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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Introducing our initiative</h2></div>
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Knowledge can again make a difference</h2></div>
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>A historical parallel</h3>
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<div class="col-md-6"><h3>A historical parallel</h3>
<p>To understand the nature of the vision that motivates our initiative, think about the world at the twilight of the Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance. Recall the devastating religious wars, terrifying epidemics...  Bring to mind the iconic image of the scholastics discussing "how many angels can dance on a needle point"; and the iconic image of Galilei in house arrest, a century after Copernicus, whispering <em>eppur si muove</em> into his beard.</p>
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<p>Think about the world at the twilight of the Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance. Recall the devastating religious wars, terrifying epidemics...  Bring to mind the iconic image of the scholastics discussing "how many angels can dance on a needle point". And another iconic image, of Galilei in house arrest a century after Copernicus, whispering "and yet it moves" into his beard.</p>
<p>Observe that the problems of the epoch were not resolved by focusing on those problems, but by a slow and steady development of a whole new approach to knowledge. Several centuries of accelerated evolution followed. Could a similar advent be in store for us today?</p>
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<p>Observe that the problems of the epoch were not resolved by focusing on those problems, but by a slow and steady development of an entirely new approach to knowledge. Several centuries of accelerated and sweeping evolution followed. Could a similar advent be in store for us today?</p></div>
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<div class="col-md-3 "> [[File:Galilei.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Galileo Galilei]]</center></small>
 
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<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Our discovery</h3>
 
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Our discovery</h3>
<p>"If I have seen further," Sir Isaac Newton famously declared, "it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." The point of departure of our initiative was a discovery. We did not discover that the best ideas of our best minds were drowning in an ocean of glut. [[Vannevar Bush]], a [[giants|<em>giant</em>]], diagnosed that nearly three quarters of a century ago. He urged the scientists to focus on that disturbing trend and find a remedy. But needless to say, this too drowned in the ocean of glut.</p>
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<p>"If I have seen further," Sir Isaac Newton famously declared, "it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." The point of departure of our initiative was a discovery. We did not discover that the best ideas of our best minds were drowning in an ocean of glut. [[Vannevar Bush]], a [[giants|<em>giant</em>]], diagnosed that nearly three quarters of a century ago. He urged the scientists to focus on that disturbing trend and find a remedy. But needless to say, this too drowned in glut.</p>
<p>What we <em>did</em> find out, when we began to develop and apply [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a remedial <em>praxis</em>,  was that now just as in Newton's time, the insights of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] add up to a whole new approach to knowledge. And that just as the case was then, this new approach to knowledge naturally leads to sweeping changes of the ways in which core issues are understood and handled.</p>
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<p>What we <em>did</em> find out, when we began to develop and apply [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a remedial practice,  was that now just as in Newton's time, the insights of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] add up to a novel approach to knowledge. And that just as the case was then, the new approach to knowledge leads to new ways in which core issues are understood and handled.</p>
<p>We thus realized that  there is an approach to knowledge which
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<div class="col-md-3 "> [[File:Newton.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Isaac Newton]]</center></small>
<li>resolves the fundamental incongruities and provides a solid and rigorous foundation for creating truth and meaning – and hence needs to be developed for fundamental or academic reasons</li>
 
<li>gives us the people the power to use knowledge to understand and manage the complex and rapidly changing realities we have created – and hence needs to be developed for pragmatic reasons as well</li>
 
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<div class="col-md-3 round-images"> [[File:Newton.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Isaac Newton]]</center></small>
 
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<p>It is the insight into this dual nature of the emerging approach to knowledge that compelled us to apply the best of our abilities to its exploration and development.</p>
 
 
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<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Our strategy</h3>
 
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Our strategy</h3>
<p>“You never change things by fighting the existing reality", observed Buckminster Fuller. "To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” So we built [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a model or a [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] of a new way to work with knowledge (or technically a [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]); and of a new institution (or technically a [[transdiscipline|<em>transdiscipline</em>]]) that is capable of developing this new new approach to knowledge in academic and real-life practice.</p>
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<p>“You never change things by fighting the existing reality", observed Buckminster Fuller. "To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” So we built [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a model (or technically a [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]]) of a new way to work with knowledge (or a [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]); and of a new institution (the [[transdiscipline|<em>transdiscipline</em>]]) that is capable of developing this new new approach to knowledge as an academic and real-life  
<p>By sharing this model, we do not aim to give conclusive answers. Our goal is indeed much higher – it is <em>to open up a creative frontier</em> where the ways in which knowledge is created and used, and more generally the ways in which our creative efforts are directed, are brought into focus and <em>continuously</em> recreated and improved.</p>  
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[[praxis|<em>praxis</em>]] (informed practice).</p>
<p>By sharing this model, we initiate a conversation about the ways we handle a most important resource – human creativity (or insight, ingenuity, capacity to envision and induce change...) and its fruits accumulated through the ages. We may need to depend on this resource at this point in our history more than we ever did!</p>
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<p>By sharing this model we are not proposing a conclusive answer. Our aim is indeed much higher – it is <em>to open up a creative frontier</em> where the ways in which knowledge is created and used, and more generally the ways in which our creative efforts are directed, are brought into focus and <em>continuously</em> recreated and improved.</p> </div>
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<div class="col-md-3 "> [[File:Fuller.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[R. Buckminster Fuller]]</center></small></div>
 
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  <div class="col-md-3 round-images"> [[File:Fuller.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[R. Buckminster Fuller]]</center></small></div>
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Making knowledge count</h2></div>
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<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Connecting the dots</h3>
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<p>What would it take to bring knowledge out of academic books and articles and let it inform our everyday lives? And our handling of society's core issues?</p>
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<p>As our logo might suggest, [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] means 'connecting the dots' – combining disparate pieces of information and other knowledge resources together, so that they may make sense, or function, in a new way. We adopted this [[keywords|<em>keyword</em>]] from political and institutional federation, where smaller entities are united to achieve greater visibility and impact – while preserving, in some suitable degree, their identity and autonomy.</p>
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<h3>Information for orientation</h3>
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<p>What could a more responsive and creative approach to knowledge provide, which we don't yet have? Norbert Wiener gave us this hint.</p> </div>
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  <div class="col-md-3 "> [[File:KFlogoC.jpg]] <br><small><center>Knowledge Federation logo</center></small></div>
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<blockquote>There is only one quality more important than "know how". This is "know what" by which we determine not only how to accomplish our purposes but what our purposes are to be. </blockquote>
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<p>Science has given us a colossal know-how. We now need a similarly powerful know-what to be able to use our immense new power beneficially and safely.</p></div>
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<div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Wiener.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Norbert Wiener]]</center></small></div>
 
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<p>What follows is a description of the [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] model, and an invitation to a conversation. The purpose of the conversation will be to discuss the opportunity that our model will illuminate – and by doing that <em>already</em> make concerted progress toward our goal.</p>
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<p>With the information we have, we are like people lost in a forest, who can only see the trees. By seeing the trees, we are able to navigate through them. By not seeing the forest, we are unable to find a way out. We choose our way in the only way that's still available – by following the crowd. But crowds too can be lost!</p>
<p>We rush to make this clear: When we say "conversation", we don't mean just talking. On the contrary! The idea is to develop a new <em>way</em> of talking in public, an orchestrated, media-enabled and growing global conversation about the themes that matter. The idea is to evolve a [[collective mind|<em>collective mind</em>]] capable of thinking new thoughts, of grasping situations and finding solutions. We intend to bring [[giants|<em>giants</em>]], instead of Donald Trump, to the focus of the public eye.</p></div></div>
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<h3>Knowledge federation</h3>
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<p>Think on the one side of all the knowledge we own, in academic articles and also broader. Include the heritage of the world traditions. Include the insights reached by creative people daily.</p>
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<p>Think on the other side of all the questions we <em>need</em> to have answered. Think of all the insights that will give us the understanding we need, of all the principles and rules of thumb that will direct our action. Imagine them occupying distinct levels of generality. The more general an insight is, the more useful it can be.</p>
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<p>You may now understand [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as whatever we the people may need to do to create, organize, synchronize, update and keep up to date various elements of this hierarchy.</p>
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<p>[[knowledge federation|<em>Knowledge federation</em>]] is the creation and use of knowledge as we may need it – to be able to comprehend the increasingly complex world around us; to be able to live and act in it in an informed, sustainable or simply <em>better</em> way.</p>
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<p>Our vision is of an <em>informed</em> post-traditional and post-industrial society – where our understanding and handling of the core issues of our lives and times reflect the best available knowledge; where knowledge is created and integrated and applied with that goal in mind; and where information technology is developed and used accordingly. </p>
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<h3>Our proposal</h3>
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<p>We are not proposing to replace journalism, or science, but to complement them. And to connect them with one other, and also with technological innovation and governance, and with the arts and other creative fields.</p>
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<p>We are submitting a case for a new socio-technical infrastructure, with its own division and organization of creative work, just as the academic disciplines and journalism now have. </p>
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<p>We are proposing to put in place an approach to knowledge that is deliberately <em>designed</em> to answer to the contemporary needs of people and society. What issues may require such knowledge? What might the information that carries it be like? By what methods, technical tools and social processes will it be created? Our call to action is for a new <em>academic</em> [[praxis|<em>praxis</em>]] that will answer such questions.</p>
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<p>The purpose of our [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]], which is shown on these pages, is to provide sufficiently rich and solid answers to consolidate a proof of concept; to show that this indeed <em>can</em> be done. And to initiate the doing.</p>
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>A collective mind</h2></div>
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>We will not solve global problems</h3>
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<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Information technology demands new thinking</h3>  
<p>[[Donella Meadows]] talked about systemic leverage points as those places within a complex system "where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything". She identified "the mindset or paradigm out of which the goals, rules, feedback structure arise" as <em>the</em> most impactful <em>kind of</em> systemic leverage points. Our proposal is to act in this most impactful way.</p>
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<p>Another way to understand [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] is to perceive it as what we must do to draw the kind of benefits from the new information technology that this technology was meant to provide.</p>  
<p>We are proposing an approach to contemporary issues that is complementary to the conventional approaches, which focus on those issues.</p>
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<p><blockquote>
<p>This does <em>not</em> mean that we are proposing to replace or diminish the worthy efforts of our friends and colleagues that are focused on specific problems such as the climate change, or on the millennium development goals. Our proposal is to vastly augment the prospects of those efforts to succeed. And to also change the mood that "sustainability" might be associated with from sustaining to creating; from necessity to opportunity. To add enthusiasm and vigor, the discovery and development of a whole new order of things, to the growing concern about "contemporary issues".</p> </div>
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Digital technology could help make this a better world.  But we've also got to change our way of thinking.
<div class="col-md-3 round-images"> [[File:Donella.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Donella Meadows]]</center></small></div>
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As we shall see in Federation through Stories, these two sentences frame Douglas Engelbart's gift to the world – which is yet to be unpacked.</p> </div>
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<div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Doug.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Douglas Engelbart]]</center></small></div>
 
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<p>On a similar note, we are not implying that anything is wrong with the fine work that our academic colleagues are doing. Science rose to prominence owing to its successes in dispelling age-old prejudices, by explaining the natural phenomena. That it ended up in "the Grand Revelator of modern Western culture" role was an unintended consequence of its successes, as Benjamin Lee Whorf insightfully observed. Science was not conceived for the role of informing people about basic things in life. The paradigm we are proposing is <em>incommensurable</em> to traditional science, in Thomas Kuhn's usage of this word it represents a different set of values and ways of looking at things, and it serves a different set of purposes. We have ample evidence to show that if our society shall have the kind of benefits that it can and must draw from the results in disciplinary academic work, then (something like) [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] must also be in place.</p>
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<p> We shall see that Engelbart and his lab created significant parts of the knowledge media technology we have – as stepping stones toward a <em>much</em> larger vision, which remained ignored.</p>
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<p>The network-interconnected interactive digital media – which Doug and his team showed for the first time in 1968, and which you now have in your hand or on your desktop – have given the humanity (in Doug’s words) “a super new nervous system to upgrade our collective organisms”. </p>
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<p>To see what went wrong, how this development took a different direction than what Doug intended, imagine that your own cells were using your nervous system to only broadcast data to your brain and to each other. Think about the effect this would have on your intelligence! You may now easily see why this technology – which has been conceived to vastly <em>augment</em> our collective intelligence – can serve that most timely end only when knowledge is “developed, integrated and applied” in a way that is entirely different from what the printing press made possible. </p>
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<h3>Information technology calls for reconfiguring knowledge work</h3>
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<p>Imagine that you are taking a walk, lost in thoughts, and suddenly stop. As your attention is returning to hear and now, you realize that you are standing at arm's length from a wall.</p>
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<p>Imagine what would have happened if your eyes were seeing that, but trying to communicate it to your brain and your muscles by writing academic articles in some specialized field of knowledge!</p>
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[[File:KFvision.jpeg]]
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<p> </p>
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<p>To see what we want to set in motion by proposing [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]], imagine our civilization as an organism, which has grown uncommonly or <em>exponentially</em> fast. Imagine that this creature has evolved a finely developed brain and nervous system – but that it has not not yet acquired the necessary cognitive and psychomotoric skills, which would allow it to use its nervous system to make sense of the world, and to control its muscles.</p>
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<p>Imagine that this creature's dominant use its "super-new nervous system" is to amplify its most primitive, limbic impulses!</p> 
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<p>The network-interconnected digital media technology enables, and also <em>requires</em>, an entirely new division, specialization and organization of knowledge work analogous to what might characterize a healthy human mind.</p>
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<p>You may now understand our proposal as the natural way to begin this re-evolutionary development – by first developing the necessary knowledge, or [[praxis|<em>praxis</em>]], or [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]].</p>   </div>  
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<h3>We will not change the world</h3>
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<p>"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has", wrote [[Margaret Mead]]. You'll find evidence of our thoughtfulness and commitment on these pages.</p>
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<h3>Steps toward cultural revival</h3>
<p>And yet it is clear to us, and should be clear to you too, that we <em>cannot</em> really change the world. The world is not only us – it is <em>all of us</em> together! It includes you too.</p>
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<p>So if the world will indeed change, that will be a result of <em>your</em> doing, of <em>your</em> thoughtfulness and commitment!</p>
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The future will either be an inspired product of a great cultural revival, or there will be no future
<p>Collaboration is to the new paradigm as competition is to the old one. In Norway (this website is hosted at the University of Oslo) there is a word for this – dugnad (pronounced as doognud). A typical dugnad might be organized by the people in a neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon, to gather fallen leaves and branches and do small repairs in the commons, and then share a meal together. We now need the dugnad spirit at the university. And of course also in our society.</p>
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</blockquote>
<p>So if you'll feel inspired by what's presented on these pages, please consider [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] to be <em>your</em> project, not ours. </p>
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wrote Aurelio Peccei. We shall say more about him and <em>his</em> gift to mankind in Federation through Stories.</p>
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<p>It is no secret that, for perhaps a brief yet unforgivingly perilous period of time, we have relegated the creation of culture to commercial and superficial interests. </p> </div>
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<div class="col-md-3">[[File:Peccei.jpg]]<br><small><center>[[Aurelio Peccei]]</center></small></div>
 
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<div class="col-md-3 round-images"> [[File:Mead.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Margaret Mead]]</center></small></div>
 
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Introducing knowledge federation</h2></div>
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<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Knowledge federation is just knowledge creation</h3>
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<p>As our logo might suggest, [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] means 'connecting the dots' – combining disparate pieces of information and other knowledge resources into higher-order units of meaning. The meaning we assign to this [[keywords|<em>keyword</em>]] is similar as in political and institutional federation, where smaller entities unite to achieve higher visibility and impact.</p>
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<p>Before the new media became ubiquitous, it was sufficient to own the physical buildings of the Sorbonne University, the Carnegie Hall and La Scala, to control the quality standards those institutions represented. Today, however, the <em>new</em> instruments of culture creation are largely in the hands of the proverbial "two hackers in a garage". </p>
<p>One might say that what we are calling [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] is just what we normally do with information to turn it into knowledge. You may have an idea in mind – but can you say that you really know it, before you have checked if it's consistent with your other ideas? And with the ideas of others? And even then – can you say that your idea is ''known'' before other people have integrated it with <em>their</em> ideas?</p>
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<p>Caught up in its "objective observer" self-identity, the [[academia|<em>academia</em>]] painstakingly records the cultural and social consequences of this trend.</p>  
<p>Science too federates knowledge; citations and peer reviews are there to secure that. But science does its federation in an idiosyncratic  way – by explaining the mechanisms of nature, and the phenomena as their consequence.</p>
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<p>You will see, in Federation through Applications, that a significant part of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] is to federate the available knowledge all the way into the <em>design</em> of the core systems that define our cultural and social reality. This [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is perhaps the most game-changing part of our proposal.</p>  
<p>Why develop an initiative around such an everyday activity?</p>
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<p>The new technology, and our overall condition, call for re-implementing the core functions of human culture <em>in</em> the new technology!</p>  
<h3>A natural approach to knowledge</h3>
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<p>By giving it a name, [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]], we are calling  into existence the new paradigm in knowledge work that will empower us to do that.</p>
<p>What we have undertaken to put in place is what one might call the <em>natural</em> way to federate knowledge; or the natural <em>handling</em> of knowledge. Think on the one side of all the knowledge we own, in academic articles and also broader. Include the heritage of the world traditions. Include the insights reached by creative people daily. Think on the other side of all the questions we <em>need</em> to have answered. Think about the insights that could inform our lives, the rules of thumb that could direct our action. Imagine them occupying distinct levels of generality. You may then understand [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as whatever we the people may need to do to maintain, organize, update and keep up to date the elements of this hierarchy.</p>
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<p> Put simply, [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] is the creation and use of knowledge we need – to be able to understand the increasingly complex world around us; to be able to live and act in it in an informed, sustainable or simply <em>better</em> way.</p>
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<h3>A tribute to Engelbart</h3>  
<p>Our vision is of an <em>informed</em> post-traditional or post-industrial society – where our understanding and handling of the core issues of our lives and times reflect the best available knowledge; where knowledge is created and integrated and applied with that goal in mind; and where information technology is developed and used accordingly. </p>
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<h3>A paradigm</h3>
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<span id="Reflection"></span>
<p>As a way of handling knowledge, [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] is in the proper sense of that word (as Thomas Kuhn defined it and used it) a [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]. We offer it as an alternative to the approaches to knowledge where the goal is to create a single "reality picture", with which whatever is to be considered "real" or "true" must be consistent. Isn't the dictatorship of any single worldview an <em>impediment</em> to communication; and to evolution of ideas?  In [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] the ideas and their authors are allowed to preserve some of their autonomy and identity. The goal is still to unify them and make our understanding of the world coherent – but not at all cost! Sometimes good ideas just cannot be reconciled. Sometimes they represent distinct points of view, each useful in its own right.</p>
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<p>To a number of us in Knowledge Federation, Doug Engelbart is an inspirational figure and a cherished deceased friend. Our initiative grew in part out of a Silicon Valley-based initiative called The Program for the Future, whose purpose is to explain and complete Engelbart's vision. We are making this website public on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Engelbart's Demo – where the revolutionary technology and ideas he and his research lab created were first shown to public.</p>
 
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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
 
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
 
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We would not be repeating Einstein's familiar adage if it did not point so perfectly to the very first step with which our journey needs to begin. In what ways may our thinking need to be different, if we should be able to understand and develop the emerging [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]? We here point to two characteristics which – as everything indeed tends to be in a [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] – are so closely related that they may well be considered as two sides of a single coin.</p>
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In what ways might our thinking need to be different, if we should understand and develop a new [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]? </p>
<h3>Slow thinking</h3>
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<p>First of all, we need to give it the time it requires. A paradigm being a harmonious yet complex web of relationships, some amount of mental processing is obviously unavoidable if we should form a coherent mental image, see that the things do fit better together and make better sense when rearranged in the new way.</p>
<p>The first characteristic of the new thinking is to take the time to think and digest.</p>
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<p>A reward will come instantly – as with a touch of calm insight we come to realize that <em>we don't need to be so busy</em>. That we're just spinning the wheels of a wasteful and dysfunctional social machinery – and being too busy to see that. </p></div>
<p>Slow thinking is to Einstein's "same thinking" as slow food is to fast food – it takes a bit more time, but it gives incomparably better nourishment and digestion. It also builds an entirely different relationship with (not food but) ideas and the people who developed them, which makes it all so much more worthwhile.</p></div>
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  <div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Einstein.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Albert Einstein]]</center></small></div>
  <div class="col-md-3 round-images"> [[File:Einstein.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Albert Einstein]]</center></small></div>
 
 
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</div>
 
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<div class="row">
 
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
 
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
<div class="col-md-7">
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<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Systemic thinking</h3>
<p>A paradigm is a harmonious yet complex web of relationships. If you want to step into the realm of opportunities we are now opening up, if you want to look beyond our thus far cloudy visions, and see the concrete web of relationships that makes all this <em>truly</em> exciting – then you need to slow down and reflect. Give yourself time to discover. There's just no way around that. We can point to relationships – but it's you who'll need to see them and examine them.</p>
+
<p>The second that our thinking must undergo is to become <em>systemic</em>. Systemic thinking is the kind of thinking that grants us the insight just mentioned, and reveals solutions.</p>  
<h3>Systemic thinking</h3>
+
<p>We've prepared this very brief and down-to-earth [[intuitive introduction to systemic thinking]] to help you slow down and reflect – and already get an inkling of what this initiative may practically mean.</p> </div>
<p>The question immediately arises – in the busy world we live in, <em>how can we find the time</em> that the slow thinking obviously requires? The answer is that we don't really need to be so busy. Being busy will turn out to be a consequence of the structure of "the systems in which we live and work". To an astonishing and even breath-taking degree, those systems will turn out to be wasting our time and energy, without us noticing that! </p>
 
<p>And so becoming capable of seeing those systems is a key step in our liberation from the prevailing [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]], and toward the emerging one. To put this differently, the second characteristic of (what we propose as) the remedial way to think is that it is <em>systemic</em>. What exactly this means, practically and concretely – we'll now offer to you to reflect on and grasp. This brief [[intuitive introduction to systemic thinking]] will not only help you slow down and reflect, but it will also <em>already</em> give you a concrete idea of the kind of changes of our daily realities that we've been talking about so far in abstract terms.</p> </div>
 
 
</div>
 
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<div class="row">
<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Knowledge federation introduces itself</h2></div>
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>A paradigm</h2></div>
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>The next step</h3>
+
 
<p>The way we create, use and value knowledge has a life of its own, or more precisely, an <em>evolution</em> of its own. The academic tradition – as represented by science and philosophy is upholding the contemporary standard of excellence.</p>
+
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Huge change can be easy</h3>  
<p>What we are talking about is the next step in this evolution – which leads into a whole new way of working and a whole new standard of excellence, or in a word, a whole new [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]. </p>
+
<p>We have come to the side of our proposal that is <em>the</em> most relevant and interesting – <em>and</em> the most challenging to understand.</p>  
<p>So before we let this [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] introduce itself, here's a <em>very</em> brief account of the historical process, the evolution that brought us to the point where we are now.</p>
+
<p>You will perhaps bear with us, even join us in developing this material further, until it's understandable by everyone – if you realize that what we are really talking about is the core reason why the best insights of our best minds tend to remain ignored.</p>  
<h3>How we got where we are</h3>
+
<p>And why a sweepingly large change can be natural and easy, even when far smaller and obviously necessary changes proved impossible.</p>  
<p>The rediscovery of Aristotle (whose works had been preserved by the Arabs) was a major event in the history of the Middle Ages. But the scholastics used his rational method only to argue the truths of the Scriptures. </p>
+
<p>Things get ignored when they fail to fit our order of things!</p>  
<p>Aristotle's natural philosophy was common-sense: Objects have a tendency to fall down, and the heavier ones tend to fall faster. Galilei saw a flaw in his conclusion – and proved it wrong <em>experimentally</em>,  by throwing stones from the Leaning Tower of Pisa.</p>
+
<p>Our point – carefully, methodically, scrupulously... developed in the detailed modules – is that the big paradigm is all ready to be shifted; <em>because we already own all the knowledge</em> needed to set such a change in motion.</p>  
<p>It was, however, Newton, that brought mathematics into this affaire: <em>v = gt</em>. The constant <em>g</em> can be measured by experiment. We can use the maths to predict <em>precisely</em> what the speed of a falling object will be!</p>
+
<p>But also this largest of all changes, of the whole order of things, has a natural order in which it must proceed. Just as the construction of a house must begin with the foundations.</p>
<p>This approach to exploring natural phenomena proved to be so superior to what existed before, and so fertile both in explaining phenomena and in changing the human condition, that it naturally became the standard of excellence that all knowledge (if it is to be called "scientific" or "academic") should emulate. </p>
+
 
<h3>Knowledge federation as a language</h3>
+
 
<p>Every paradigm brings with it a new way of speaking. The only thing that is different about [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] is that it does not bring along a fixed language – but a way to recreate the language; to both make the terms precise <em>and</em> adapt them to what needs to be seen and said.</p>
+
 
<p>So think about [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a way to liberate academic language from age-old concepts and patterns; think of it as a way to [[knowledge federation|<em>federate</em>]] what we've learn about knowledge and knowledge work from the sciences, and also from the arts and communication design and... – and adapt that for the purpose at hand, of creating insights that can provide us the kind of practical orientation we most urgently need.</p>
+
<h3>Knowledge federation introduces itself</h3>
<p>In what follows we'll introduce just a handful of most basic such new concepts – and use them to define more precisely what our initiative is about.</p>
+
<p>Science taught us to think in terms of velocities and masses and experiments and natural causes. We shall now let [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] introduce itself, and some of the core elements of the emerging larger societal [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]], in its own manner of speaking.</p>
<h3>A curious-looking mathematical formula</h3>
+
<p>Be prepared to see an <em>informed</em> approach to knowledge in action. The big picture will come first – pointing to a way. The details will naturally follow as steps along the way.</p
<p>Why use only maths?</p>
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<!-- ANCHOR -->
 +
<span id="Modernity"></span>
 +
 
 +
<h3>A big picture view of our condition</h3>
 +
<p>Newton taught us how to unravel the secrets of nature with the help of mathematics. Knowledge federation adapts this approach to produce big picture insights.</p>
 
<p> [[File:Modernity.jpg]] <br><small><center>Modernity ideogram</center></small></p>
 
<p> [[File:Modernity.jpg]] <br><small><center>Modernity ideogram</center></small></p>
 
<p></p>
 
<p></p>
<p>It is best to consider the above image as a straight-forward generalization of the language of mathematics. Think of it as a curious-looking mathematical formula. Just as Newton's formula does, this [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] describes a relationship between two things, represented by the bus and its headlights. But while Newton's kind of maths expresses only quantitative relationships, between quantities measured by dry numbers, an [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] can represent virtually <em>any</em> relationship, even an emotional one. It can express the nature of a situation.</p>
+
<p>The above ideogram expresses the nature of our situation (for which we use the keyword [[gestalt|<em>gestalt</em>]]) in a nutshell.</p>  
<p>By depicting modernity as a bus with candle headlights, the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] helps us point to an incongruity and a paradox. The [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] depicts a situation where in our hither-to modernization we have forgotten to modernize something quite essential.</p>
+
<p>Imagine us riding in a bus with candle headlights, through dark and unfamiliar terrain and at an accelerating speed. By depicting modernity as a bus with candle headlights, the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] points to an incongruity and paradox. In our hither-to modernization, we forgot to modernize something essential – and ended up in peril!</p>
<p>But this situation can be remedied!</p>
+
<p>But this situation has a remedy.</p>  
<h3>Design epistemology</h3>
+
 
<p>Last century brought a disruption in the mentioned evolutionary process. Not something small and subtle, but very large and obvious. To model the behavior of small particles of matter, as revealed by the experiments, the physicists needed to thoroughly revise not only the "natural laws", but also the very concepts in terms of which the phenomena were modeled. The "Newton's laws" turned out to be only an approximation. The concepts he used were shown to be not his discovery, but his creation.</p>
+
<h3>Reconceiving knowledge work</h3>  
<p>"We are not discovering reality", the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] concluded, "we are <em>constructing</em> (representations of) reality". We shall see evidence of this in Federation through Images, where this disruption and the opportunity it has opened for us will be our theme. Thomas Kuhn, originally a physicist, moved to the philosophy of science and made himself a name there by telling us about the paradigms. Some controversy arose (as it indeed should when the foundations are moving): Do those paradigms <em>really exist</em> in the sciences or is all this only Kuhn's construction?</p>
+
<p> If you consider the light of the headlights to be information or knowledge, and the headlights to represent the activities by which knowledge is created and applied, then you'll easily understand the interpretation we are pointing at. Our situation can be remedied by reconceiving knowledge and knowledge work as man-made things; and as essential building blocks in a much larger thing, or system, or systems.</p>  
<p>What we are calling [[design epistemology|<em>design epistemology</em>]] is simply an academically clean way by which such controversies can be resolved. A way in which the evolution can be continued by (as we pointed out above) <em>both</em> resolving the fundamental difficulties <em>and</em> putting good knowledge to good use. The whole thing takes just two simple steps:
+
<p>Our situation calls for evaluating, handling and recreating knowledge and knowledge work as it might best serve their various roles in this larger system – such as showing the way.</p> 
<ul>
+
<p>The technical keyword we use for this reconception is [[design epistemology|<em>design epistemology</em>]].</p>  
<li>Turn the above conclusion of the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]], or the [[constructivist credo|<em>constructivist credo</em>]] as we are calling it, into a convention (instead of making it as a statement about reality) – by combining it with what Villard Van Orman Quine called "truth by convention" (mathematicians make such conventions when they define their formulas; and when they say "Let <em>x</em> be...")</li>
+
<p>Notice that the [[epistemology|<em>epistemology</em>]] is at the core of every [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]], and of the paradigm of science in particular. Galilei was not tried for claiming that the Earth was moving; that was just a technical detail. It was his [[epistemology|<em>epistemology</em>]] that got him into trouble his belief that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. Galilei was required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions (Wikipedia).</p>
<li>State – as a convention – that the purpose of knowledge (in the particular context or [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] we are creating) is not to "objectively describe reality" – but to provide the information and knowledge to contemporary people and society <em>as they may need it</em></li>
+
 
</ul>
+
<h3>An informed approach to knowledge</h3>
</p>
+
<p>You may now understand [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as simply <em>suitable</em> 'headlights', the quest for those 'headlights', and as the 'factory' ([[transdiscipline|<em>transdiscipline</em>]]) capable of creating them. Or in other words, as the knowledge and knowledge work that follow by consistent application of the [[design epistemology|<em>design epistemology</em>]]. </p>
<p>This then allows us to state everything else – concepts, methods, and even the values which guide us in knowledge work – by making conventions.</p>
+
<p>This definition leaves open the question – Is there indeed an approach to knowledge that can make the kind of difference in our overall condition that the difference between having proper headlights and driving with a pair of candles might suggest? Does the quest the [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing to have a solution? Our purpose when presenting this [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] is to demonstrate that it does. </p>
<p>Quite a handful of technical-academic ideas, eh? Fortunately, the [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] comes to our rescue! You may (unless you are an academic and interested in all this) now safely forget all that's been told – because the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] expresses the gist of it in a nutshell. What it's saying is – in [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] we are using a different set of values, and standards of excellence, to evaluate knowledge and knowledge work. We don't try to tell "the objective truth about reality". Our goal is far more humble – and yet practically far more urgent: it is to provide, and be, those 'headlights'. It is to show the way.</p>
+
<p>The lightbulb cannot be produced by improving the candle. The resolution of our quest is in the exact sense of the word a [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] – a fundamentally and thoroughly <em>new</em> way to conceive of knowledge and to organize its handling. To create the lightbulb, we need to know that this is possible. And we also need a model to guide us. What's being shared here is a description of such a model. </p>  
<p>You may notice how this represents an answer to the challenge posited by the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]]. Much of our problem is those age-old <em>reifications</em>: science is what the scientists are doing; public informing is what the journalists are doing. We don't really have a clear sense of purpose beyond that, and even if we would try to give those large things a purpose – someone would surely object "but is it <em>really</em> so?". Here we have both a purpose and the truth of it – by convention. It makes just as little  sense to argue against it, as to ask whether <em>x</em> "really is" as a mathematician defined it.</p>
+
<p>Why waste time trying to improve 'the candle' – if it's really 'the lightbulb' we should be talking about, and creating?</p>  
<h3>Knowledge federation</h3>
+
 
<p>You may now understand [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as simply the [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] 'headlights'. Or as knowledge and knowledge work that follow from a consistent application of the [[design epistemology|<em>design epistemology</em>]].</p>
+
<h3>Innovation</h3>
<p>But the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] also bears this subtler message: No sequence of improvements of the candle will produce the light bulb. The resolution of our quest is in the exact sense of the word a [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] – a fundamentally and thoroughly <em>new</em> way to conceive of knowledge and to organize its handling. To create the light bulb, we need to know that this is possible. We need a model to guide us. You may now understand what's being introduced here as that model. It's what we need so that we may waste no time trying to improve 'the candle' – when it's really the 'the light bulb' we should be talking about and creating.</p>  
+
<p>The Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] bears an even larger and more general insight – it points to a way in which our creative capabilities in general need to be directed and used.</p>  
<h3>Systemic innovation</h3>
+
<p>If you consider the movement of the bus to be the result of our creative efforts or of "innovation", then [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is (the name we've given to) the direction the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing to. </p>
<p>If you consider the movement of the bus to be the results of our creative efforts to change things, or of "innovation", then [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is what resolves the paradox that the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing to. <em>By definition</em> (that is, by convention) – it is <em>the</em> safer and better way to be creative, and to move ahead.</p>
+
<p>We practice [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] when our primary goal is to make <em>the whole thing</em> functional or vital or [[wholeness|<em>whole</em>]]. Here "the whole thing" may of course be a whole hierarchy of things, in which what we are doing or creating has a role. </p>
<p>But why this word, <em>systemic</em>? The [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] provides two distinct answers, which are really two ways to say the same thing:
+
<p>You'll easily understand the reason why a dramatic improvement in the way we use our capacity to create or innovate is possible, if you just compare the principle the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing at with the way innovation is directed today.</p>
<ul>
+
<p>The dollar value of the headlights is course a factor to be considered; but it's insignificant compared to the value of the whole big thing (which in reality may be our civilization and all of us in it; or all our technology taken together; or the results of our daily work, which move the 'bus' forward; or whatever else may be organizing our efforts and driving us toward a future). It is this difference in value – between the market value of the headlights and the real value of this incomparably larger entity and of all of us in it – that you may bear in mind as  [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]]'s <em>value proposition</em>.</p>
<li>
+
<p>So far what we've presented is only an abstract claim. Can [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] indeed make the kind of practical difference that the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] suggests? In the four detailed modules of this website we shall show that it can.</p>
innovating (or recreating)  at the level of basic socio-technical systems or institutions (which you'll understand if you think of the headlights, and turning the candle into a light bulb – to adapt it to the function it has in the larger system</li>
+
 
<li>
+
<h3>Illuminating the way</h3>
innovating with the goal of improving the larger system or systems (which you'll see if you focus on the bus, and think that what we do with knowledge really acquires the meaning and value in this much larger context)</li></ul></p>
+
<p>If you'll consider the movement of the bus to be our society's travel into the future, or in a word its <em>evolution</em>, then [[guided evolution of society|<em>guided evolution of society</em>]] is a new evolutionary course the [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing to. Our ride into the future, posits the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]],  must be illuminated by suitable information. We must both create <em>and use</em> information in this new way.</p>
<p>We practice [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] when our primary goal is to make <em>the whole thing</em> functional or vital or [[wholeness|<em>whole</em>]]. Here "the whole thing" may of course be a whole hierarchy of things, in which what we are doing or creating has a role. We offer it as a rule of thumb pointing to a new evolutionary direction</p>
+
<p>We took this [[keywords|<em>keyword</em>]] from Bela H. Banathy, who considered the guided evolution of society to be the second great revolution in our civilization's history – the first one being the agricultural revolution. While in this first revolution we learned to cultivate our bio-physical environment, in the next one we'll learn to cultivate our socio-cultural environment. Here is how Banathy formulated this vision:
<p>The Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] also explains why a dramatic improvement of our ride into the future may be expected to result if we think, and innovate, <em>systemically</em>: The dollar value of the headlights may of course be a factor to consider; but it's insignificant compared to the value of the whole bus (which in our metaphor may point to all our technology taken together; or to the results of our daily work, which move the 'bus' forward; or to our civilization as a whole; or to whatever else may be organizing our efforts and driving us forward into a future). It is this difference in value – between the dollar value of the headlights, and the real value of this incomparably larger entity and of all of us in it – that you may bear in mind as  [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]]'s "value proposition". Again and again we'll see [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] make this sort of a difference in value, wherever it's applied.</p>
 
<h3>Guided evolution of society</h3>
 
<p>If you'll consider the movement of the bus to be our society's travel into the future, or in a word its <em>evolution</em>, then [[guided evolution of society|<em>guided evolution of society</em>]] may be understood as (by definition!) the way to resolve the paradox in that context: Our ride into the future, posits the [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]],  must be illuminated by suitable information. The handling of knowledge we've inherited will not suit this purpose; therefore a more suitable way needs to be created.</p>
 
<p>Stated in this way, the [[guided evolution of society|<em>guided evolution of society</em>]] is of course just an unverified claim, as a scientific formula might be when it's first stated. We need a proof – or <em>something that amounts to a proof</em>. A purpose of this website is to provide that.</p>
 
<p>We took this [[keywords|<em>keyword</em>]] over from Bela H. Banathy, who considered the guided evolution of society the theme. (We must say that he too federated this insight – in several his works and notably in "Guided evolution of society".) Banathy saw this as the second great revolution – the first one being the agricultural one (where we learned to cultivate our bio-physical environment). The next revolution will empower us to cultivate our socio-cultural environment. Here is how he framed it:
 
 
<blockquote>
 
<blockquote>
 
We are the first generation of our species that has the privilege, the opportunity, and the burden of responsibility to engage in the process of our own evolution. We are indeed chosen people. We now have the knowledge available to us and we have the power of human and social potential that is required to initiate a new and historical social function: conscious evolution. But we can fulfill this function only if we develop evolutionary competence by evolutionary learning and acquire the will and determination to engage in conscious evolution. These are core requirements, because what evolution did for us up to now we have to learn to do for ourselves by guiding our own evolution.
 
We are the first generation of our species that has the privilege, the opportunity, and the burden of responsibility to engage in the process of our own evolution. We are indeed chosen people. We now have the knowledge available to us and we have the power of human and social potential that is required to initiate a new and historical social function: conscious evolution. But we can fulfill this function only if we develop evolutionary competence by evolutionary learning and acquire the will and determination to engage in conscious evolution. These are core requirements, because what evolution did for us up to now we have to learn to do for ourselves by guiding our own evolution.
 
</blockquote> </p>
 
</blockquote> </p>
 
</div></div>
 
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>A case for a new paradigm in knowledge work</h2></div>
+
<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Synopsis and highlights</h2></div>
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>How we plead our case</h3>
+
 
<p>What we offer here is a 'view from a mountain top', or a 'view in the light of a light bulb' (created by federating knowledge) of the need and the possibility for a new paradigm in knowledge work or creative work. </p>
+
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Making knowledge useful</h3>  
<p>Our point is that there have been three disruptive changes during the past century:
+
<p>The idea we are talking about – to make knowledge radically more useful by deliberately <em>creating</em> (rather than only inheriting) the way it is handled – might be <em>the</em> simplest and most natural idea ever proposed to the academic community. </p>  
<ul>
+
<p>Our response may mean the difference between civilizational success and failure.</p>  
<li>fundamental insights have been reached in the sciences, which challenged or disproved the assumptions based on which our knowledge-related values, and practices, have developed</li>
+
<p>Why were the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] who proposed it so consistently ignored?  </p>
<li>new information technology enables, and as we shall see also <em>demands</em> that we reconsider and change the way we handle knowledge</li>
+
 
<li>our civilization has reached a condition, and also a level of development or maturity, where what we need as information is entirely different than what the case was just a generation or two ago</li>
+
<h3>Changing course</h3>  
</ul></p>
+
<p>We shall focus on this question in Federation through Conversations. We shall see that our pre-rational obedience to our society's order of things is part of the way in which our culture and society have been evolving. We shall see that this obedience is deep in our cultural DNA. And that the challenge we are facing is a re<em>evolutionary</em> one! </p>  
<p>It has indeed turned out that each of those changes have been so clear-cut and so spectacularly large in degree, that each of them alone provides more than a sufficient reason for engaging in the kind of changes that we are about to describe and propose. We highlight that by weaving together the stories and the insights of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] that represent the main milestones in the mentioned disruptive changes. We see that what's really going on in our time, and what's really worth seeing and attending to, is not Donald Trump but a sweeping Enlightenment-like change. And we already get glimpses of iconic characters and stories that might represent it, as Galilei and Newton were the icons of the previous such change.</p>
+
<p>In that last module we shall use [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] to illuminate our present evolutionary course – the very 'road' our metaphorical bus has been following. We shall see why our <em>way</em> of evolving now needs to change. We shall draw attention to the social-psychological forces that are keeping us from engaging in that change – and already orchestrate our <em>liberation</em>.</p>  
<p>In each of the four modules in which our case is presented, we look at our case from a different angle. You may understand them with the help of our metaphorical image, the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]], as showing respectively that (1) we have, and need a different principle of operation – not fire but electricity; (2) we have the technology that is needed for creating the light bulb; (3) a plan of a light bulb, together with the proof of concept – showing in what way the light bulb can be created, and what practical differences it may make; (4) the larger picture, where by looking at our civilization's evolution 'in the light of the light bulb', and the particular point in it where we now find ourselves, we see our own times and mores in a similar way as we may see the mindset of the Middle Ages – which of course makes the change immanent.</p>
+
 
<p>Here and also in those four modules, we use the technique that is common in journalism – which is to present a larger issue by telling a concrete story, which typically involves a [[giants|<em>giant</em>]] and one of his core insights. This will give some real-life touch and zest to our stories – but it will leave you the challenge of seeing the larger picture we are pointing at by talking about concrete people and things.</p>
+
<h3>Rebuilding the foundations</h3>  
<p>In each of the four modules we apply a different set of  [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] techniques. In this way we also illustrate [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]].</p>
+
<p>While you may, of course, browse through the modules in any way you choose, we have chosen to order them from the foundations up.</p>  
</div>
+
<p>What constitutes "good" knowledge? Our academic culture has not evolved as a quest for useful knowledge – but as an answer to this <em>fundamental</em> question. </p>  
</div>
+
<p>In Federation through Images we show that the proposal we are submitting is not a deviation from this evolutionary course, but its natural continuation. We shall see why the insights reached in 20th century science and philosophy not only enable – but indeed enjoin that we take that next step.</p>  
<div class="row">
+
<p>What might information need to be like to give us the knowledge we need, in this age? By what methods can it be created? Even if you are not interested in such "philosophical" questions but only in technology, you will recognize in them the way to avoid using the technology to only 'reproduce the candle'.</p>  
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
+
 
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Federation through Images</h3>
+
<h3>Hearing the giants</h3>  
<p>Our ideas of what constitutes "good" information have been evolving since antiquity, and they now find their foremost expression in science and philosophy. In [[IMAGES|Federation through Images]] we show that the developments in 20th century's science and philosophy empower the next disruptive change, along the lines we've just discussed.</p>
+
<p>Who were the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] we needed to hear, but didn't? What were they trying to tell us?</p>  
<p>[[Werner Heisenberg]] received the Nobel prize for developing the quantum mechanics when he was barely 30 years old. Looking back from an advanced stage of his life and career, in his 1958 "Physics and Philosophy", Heisenberg explained how
+
<p>In Federation through Stories we begin to answer this question, by sharing the insights of four [[giants|<em>giants</em>]], and weaving them together. This will inform our quest for
<blockquote>
+
<ul>  
the nineteenth century developed an
+
<li>right fundamental assumptions (what "good knowledge" is or should be)</li>  
extremely rigid frame for natural science which formed not
+
<li>right use of information technology (or the right social processes by which this technology is used)</li>  
only science but also the general outlook of great masses of
+
<li>right use of our creative capabilities (the one that will lead us toward the kind of condition or future we might justifiably desire)</li>  
people.
+
<li>right use of knowledge</li> </ul>
</blockquote>
+
and in that way give substance to our four main [[keywords|<em>keywords</em>]].
He then pointed out how this frame of concepts was too narrow and too rigid for expressing some of the core elements of human culture – which as a result appeared to modern people as irrelevant. And how correspondingly limited and utilitarian values and worldviews became prominent. Heisenberg then explained how modern physics disproved this "narrow frame"; and concluded that
+
</p> 
<blockquote>
+
 
one may say that the most important change brought about by &#91 the results of modern physics &#93  consists in the dissolution of this rigid frame of
+
<h3>Prospecting a creative frontier</h3>
concepts of the nineteenth century.
+
<p>It is in the nature of every [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] to open up a large space for contribution and achievement. In Federation through Applications we shall see that the [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] we are talking about is not an exception. </p>  
</blockquote></p></div>
+
<p>Much of our mission has been to prospect and chart that frontier, and make large-scale development possible. </p>  
<div class="col-md-3 round-images"> [[File:Heisenberg.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Werner Heisenberg]]<br>the icon of [[design epistemology]]</center></small></div>
+
<p>In what way can we define concepts so that they empower change – instead of <em>reifying</em> what exists? What might our public informing n3eed to be like, to be capable of combining insights from relevant fields of knowledge, and telling us how to direct our efforts? How can we change real-life institutions? Those and a variety of other questions that delineate [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a creative frontier are answered to by showing examples, a majority of which are real life-embedded applications. </p>  
</div>
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
 
<div class="col-md-7">
 
<p>The substance of Federation through Images is to show how <em>the fundamental insights reached in 20th century science and philosophy allow us to develop a way out of "the rigid frame" </em> – which is a rigorously founded methodology for creating truth and meaning about any issue and at any level of generality, which we are calling [[polyscopy|<em>polyscopy</em>]]. In essence, [[polyscopy|<em>polyscopy</em>]] is just a generalization of the scientific approach to knowledge, based on recent scientific / philosophical insights, which amounts to is something akin to "scientific method"  for  [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]].</p>
 
<p>The technique used for presenting the core insights of leading thinkers is metaphorical and often paradoxical images or [[ideograms|<em>ideograms</em>]]. The result is a cartoon-like introduction to the philosophical underpinnings of a refreshingly novel approach to knowledge.</p>
 
<h3>Federation through Stories</h3>
 
<p>You might be feeling that the metaphor of the candle headlights surely must fail when we talk about the information technology. Aren't we living in the Age of Information? Isn't our information technology indeed <em>the most modern</em> part of our civilization, the one where the largest progress has been made, the one that best characterizes our progress? In  [[STORIES|Federation through Stories]] we explain why this is not the case, why the candle headlights analogy works in this key domain as well – by telling the story of the man who conceived, developed  and prototyped the core elements of the new media technology that is now in common use.</p>
 
  
</div>
+
<h3>A socio-technical lightbulb</h3>
</div>
+
<p>Consider what's presented on these pages as a complete [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] of a socio-technical lightbulb. It includes answers to a spectrum of questions, ranging from the principle of operation on the one end, to the deployment strategy on the other.</p>
<div class="row">
+
<p>In the four detailed modules by which this presentation is completed, we shall use [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] to explain, showcase and already put to use [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]]. Each module will apply and demonstrate a specific set of techniques – and focus on a specific aspect of our design.</p>
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
+
<p>In Federation through Images we use [[ideograms|<em>ideograms</em>]] – metaphorical and often paradoxical images to sum up the findings of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]]. The result is a cartoon-like introduction to the philosophical underpinnings of a novel approach to knowledge.</p>
<div class="col-md-6">
+
<p>In Federation through Stories we use [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] – short, lively, catchy, sticky... real-life people and situation stories – to explain and empower the core ideas of daring thinkers. [[vignettes|<em>Vignettes</em>]] are in essence what the journalists do to introduce complex ideas – they tell them through a story. The [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] liberate the insights from the language of a discipline and enables non-experts to 'step into the shoes' of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]], 'see through their eyes'. By combining [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] into [[threads|<em>threads</em>]], and threads into higher units of meaning, we reach the direction-setting insights we've been talking about.</p>
<p>
+
<p>The applications discussed in Federation through Applications are technically called [[prototypes|<em>prototypes</em>]]. They serve as  
<blockquote>
+
<ul>  
Digital technology could help make this a better world.  But we've also got to change our way of thinking.
+
<li>models – because they embody systemic solutions which can then be adapted to other situations  </li>  
</blockquote>
+
<li>interventions because they are embedded in practice and act on practice, with the aim to transform it </li>  
This was (intended to be) the opening of Doug Engelbart's presentation of his vision for the future of (information-) technological innovation in 2007 at Google. We shall see that this 'new thinking' was precisely what we've been calling [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]]. We shall see that Engelbart developed the new media to enable (what we are calling) [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]]. Two points in Engelbart's history made us call it "incredible": (1) that he had this insight already in 1951 – when there were only a handful of computers in the world, which were used solely for numerical scientific calculations and (2) that he was unable to communicate his vision to the Silicon Valley – even after having been recognized as The Valley's "genius in residence". </p>
+
<li> experiments because they show what works well, and what needs to be improved </li>  
</div>
+
</ul> </p>
<div class="col-md-3 round-images"> [[File:Doug.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Douglas Engelbart]]<br>the icon of [[knowledge federation]]</center></small></div>
+
<p>In Federation through Conversations, we begin to develop or [[bootstrapping|<em>bootstrap</em>]] a suitable new 'collective mind' or our society's 'headlights', by
</div>
+
<ul>  
<div class="row">
+
<li>focusing our conversation on a core, transformative theme</li>  
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
+
<li>illuminating it with core ideas of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]]</li>  
<div class="col-md-7">
+
<li>engaging our collective intelligence to weave those ideas together and develop them further </li>  
<p>The details are provided in [[STORIES|Federation through Stories]], so we'll here only give you a hint. The printing press analogy works, because the printing press was to a large degree the technical invention that led to the Enlightenment, by making knowledge widely accessible. The question is – What might be an analogous development today? And of course the "network-interconnected interactive digital media" is the answer. But there's a catch! When we apply the Industrial Age efficiency scheme – and use the Web to merely broadcast knowledge, augment the volume, reduce the price... then the result is of course information glut. We end up "drowning in information", as Neil Postman observed! As the Incredible History of Doug will show, this technology was <em>conceived</em> (in 1951!) to serve as a societal "nervous system", enabling an entirely different division, specialization and organization of knowledge work (which is of course [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] by definition). </p>
+
<li>bringing in a whole new culture of communication, which we point to by the keyword [[dialogs|<em>dialog</em>]]</li>  
<p>To see the difference, imagine what would your mind be like if your cells were using your nervous systems to merely <em>broadcast</em> data!. Then think about how this reflects upon our society and our "collective intelligence"...</p>
+
<li>applying new media technology – and enabling the technology to make a difference</li>  
<p>It follows that to draw <em>real</em> benefits from information technology, [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] must replace the conventional reliance on the market. And conversely – that the contemporary information technology is – because it has been conceived as – an <em>enabler</em> of systemic innovation.</p>
+
</ul> </p>
<p>We use [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] – short, lively, catchy, sticky... real-life people and situation stories – to explain and empower some of the core ideas of daring thinkers. A vignette liberates an insight from the language of a discipline and enables a non-expert to 'step into the shoes' of a leading thinker, 'look through his eye glasses'. By combining [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] into [[threads|<em>threads</em>]], and threads into higher units of meaning, we take this process of [[knowledge federation|<em>federation</em>]] all the way to the kind of direction-setting principles we've just been talking about. </p>
 
<h3>Federation through Applications</h3>
 
<p>In [[APPLICATIONS|Federation through Applications]] the theme is [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] and [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] as creative frontier. Here we present a (sufficiently) complete prototype of the (socio-technical) 'light bulb' – together with the proof of concept, showing "it works" – and look what we'll be able to see when its light's been turned on!</p>
 
</div>
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
 
<div class="col-md-6"><p>
 
Fifty years ago Erich Jantsch made a proposal for the university of the future, and made an appeal that the university take the new leadership role which, as he saw it, was due.
 
<blockquote>
 
[T]he university should make structural changes within itself toward a new purpose of enhancing the society’s capacity for continuous self-renewal.
 
</blockquote>
 
</p>
 
<p>Suppose the university did that. Suppose that we opened up the university to take such a leadership role. What new ways of working, results, effects... could be achieved? What might this new creative frontier look like, what might it consist of, how may it be organized?</p>
 
<p>The technique here is the creation of [[prototypes|<em>prototypes</em>]] which are characteristic products of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] and [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]]. If we should aim at <em>systemic</em>  impact – what should we do? We present [[prototypes|<em>prototypes</em>]] as (1) models (2) interventions and (3) experiments. </p>
 
<p>And in terms of about 40 [[prototypes|<em>prototypes</em>]], we outline the single and central one – [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]].</p>
 
<p>Broader, we sketch a complete [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] of an emerging academic and societal [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]], rendered as a portfolio of [[prototypes|<em>prototypes</em>]].</p></div>
 
<div class="col-md-3 round-images"> [[File:Jantsch.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Erik Jantsch]]<br>the icon of [[systemic innovation]]</center></small></div>
 
</div>
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
 
<div class="col-md-7">
 
<p>What might journalism need to be like in order to give us the information we need to empower us to act in the complex realities and choose the right way? Obviously it would need to federate knowledge – but in what way? How could scientists collaborate? And the creative communication designers? In what way may such a journalism model be created and maintained up to date (this too would obviously need to be the result of federation)?</p>
 
<p>Or take the education as example. Education is obviously the key to continued societal renewal. What should education be like to suit that role? What technology would it use?How can education be globally federated, so that it reflects at any time the actual state of the knowledge? How can it be given a business model that would make it competitive with the gaming industry (capable of taking advantage of immersive new media)? How can all the work that's done in education help or even enable large-scale federation of global knowledge resources?</p>
 
<p>We take up these and a broad variety of other questions.</p>
 
<p>We made a complete prototype of the creative frontier. We undertook to organize it, give it shape. We worked in the manner of prospectors developing an area for large-scale mining – by creating a school and a hospital and a hotel and... So the whole thing is a result, a guiding vision – but now in detail.</p></div>
 
</div>
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
 
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Federation through Conversations</h3>
 
<p> In [[CONVERSATIONS|Federation through Conversations]] the theme is the larger societal change – and the change of our understanding of core issues.</p>
 
</div>
 
</div>
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
 
<div class="col-md-6"><p>
 
In 1968 The Club of Rome was initiated, as a global think tank to study the future prospects of humanity, and give recommendations and incite action. Based on a decade of The Club's work, Aurelio Peccei – its founding president and motor power – gave this diagnosis:
 
<blockquote>
 
The future will either be an inspired product of a great cultural revival, or there will be no future.
 
</blockquote>
 
</p>
 
<p>In what way might such a change, "a great cultural revival", realistically happen? What may we do to contribute to such a change of mood, and of action?</p>
 
<p>This being of considerate importance – we give its own title and section. </p>
 
<p>Far from being "just talking", these conversations <em>build</em> communication, in a certain new way, both regarding the media used and the manner of communicating. We use the [[dialogs|<em>dialog</em>]]. By conversing we bring the public attention to these themes. And we evolve a public sphere capable of conducting them. Here in the truest sense the medium is the message.</p>
 
</div>
 
<div class="col-md-3 round-images"> [[File:Peccei.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Aurelio Peccei]]<br>the icon of [[guided evolution of society]]</center></small></div>
 
</div>
 
------
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Turning on the light</h2></div>
 
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Where would you point it?</h3>
 
<p>Sometimes when we talk about this work people ask "so where do you think this can be applied?" Well, it's a new way to work with information, we answer. So it can be applied wherever information is applied. This is of course true, but it still misses the main point. Which is that <em>our main value proposition is to vastly broaden and strengthen the application of information or knowledge</em>. This leaves a vast range of possible themes for us to talk about. But it's time now to be concrete, and choose one. Or a handful.</p>
 
<p>So imagine that you had it – a strong and flexible electrical flashlight (metaphorically speaking), which you can point at will toward any question or theme you may want to illuminate. Suppose that a prototype of this flashlight has just been completed, and now you want to demonstrate its value in practice. You want to show it to people, show what it can do, invite – and attract – the people to try it and use it. What themes would you choose?</p>
 
<p>We've chosen the following three themes. </p>
 
<h3>The paradigm strategy dialog</h3>
 
<p>One could say that this is the most natural and straight-forward choice we could have made. The 'road of the bus' is really the course of our civilization's evolution. Can we illuminate <em>that</em> – and show how exactly it's been developing; where we are coming from and where we are headed; and what we <em>should</em> do at this particular point on this road where we currently are, what course should we steer? And how? These are, roughly, the themes of The Paradigm Strategy dialog.</p>
 
<p>While of course anyone can participate, the intended primary audience are the informed and concerned creatives, the global change makers. Can we engage them to co-create a vision? Can we use the [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] techniques and technologies to orchestrate a global conversation where the best insights of our present best minds are aided by the most relevant insights of the historical [[giants|<em>giants</em>]], to co-create a state-of-the-art vision for all of us, and for our society?</p>
 
<p>The [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] vision that is offered is what we called the [[paradigm strategy|<em>paradigm strategy</em>]] – which is to focus our energies on shifting the whole paradigm. The insight to be developed is that while even small and obviously necessary changes may be difficult or impossible (because they don't fit into the existing [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]), the biiig change may still be easy (because we are at the point in our evolution where everything's been prepared for it, and where that's just our natural next step). </p>
 
<p>To illuminate our evolutionary trajectory and the just mentioned view of our present-day position on it we have developed The Paradigm Strategy poster, where a variety of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] techniques are applied and showcased. The [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] here are the leading thinkers in sociology, cognitive science, philosophy... But not only. </p>
 
<p>Long story made short – by federating Chomsky as linguist, Harari as historian, Graeber as anthropologist, Nietzsche as philosopher, Bourdieu and Giddens as sociologists, Damasio as cognitive scientist... we arrive at a radically fresh view of the nature of our societal evolution. And of our <em>socialization</em>. Without going into details (which will be shared in Federation through Conversations and of course in the conversations) let's just highlight a single paradigm-shifting detail: Our shared single worldview, which in the earlier paradigm tended to be considered as "the objective truth about the nature reality" (even if we could never really agree what exactly this thing might be...) – now becomes an instrument of our socialization! The <em>liberation</em> from clinging on to this "reality picture" is then seen as our evolutionary step forward. So we have made a full circle and came back to – [[epistemology|<em>epistemology</em>]], which is of course the mother of any paradigm.</p>
 
<p> Let us here also share an insight, a [[high-level|<em>high-level</em>]] view that follows from this conversation – how we've been evolving socially and culturally as the [[homo ludens|<em>homo ludens</em>]] (man the (game) player). This expression has been used as the title of an old book, but we've polished it and redefined it, so that it has a much more precise and agile meaning what good old Johan Huizinga intended. The point is that the [[homo ludens|<em>homo ludens</em>]] is not the <em>homo sapiens</em>; he does not really seek knowledge or use knowledge. He's become adapted to the complex reality combined with the lack of suitable information – by simply learning his different social roles, and in particular his profession, as one would learn the rules of a game; and by playing competitively, aiming to increase what he (or better said the game) considers as his gains or interests. The [[homo ludens|<em>homo ludens</em>]] learns by seeing what works in practice, and adapting. In the shadow of this evolutionary condition, needless to say, one finds spectacular opportunities for insight and improvement – which should give zest and zeal to this conversation.</p>
 
<p>An interesting subtlety is that the [[homo ludens|<em>homo ludens</em>]] and the <em>homo sapiens</em> are not only two different cultural species and ways of evolving; they are also signature themes of two <em>incommensurable</em> [[paradigm|<em>paradigms</em>]] (ways of creating truth and meaning). Each of them – by looking in his own characteristic way – sees the other as going extinct, and himself as the paragon of evolution: The [[homo ludens|<em>homo ludens</em>]] just looks around, see that it's the [[homo ludens|<em>homo ludens</em>]] specimen who are succeeding in life, and that the <em>homo sapiens</em> specimen are becoming scarce, and draws the obvious conclusion. The cultural <em>homo sapiens</em> looks at the data, sees the global trends, and the values and behaviors that are causing them, and draws the <em>opposite</em> conclusion.</p>
 
<h3>Liberation dialog</h3>
 
<p>However timely the [[paradigm strategy|<em>paradigm strategy</em>]] may be as a theme, it is probably too abstract and esoteric for most people. To engage the general public in a conversation, we have prepared a whole other one – which brings in much of the same insights and content, but through a back door, so to speak. The title theme of this dialog, however, is religion, and its nature and future. Here too we have a document that can strike the conversation; it's the book (presently a manuscript) titled "Liberation" and subtitled "Religion for the third millennium". It's the first book in the intended Knowledge Federation trilogy, by which [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] will be introduced to general audiences. </p>
 
<p>In traditional cultures, religion has served as the ethical and hence also evolutionary guidance; it's provided the moral code and the sense of identity that held the people together in a community. </p>
 
<p>Religion is also a theme on which the opinions are most strongly held both when they are <em>pro</em> religion, or a certain specific religion, and when they are against it. So this theme has the potential to truly engage the people. This potential is vastly augmented by the fact that, as it turns out, we have a way of looking at this theme that is likely to upset both the <em>pro</em> and the <em>con</em> side! How is this possible?</p>
 
<p>You must have noticed that religion has been associated with <em>believing</em> in something, even against evidence. Those beliefs were, furthermore, so strong, that people have been prone to go into armed disputes even over small differences – flagrantly violating the Almighty's explicit command not  to kill (delivered by Moses, who's been recognized as a prophet in major Western religions). So the question is – what's really going on here? And – can we understand the issue of religion in a completely new way – which will help us reconfigure our values and our priorities, and bind us together in a society <em>in a completely new way</em>?</p>
 
 
</div></div>
 
</div></div>
<div class="row">
 
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
 
<div class="col-md-6">
 
<p>It has turned out that the key [[memes|<em>meme</em>]] is already there; and that it only needs to be [[knowledge federation|<em>federated</em>]]. This [[memes|<em>meme</em>]] also comes with an interesting story, which lets itself be rendered as a [[vignettes|<em>vignette</em>]]. </p>
 
<p>Early in the 20th century a young monk in Thailand spent a couple of years in a monastery in Bangkok and thought "This just cannot be it!" So he decided to do as the Buddha did – he went alone into a forest and experimented. He also had the original Pali scriptures with him, to help him find the <em>original</em> way. And reportedly he did!</p>
 
<p>What Buddhadasa ("the slave of the Buddha", as this [[giants|<em>giant</em>]] of religion called himself) found out was that the essence of the Buddha's teaching was different, and in a way <em>opposite</em> from how Buddhism is usually understood and taught. And not only that – the practice he rediscovered is in its essential elements <em>opposite</em> from what's evolved as "the pursuit of happiness" in most of the modern world. Buddhadasa saw the Buddha's discovery, which he rediscovered, as a kind of a natural law, the discoveries of which have marked the inception of all major religions. Or more simply, what Buddhadasa discovered, and undertook to give to the world, was "the essence of religion". </p></div>
 
<div class="col-md-3 round-images"> [[File:Buddhadasa.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Buddhadasa]]</center></small></div>
 
</div>
 
<div class="row">
 
<div class="col-md-3"></div>
 
<div class="col-md-7">
 
<p>You may of course be tempted to disqualify the Buddha's or Buddhadasa's approach to happiness as a product of some rigidly held religious belief. But the epistemological essence of Buddhadasa's teaching is that it's not only purely <em>evidence-based</em> or experience-based – but also that the liberation from <em>any</em> sort of clinging, and to clinging to beliefs in particular, is <em>the</em> essential part of the practice.</p>
 
<p>In the Liberation book we federate Buddhadasa's teaching about religion by (1) moving it from the domain of religion as belief to the domain of the pursuit of happiness; (2) linking this with a variety of other sources, thus producing a kind of a roadmap to happiness puzzle, and then showing how this piece snuggly fits in and completes the puzzle; (3) showing how religions – once this [[memes|<em>meme</em>]] was discovered – tended to become instruments of negative socialization; and how we may now do better, and need to do better.</p>
 
<h3>Knowledge federation dialog</h3>
 
<p>Finally, we need to talk about our [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]], about [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]]. While this conversation will complete the [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] (by creating a feedback loop with the help of which it will evolve further), the real theme and interest of this conversation is of course well beyond what our little model might suggest.</p>
 
<p>In the midst of all our various evolutionary mishaps, we've done at least one thing right – academic tenure! And the ethos of academic freedom! We've created what's virtually a global army, quite large in size, of people who've been selected and trained and sponsored to think freely. If we agree that we now need a fresh new evolutionary course – beyond "the survival of the fittest" – then it's hard to even imagine how this new course could emerge without the help of this army. The army just needs to be mobilized.</p>
 
<p>You may now understand all that's been told as an <em>academic</em> argument for such a mobilization!</p>
 
<p>You may recognize as salient points the fact that neither Engelbart nor Jantsch – whom we've honored as icons of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] and [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] – found support for their activities at leading universities. Can we do better than that?</p>
 
<p>We offer [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] of an evolutionary department, which can enable the university to (as Jantsch suggested) "make structural changes within itself toward a new purpose of enhancing the society’s capacity for continuous self-renewal". </p>
 
<p>The purpose of this third conversation is to take advantage of our [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] to dialog about the role and the future of the university – and see if a re-mobilization may result.</p>
 
</div>
 
</div>
 
 
<!-- [[{{TALKPAGENAME}}|Discussion]] -->
 

Latest revision as of 08:32, 4 June 2019

A historical parallel

Think about the world at the twilight of the Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance. Recall the devastating religious wars, terrifying epidemics... Bring to mind the iconic image of the scholastics discussing "how many angels can dance on a needle point". And another iconic image, of Galilei in house arrest a century after Copernicus, whispering "and yet it moves" into his beard.

Observe that the problems of the epoch were not resolved by focusing on those problems, but by a slow and steady development of an entirely new approach to knowledge. Several centuries of accelerated and sweeping evolution followed. Could a similar advent be in store for us today?

Our discovery

"If I have seen further," Sir Isaac Newton famously declared, "it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." The point of departure of our initiative was a discovery. We did not discover that the best ideas of our best minds were drowning in an ocean of glut. Vannevar Bush, a giant, diagnosed that nearly three quarters of a century ago. He urged the scientists to focus on that disturbing trend and find a remedy. But needless to say, this too drowned in glut.

What we did find out, when we began to develop and apply knowledge federation as a remedial practice, was that now just as in Newton's time, the insights of giants add up to a novel approach to knowledge. And that just as the case was then, the new approach to knowledge leads to new ways in which core issues are understood and handled.

Our strategy

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality", observed Buckminster Fuller. "To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” So we built knowledge federation as a model (or technically a prototype) of a new way to work with knowledge (or a paradigm); and of a new institution (the transdiscipline) that is capable of developing this new new approach to knowledge as an academic and real-life praxis (informed practice).

By sharing this model we are not proposing a conclusive answer. Our aim is indeed much higher – it is to open up a creative frontier where the ways in which knowledge is created and used, and more generally the ways in which our creative efforts are directed, are brought into focus and continuously recreated and improved.


Making knowledge count

Connecting the dots

What would it take to bring knowledge out of academic books and articles and let it inform our everyday lives? And our handling of society's core issues?

As our logo might suggest, knowledge federation means 'connecting the dots' – combining disparate pieces of information and other knowledge resources together, so that they may make sense, or function, in a new way. We adopted this keyword from political and institutional federation, where smaller entities are united to achieve greater visibility and impact – while preserving, in some suitable degree, their identity and autonomy.

Information for orientation

What could a more responsive and creative approach to knowledge provide, which we don't yet have? Norbert Wiener gave us this hint.

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Knowledge Federation logo

There is only one quality more important than "know how". This is "know what" by which we determine not only how to accomplish our purposes but what our purposes are to be.

Science has given us a colossal know-how. We now need a similarly powerful know-what to be able to use our immense new power beneficially and safely.

With the information we have, we are like people lost in a forest, who can only see the trees. By seeing the trees, we are able to navigate through them. By not seeing the forest, we are unable to find a way out. We choose our way in the only way that's still available – by following the crowd. But crowds too can be lost!

Knowledge federation

Think on the one side of all the knowledge we own, in academic articles and also broader. Include the heritage of the world traditions. Include the insights reached by creative people daily.

Think on the other side of all the questions we need to have answered. Think of all the insights that will give us the understanding we need, of all the principles and rules of thumb that will direct our action. Imagine them occupying distinct levels of generality. The more general an insight is, the more useful it can be.

You may now understand knowledge federation as whatever we the people may need to do to create, organize, synchronize, update and keep up to date various elements of this hierarchy.

Knowledge federation is the creation and use of knowledge as we may need it – to be able to comprehend the increasingly complex world around us; to be able to live and act in it in an informed, sustainable or simply better way.

Our vision is of an informed post-traditional and post-industrial society – where our understanding and handling of the core issues of our lives and times reflect the best available knowledge; where knowledge is created and integrated and applied with that goal in mind; and where information technology is developed and used accordingly.

Our proposal

We are not proposing to replace journalism, or science, but to complement them. And to connect them with one other, and also with technological innovation and governance, and with the arts and other creative fields.

We are submitting a case for a new socio-technical infrastructure, with its own division and organization of creative work, just as the academic disciplines and journalism now have.

We are proposing to put in place an approach to knowledge that is deliberately designed to answer to the contemporary needs of people and society. What issues may require such knowledge? What might the information that carries it be like? By what methods, technical tools and social processes will it be created? Our call to action is for a new academic praxis that will answer such questions.

The purpose of our prototype, which is shown on these pages, is to provide sufficiently rich and solid answers to consolidate a proof of concept; to show that this indeed can be done. And to initiate the doing.


A collective mind

Information technology demands new thinking

Another way to understand knowledge federation is to perceive it as what we must do to draw the kind of benefits from the new information technology that this technology was meant to provide.

Digital technology could help make this a better world. But we've also got to change our way of thinking.

As we shall see in Federation through Stories, these two sentences frame Douglas Engelbart's gift to the world – which is yet to be unpacked.

We shall see that Engelbart and his lab created significant parts of the knowledge media technology we have – as stepping stones toward a much larger vision, which remained ignored.

The network-interconnected interactive digital media – which Doug and his team showed for the first time in 1968, and which you now have in your hand or on your desktop – have given the humanity (in Doug’s words) “a super new nervous system to upgrade our collective organisms”.

To see what went wrong, how this development took a different direction than what Doug intended, imagine that your own cells were using your nervous system to only broadcast data to your brain and to each other. Think about the effect this would have on your intelligence! You may now easily see why this technology – which has been conceived to vastly augment our collective intelligence – can serve that most timely end only when knowledge is “developed, integrated and applied” in a way that is entirely different from what the printing press made possible.

Information technology calls for reconfiguring knowledge work

Imagine that you are taking a walk, lost in thoughts, and suddenly stop. As your attention is returning to hear and now, you realize that you are standing at arm's length from a wall.

Imagine what would have happened if your eyes were seeing that, but trying to communicate it to your brain and your muscles by writing academic articles in some specialized field of knowledge!

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To see what we want to set in motion by proposing knowledge federation, imagine our civilization as an organism, which has grown uncommonly or exponentially fast. Imagine that this creature has evolved a finely developed brain and nervous system – but that it has not not yet acquired the necessary cognitive and psychomotoric skills, which would allow it to use its nervous system to make sense of the world, and to control its muscles.

Imagine that this creature's dominant use its "super-new nervous system" is to amplify its most primitive, limbic impulses!

The network-interconnected digital media technology enables, and also requires, an entirely new division, specialization and organization of knowledge work – analogous to what might characterize a healthy human mind.

You may now understand our proposal as the natural way to begin this re-evolutionary development – by first developing the necessary knowledge, or praxis, or paradigm.

Steps toward cultural revival

The future will either be an inspired product of a great cultural revival, or there will be no future

wrote Aurelio Peccei. We shall say more about him and his gift to mankind in Federation through Stories.

It is no secret that, for perhaps a brief yet unforgivingly perilous period of time, we have relegated the creation of culture to commercial and superficial interests.

Before the new media became ubiquitous, it was sufficient to own the physical buildings of the Sorbonne University, the Carnegie Hall and La Scala, to control the quality standards those institutions represented. Today, however, the new instruments of culture creation are largely in the hands of the proverbial "two hackers in a garage".

Caught up in its "objective observer" self-identity, the academia painstakingly records the cultural and social consequences of this trend.

You will see, in Federation through Applications, that a significant part of knowledge federation is to federate the available knowledge all the way into the design of the core systems that define our cultural and social reality. This systemic innovation is perhaps the most game-changing part of our proposal.

The new technology, and our overall condition, call for re-implementing the core functions of human culture in the new technology!

By giving it a name, knowledge federation, we are calling into existence the new paradigm in knowledge work that will empower us to do that.

A tribute to Engelbart

To a number of us in Knowledge Federation, Doug Engelbart is an inspirational figure and a cherished deceased friend. Our initiative grew in part out of a Silicon Valley-based initiative called The Program for the Future, whose purpose is to explain and complete Engelbart's vision. We are making this website public on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Engelbart's Demo – where the revolutionary technology and ideas he and his research lab created were first shown to public.


Reflection

Different thinking

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

In what ways might our thinking need to be different, if we should understand and develop a new paradigm?

First of all, we need to give it the time it requires. A paradigm being a harmonious yet complex web of relationships, some amount of mental processing is obviously unavoidable if we should form a coherent mental image, see that the things do fit better together and make better sense when rearranged in the new way.

A reward will come instantly – as with a touch of calm insight we come to realize that we don't need to be so busy. That we're just spinning the wheels of a wasteful and dysfunctional social machinery – and being too busy to see that.

Systemic thinking

The second that our thinking must undergo is to become systemic. Systemic thinking is the kind of thinking that grants us the insight just mentioned, and reveals solutions.

We've prepared this very brief and down-to-earth intuitive introduction to systemic thinking to help you slow down and reflect – and already get an inkling of what this initiative may practically mean.


A paradigm

Huge change can be easy

We have come to the side of our proposal that is the most relevant and interesting – and the most challenging to understand.

You will perhaps bear with us, even join us in developing this material further, until it's understandable by everyone – if you realize that what we are really talking about is the core reason why the best insights of our best minds tend to remain ignored.

And why a sweepingly large change can be natural and easy, even when far smaller and obviously necessary changes proved impossible.

Things get ignored when they fail to fit our order of things!

Our point – carefully, methodically, scrupulously... developed in the detailed modules – is that the big paradigm is all ready to be shifted; because we already own all the knowledge needed to set such a change in motion.

But also this largest of all changes, of the whole order of things, has a natural order in which it must proceed. Just as the construction of a house must begin with the foundations.


Knowledge federation introduces itself

Science taught us to think in terms of velocities and masses and experiments and natural causes. We shall now let knowledge federation introduce itself, and some of the core elements of the emerging larger societal paradigm, in its own manner of speaking.

Be prepared to see an informed approach to knowledge in action. The big picture will come first – pointing to a way. The details will naturally follow – as steps along the way.

A big picture view of our condition

Newton taught us how to unravel the secrets of nature with the help of mathematics. Knowledge federation adapts this approach to produce big picture insights.

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Modernity ideogram

The above ideogram expresses the nature of our situation (for which we use the keyword gestalt) in a nutshell.

Imagine us riding in a bus with candle headlights, through dark and unfamiliar terrain and at an accelerating speed. By depicting modernity as a bus with candle headlights, the Modernity ideogram points to an incongruity and paradox. In our hither-to modernization, we forgot to modernize something essential – and ended up in peril!

But this situation has a remedy.

Reconceiving knowledge work

If you consider the light of the headlights to be information or knowledge, and the headlights to represent the activities by which knowledge is created and applied, then you'll easily understand the interpretation we are pointing at. Our situation can be remedied by reconceiving knowledge and knowledge work as man-made things; and as essential building blocks in a much larger thing, or system, or systems.

Our situation calls for evaluating, handling and recreating knowledge and knowledge work as it might best serve their various roles in this larger system – such as showing the way.

The technical keyword we use for this reconception is design epistemology.

Notice that the epistemology is at the core of every paradigm, and of the paradigm of science in particular. Galilei was not tried for claiming that the Earth was moving; that was just a technical detail. It was his epistemology that got him into trouble – his belief that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. Galilei was required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions (Wikipedia).

An informed approach to knowledge

You may now understand knowledge federation as simply suitable 'headlights', the quest for those 'headlights', and as the 'factory' (transdiscipline) capable of creating them. Or in other words, as the knowledge and knowledge work that follow by consistent application of the design epistemology.

This definition leaves open the question – Is there indeed an approach to knowledge that can make the kind of difference in our overall condition that the difference between having proper headlights and driving with a pair of candles might suggest? Does the quest the ideogram is pointing to have a solution? Our purpose when presenting this prototype is to demonstrate that it does.

The lightbulb cannot be produced by improving the candle. The resolution of our quest is in the exact sense of the word a paradigm – a fundamentally and thoroughly new way to conceive of knowledge and to organize its handling. To create the lightbulb, we need to know that this is possible. And we also need a model to guide us. What's being shared here is a description of such a model.

Why waste time trying to improve 'the candle' – if it's really 'the lightbulb' we should be talking about, and creating?

Innovation

The Modernity ideogram bears an even larger and more general insight – it points to a way in which our creative capabilities in general need to be directed and used.

If you consider the movement of the bus to be the result of our creative efforts or of "innovation", then systemic innovation is (the name we've given to) the direction the Modernity ideogram is pointing to.

We practice systemic innovation when our primary goal is to make the whole thing functional or vital or whole. Here "the whole thing" may of course be a whole hierarchy of things, in which what we are doing or creating has a role.

You'll easily understand the reason why a dramatic improvement in the way we use our capacity to create or innovate is possible, if you just compare the principle the Modernity ideogram is pointing at with the way innovation is directed today.

The dollar value of the headlights is course a factor to be considered; but it's insignificant compared to the value of the whole big thing (which in reality may be our civilization and all of us in it; or all our technology taken together; or the results of our daily work, which move the 'bus' forward; or whatever else may be organizing our efforts and driving us toward a future). It is this difference in value – between the market value of the headlights and the real value of this incomparably larger entity and of all of us in it – that you may bear in mind as systemic innovation's value proposition.

So far what we've presented is only an abstract claim. Can systemic innovation indeed make the kind of practical difference that the Modernity ideogram suggests? In the four detailed modules of this website we shall show that it can.

Illuminating the way

If you'll consider the movement of the bus to be our society's travel into the future, or in a word its evolution, then guided evolution of society is a new evolutionary course the ideogram is pointing to. Our ride into the future, posits the Modernity ideogram, must be illuminated by suitable information. We must both create and use information in this new way.

We took this keyword from Bela H. Banathy, who considered the guided evolution of society to be the second great revolution in our civilization's history – the first one being the agricultural revolution. While in this first revolution we learned to cultivate our bio-physical environment, in the next one we'll learn to cultivate our socio-cultural environment. Here is how Banathy formulated this vision:

We are the first generation of our species that has the privilege, the opportunity, and the burden of responsibility to engage in the process of our own evolution. We are indeed chosen people. We now have the knowledge available to us and we have the power of human and social potential that is required to initiate a new and historical social function: conscious evolution. But we can fulfill this function only if we develop evolutionary competence by evolutionary learning and acquire the will and determination to engage in conscious evolution. These are core requirements, because what evolution did for us up to now we have to learn to do for ourselves by guiding our own evolution.


Synopsis and highlights

Making knowledge useful

The idea we are talking about – to make knowledge radically more useful by deliberately creating (rather than only inheriting) the way it is handled – might be the simplest and most natural idea ever proposed to the academic community.

Our response may mean the difference between civilizational success and failure.

Why were the giants who proposed it so consistently ignored?

Changing course

We shall focus on this question in Federation through Conversations. We shall see that our pre-rational obedience to our society's order of things is part of the way in which our culture and society have been evolving. We shall see that this obedience is deep in our cultural DNA. And that the challenge we are facing is a reevolutionary one!

In that last module we shall use knowledge federation to illuminate our present evolutionary course – the very 'road' our metaphorical bus has been following. We shall see why our way of evolving now needs to change. We shall draw attention to the social-psychological forces that are keeping us from engaging in that change – and already orchestrate our liberation.

Rebuilding the foundations

While you may, of course, browse through the modules in any way you choose, we have chosen to order them from the foundations up.

What constitutes "good" knowledge? Our academic culture has not evolved as a quest for useful knowledge – but as an answer to this fundamental question.

In Federation through Images we show that the proposal we are submitting is not a deviation from this evolutionary course, but its natural continuation. We shall see why the insights reached in 20th century science and philosophy not only enable – but indeed enjoin that we take that next step.

What might information need to be like to give us the knowledge we need, in this age? By what methods can it be created? Even if you are not interested in such "philosophical" questions but only in technology, you will recognize in them the way to avoid using the technology to only 'reproduce the candle'.

Hearing the giants

Who were the giants we needed to hear, but didn't? What were they trying to tell us?

In Federation through Stories we begin to answer this question, by sharing the insights of four giants, and weaving them together. This will inform our quest for

  • right fundamental assumptions (what "good knowledge" is or should be)
  • right use of information technology (or the right social processes by which this technology is used)
  • right use of our creative capabilities (the one that will lead us toward the kind of condition or future we might justifiably desire)
  • right use of knowledge

and in that way give substance to our four main keywords.

Prospecting a creative frontier

It is in the nature of every paradigm to open up a large space for contribution and achievement. In Federation through Applications we shall see that the paradigm we are talking about is not an exception.

Much of our mission has been to prospect and chart that frontier, and make large-scale development possible.

In what way can we define concepts so that they empower change – instead of reifying what exists? What might our public informing n3eed to be like, to be capable of combining insights from relevant fields of knowledge, and telling us how to direct our efforts? How can we change real-life institutions? Those and a variety of other questions that delineate knowledge federation as a creative frontier are answered to by showing examples, a majority of which are real life-embedded applications.

A socio-technical lightbulb

Consider what's presented on these pages as a complete prototype of a socio-technical lightbulb. It includes answers to a spectrum of questions, ranging from the principle of operation on the one end, to the deployment strategy on the other.

In the four detailed modules by which this presentation is completed, we shall use knowledge federation to explain, showcase and already put to use knowledge federation. Each module will apply and demonstrate a specific set of techniques – and focus on a specific aspect of our design.

In Federation through Images we use ideograms – metaphorical and often paradoxical images to sum up the findings of giants. The result is a cartoon-like introduction to the philosophical underpinnings of a novel approach to knowledge.

In Federation through Stories we use vignettes – short, lively, catchy, sticky... real-life people and situation stories – to explain and empower the core ideas of daring thinkers. Vignettes are in essence what the journalists do to introduce complex ideas – they tell them through a story. The vignettes liberate the insights from the language of a discipline and enables non-experts to 'step into the shoes' of giants, 'see through their eyes'. By combining vignettes into threads, and threads into higher units of meaning, we reach the direction-setting insights we've been talking about.

The applications discussed in Federation through Applications are technically called prototypes. They serve as

  • models – because they embody systemic solutions which can then be adapted to other situations
  • interventions – because they are embedded in practice and act on practice, with the aim to transform it
  • experiments – because they show what works well, and what needs to be improved

In Federation through Conversations, we begin to develop or bootstrap a suitable new 'collective mind' or our society's 'headlights', by

  • focusing our conversation on a core, transformative theme
  • illuminating it with core ideas of giants
  • engaging our collective intelligence to weave those ideas together and develop them further
  • bringing in a whole new culture of communication, which we point to by the keyword dialog
  • applying new media technology – and enabling the technology to make a difference