Our Models of the World

The Eagle’s Gift

The eagle lived on the tree beside a deep well and in the well a community of frogs. None of them had ever been out of the well. Every night the eagle could hear the granny frog tellling bedtime stories to the young one. One morning when the thermals had begun rising in the air, the eagle swooped into the well, grasped one little frog in its claws and rose up with the thermal. The heights and the fear of death overtook the little one. Then the eagle let go of the frog from the heights above the well. While falling back, the frog had just a glimpse of the world outside. The eagle went back to the tree and waited for the sun to set, to hear the story of the day. What will be the story of the day? Tell us?

We have been collecting these stories for over 19 years now. Initially everyone connects it in their own ways.

Some identify themselves with the eagle and some with the frog and the fear of death. Not many with both, eagle and the frog, the big and the small, telescope and the microscope, Hubble and the Femtoscope, Global and local and the  connections in between, how mental models are formed and revised to become  mental maps – knowledge

How best to continually learn and how an old world of the frog collapses or the new frames come to sit on the older version of the software. A new world is born. Yet we are all in that well – of Nature

We will never see all of it, but we can see much more now than any time in the past and there is a long way to go on that road.

Knowledge architecture

Meenakshi asked, “Explain knowledge architect” and Wanderer found the word “awesome”

Knowledge Architecture is Knowledge + Design, as we see it.
Designed to?
• Creating a more desirable future.
• Learning faster as individuals and communities
• Targeted at problem specific solutions
• Deliver sustained improvements.
• Facilitate dialogue and learning
Most often, solutions do not lead to net improvements. The provider turns myopic to the issue out of a natural bias to one’s own baby, driven by selfishness than appropriate selfishness (Handy), create leaders and followers, teachers and students amounting to more of dependence than independence and interdependence
Knowledge is the sum of all that we know, we will know and can know and the process is learning. To learn is to connect, reflect and catalyze- better, faster and deeper and improve together. Parents and teachers desire that children learn faster. Managers desire that they learn faster than the competition. Citizens wish that the country positions itself as a learning community and improve faster. But do we really learn?
There is extreme urgency for rapid learning in the context of environmental concerns, social divides, growth vs. inequity, war for talent, inclusiveness and the role of corporations in creating a more desirable future. Technical connectivity enhances the possibility of real time collective and purposive learning. Complexity of these issues demands a new pedagogy, tools and processes. More of the same would not suffice. It is not that we may not know. It is also equally important to design new ways of prioritising, showing, experiencing, comprehending what we already know at a greater scale and pace. Knowledge architecture addresses these issues of crafting new ways of seeing, a prerequisite to creating a more desirable future. There are many ways to achieve this.

Visemiotics is one. Symbols facilitate easier navigation than written text as in the case of GUI of computers and software applications. A picture is worth a thousand words. At times there is no substitute for a visual symbol as in the case of road signs. Some aspects can only be communicated through visual symbols and text often hides the big picture. The younger generation is more visually dependant than on any other stimuli for learning. The visual stimuli have the highest bandwidth too. Yet one cannot ignore any one since each one has their own preferences. Stories, storytelling, scenarios, dream work, models, experiential leaning, open space, real time management development, dialogues, a lot many tools are now available to take care of the process.
The integral framework is a visual tool, a product of knowledge architecture to accelerate learning and mastery of some of these competencies

+ Manish Agarwala, the Mac Arthur Grant 2009

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One thought on “Our Models of the World

  1. Pingback: Meta: The post on posts | First Discipline

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