The end of the year is in sight: next week, i am going to be 100% focussed on completing ‘The Change Handbook’. I’ve cleared out absolutely everything, will be turning off email and wifi, and forcing myself to focus! With that in mind, this week is about tidying up some loose ends on the blog: i have written all of this year’s posts in one document, totalling nearly 84,000 words so far. But hanging around at the end are four titles not yet written. I don’t normally do this: normally i decide the topic and write all at the same time, but these four ‘ideas’ hit me at some point in the year, and never got written. So i’m writing them now!
The first title is ‘The Speed of Knowledge’. Not hard to see where this came from: the notion that ‘knowledge’ is changing is one that i have visited and revisited from my earliest writing on the blog. Indeed, i wrote a whole book around ‘Learning, Knowledge, and Meaning’, back in 2013. But is ‘knowledge’ moving faster?
Without drowning ourselves in semantics, i’d hazard a ‘yes’. We are creating (and co-creating) new knowledge ever faster. And we are seeing that knowledge spread faster too, but not necessarily in even ways. Some people are connected, enabled, and empowered, by collaborative technologies, and immersed in co-creative communities. Whilst others are not. So for some, the speed of knowledge is increasing, whilst for others, the knowledge may be entirely invisible.
We live in the Social Age, an exciting time, but exciting, it must be said, for some more than others. Some people are enabled, whilst others are ignored. The Social Age is no utopia, although it holds the potential for us to construct new models of Organisations, new types of work, and new modes of being, all of which may be more utopian, if we choose to make them so. There is no automatic win here.
Perhaps my title should have read ‘The Selective Speed of Knowledge’. For those who are enabled, we can achieve ever more, be more. But for those without, there is no silver bullet. So knowledge can evolve all it likes, can move as fast as it likes, but if you cannot see it, you cannot use it. So before we can make pronouncements about change, perhaps we should ask ourselves who things have changed for.