The significant recent Integration and Implementation Insights blog article “Visions of knowledge systems for life on Earth and how to get there” and associated paper1 put forward envisioned future knowledge systems to meet the challenges of creating a sustainable future for the planet.
Many of the features of the envisioned future knowledge systems proposed in the article and paper have previously been put forward in knowledge management (KM) literature. For example, in the Knowledge Development Goals of the Agenda Knowledge for Development2 and the “fifth generation of knowledge management for development” research3,4 of Dr. Sarah Cummings and colleagues.
However, what makes the envisioned future knowledge systems proposed in the “Visions of knowledge systems for life on Earth and how to get there” article and paper significant is the ‘how to get there’ transition zone that sets out what is needed to transform from current knowledge systems to the envisioned future knowledge systems, as shown in Figure 1.
Common Good KM?
The envisioned future knowledge systems in Figure 1 align with the idea of “Common Good KM” that I’ve had since reading about the idea of “Common Good HRM” proposed for another management field in another recent paper5. The paper proposes that a new type of sustainable human resource management (HRM) – Common Good HRM – could be essential in driving progress toward addressing sustainable development goals (SDGs) in sustainable HRM.
I’ve since taken the idea of “Common Good KM” back to the “Visions of knowledge systems for life on Earth and how to get there” article authors Niko Schäpke and Ioan Fazey for their thoughts. In reply, Ioan Fazey provides the further example of debates around transformations towards sustainability in another sector – universities.
Ioan Fazey also introduces the concept of second-order science6, which expands science by adding the observer to what is observed. He provides the example of a recent paper7 applying this concept to the facilitation of the transformative changes necessary to avoid catastrophic climate-induced change.
The paper advises that:
Second-order science rejects the assumption that an observer can or should be independent to what is observed. This then leads to the opening up of many possibilities … For example, researchers making choices about how they intervene highlights the normative nature of science and that it occurs in conditions in which truth is not absolute. Acknowledgment of this can then lead to greater acceptance of multiple ways of knowing and recognition of the need for transdisciplinary approaches to science that actively include diverse stakeholders, which then provide new opportunities to learn more directly from and shape action.
What do you think?
Should the KM community begin working towards “Common Good KM”? Should KM researchers be applying second-order science to assist in identifying the transformations needed to achieve “Common Good KM”? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
- Fazey, I., Schäpke, N., Caniglia, G., Hodgson, A., Kendrick, I., Lyon, C., … & Saha, P. (2020). Transforming knowledge systems for life on Earth: Visions of future systems and how to get there. Energy research & social science, 70, 101724. ↩
- Brandner, A., & Cummings, S. (Eds.) (2018). Agenda Knowledge for Development: Strengthening Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, Third Edition. Knowledge for Development Partnership. ↩
- Cummings, S., Regeer, B. J., Ho, W. W., & Zweekhorst, M. B. (2013). Proposing a fifth generation of knowledge management for development: investigating convergence between knowledge management for development and transdisciplinary research. Knowledge Management for Development Journal, 9(2), 10-36. ↩
- Cummings, S., Kiwanuka, S., Gillman, H., & Regeer, B. (2018). The future of knowledge brokering, perspectives from a generational framework of knowledge management for international development. Information Development, DOI: 10.1177/0266666918800174 ↩
- Aust, I., Matthews, B., & Muller-Camen, M. (2020). Common Good HRM: A paradigm shift in Sustainable HRM?. Human Resource Management Review, 30(3), 100705. ↩
- Umpleby, S. A. (2014). Second-order science: logic, strategies, methods. Constructivist Foundations, 10(1), 16-23. ↩
- Fazey, I., Schäpke, N., Caniglia, G., Patterson, J., Hultman, J., Van Mierlo, B., … & Wyborn, C. (2018). Ten essentials for action-oriented and second order energy transitions, transformations and climate change research. Energy Research & Social Science, 40, 54-70. ↩
Also published on Medium.