Why do we do this? #

Gary Turner is writing about what he’s learned from blogging. Rather than try to extract sensibly here, I suggest you read it…

His post struck a chord with me – my response (adapted from the comment I posted over at Gary’s) was something like this…

I have a tendency to see links between ideas from totally disparate fields (or fields that are totally disparate according to our subject-driven way of categorising knowledge) – that’s the way my mind seems to work. I used to think that was “just” my way of making sense of things, and previously I’ve been exposed to comments from “domain experts” that suggest that I’m only seeing links because I don’t “really understand the depth of the subject”. In fairness, I have never claimed “academic rigour” for what I think – I have a more pragmatic approach. As I’ve grown older though I have become more confident that these syntheses are valid knowledge in their own right – one of the pleasures I’ve found from blogging is when occasional others have said the same thing.

As I said, my approach (and from the sound of it Gary’s too) has a heavy element of pragmatism – when I’ve stumbled upon a nugget of thought I’ll tend to just go off and use it out in the world. (the sort of engineering creativity JT refers to in the comments to Gary’s post). The spirit of innovation and creativity moulds and shapes it’s own working models as it goes – if you find a blockage work around it, or take a sidestep to a different path that leads to the goal.

What I’ve tended not to be so hot on is an explicit linking those ideas and the results of their application to the next thing – that’s another reason I blog – to try and capture the long-form development of my thinking which is normally inarticulate in the pressure of here-and-now, to make explicit my own tacit knowledge, and by contrasting it with others’ thoughts find even more ways to move on…

Are we all prisoners of our own success? The sorts of thinking Gary and I are describing have stuck with us because they work for us in the situations we find ourselves in. Recognising those patterns is the first step to changing them – the blog helps to do that because it extends our time horizon.

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Julian Elve
Proactive application of technology to business

My interests include technology, personal knowledge management, social change

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