Friday, May 31, 2024

Knowledge Mapping in International Development - Webinar follow up

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was preparing for two related yet distinct presentations.  I presented the first of the two on May 23rd and I can now share the recording recording.  I don't dare listening to myself talk, so I will just trust that it was good enough and worth sharing.


The feedback and questions were very useful. 

Some people wanted to know more about the specific tools I use or recommend.  Unfortunately, I don't make recommendations about tools.  I can talk about what I use but tool selection requires a thorough understanding of the context and unless I'm engaged in a consulting assignment where I can gather information about the context, I stay away from recommending tools.  Even in the context of a consulting assignment, I would most likely come up with a list of options rather than a recommendation of a single tool. 

Some people would have wanted a practical session where they could engage in the process of developing a map themselves.  I have done that in my teaching and at one point I had a course in Skillshare to learn how to map.  That was just not the objective of this webinar but it does indicate an interest in the topic and the practical application.

I don't think I adequately focused on specific use cases in international development even though that was what the audience was most likely to be interested in. That is something I will try to remedy with future work.

And that brings me to the second session, this time in June, through the Knowledge Management Global Network (KMGN) research group.  My plan there is to present my own learning journey so far around concept mapping and knowledge graphs, and open up a discussion around opportunities for further action learning/action research and deep dives.  

Monday, May 27, 2024

From Local Nodes to Global Networks: Mapping Knowledge Ecosystems


I often come up with unconventional ideas when the tasks on my "to do" list undergo a melding process. Here's an example:

  • Task A: Exploring knowledge graphs and their benefits.
  • Task B: Reading the Agenda Knowledge for Development Goals and individual statements, while considering writing my own.

Combining these tasks led to a new question, both for the knowledge graph topic I am presenting on later in June and for my potential individual statement supporting the Agenda Knowledge for Development goals: Can knowledge graphs be developed to represent local knowledge ecosystems? If so, what would be the benefits?

From there, I began to consider:

  • What could we learn from hundreds of local knowledge ecosystem graphs?
  • How could these local graphs be linked into a global knowledge ecosystem graph?

One potential advantage might be that it would preserve the integrity of the local knowledge ecosystem. This idea is very meta because it's not just about the knowledge itself, but about the structure and interactions within the knowledge ecosystem(s). Is this just a case of wilding a hammer (knowledge graphs) and looking for nails to pound on?

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Pause to Appreciate Your Knowledge Ecosystem


Morning Dew on Grape Leaf: Nature's Simple Beauty
Photo Credit: Barbara Fillip

In the early morning, the garden's grape vine shows off tiny dew droplets on its leaves. Each drop clings to the leaf's edge, reflecting the greenery around it. This moment captures the beauty of nature and its role in supporting life. As the sun rises, these droplets will help nourish the plant, contributing to the garden's ecosystem. Let's remember to pause and appreciate the complexity and beauty of the world around us.

In our hurried lives, we should also strive to pause and appreciate the complexity of the knowledge ecosystem that allow us to work collaboratively and achieve so much more as teams and broader entities than we could as individuals. We often take the knowledge ecosystem for granted just as we take our ecosystems' magical functions for granted.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Knowledge Explorer

 Why I Call Myself a "Knowledge Explorer"

As I recently returned to solo consulting, I had to figure out what to call myself.  It took about 30 seconds to settle on Knowledge Explorer.  I will use the title "Knowledge Explorer" because it captures my deep commitment to learning and exploring new ideas. Here's why this title fits me:

1. Curiosity-Driven: I am naturally curious and always eager to learn more. I enjoy exploring new fields and discovering new ideas, which keeps my work and life exciting.

2. Interdisciplinary Approach: My work benefits from combining knowledge from different areas. This helps me solve complex problems, especially in knowledge management, where understanding different perspectives is key.

3. Innovative Mindset: I'm always looking for new ways to improve how knowledge is used and understood. Staying open to new technologies and ideas is a big part of who I am.

4. Educator and Thought Leader: Teaching and sharing knowledge with others is important to me. I strive to make complex information clear and useful for everyone.

5. Commitment to Growth: Being an explorer means I never stop learning. Even as I plan for semi-retirement, I look forward to continuing my education and exploring new areas.

Calling myself a Knowledge Explorer reflects my ongoing quest for new insights and my dedication to growing and helping others grow. It's a perfect summary of my approach to work and life.

I have also updated a couple of pages on the site:

Monday, May 06, 2024

Think Globally, Act Locally

 A significant portion of my professional life has revolved around knowledge work, delving into analytics, and navigating the realm of words, documents, and evidence. It's a landscape of abstraction, particularly in the context of international development where my focus on knowledge management often leads me far from the tangible impacts we aim to achieve. While you can envision how your efforts contribute to projects worldwide, the chain of impact often feels elusive.

A couple of years ago, I made a deliberate shift towards more hands-on involvement, seeking tangible actions beyond the confines of my analytical mind. Volunteering became my avenue for hands-on local engagement, with two organizations in Arlington:

  • Arlington Neighborhood Village, where I assist older citizens with garden tasks and engage in regular conversations with those who may benefit from more social contact.
  • EcoAction Arlington, where I engage in various activities, from park clean-ups to improving housing for low-income residents, promoting energy and water conservation.

In embracing this ethos of localization, I've come to realize that sustainable development isn't bound by geography. It's a universal principle, applicable everywhere. I take comfort in being able to act locally in alignment with global sustainable development goals.

Through volunteering, I've gained insights into the diverse fabric of my community, encountering individuals and systems that enrich my understanding of local dynamics and governance structures, imperfect as they may be.

Receiving the Impact Award from EcoAction Arlington last week was a humbling affirmation of these efforts.

Holding my Impact Award.  Photo by Alexandra Fillip.