between affordances and disaffordances.