Full Circle Associates and member of KM4Dev
An Agenda Knowledge for Development is a useful way of raising issues and finding common ground – or the lack of it – as a starting point for dialog. But I worry it is rooted in a dying paradigm. What is becoming apparent in our world is that traditional bodies and governance are losing their power to both influence and control development, for better or for worse. They are too slow moving to respond to complex and emerging issues of our day. So any agenda must address this shift, and speak to the emergent action networks that are springing up, both public, private and mixed. How does the agenda resonate with them? Much of what the Agenda aspires to suggests work in predictable, simple areas where we sense, categorize and respond, or the complicated area where as experts we sense, analyse and respond. Will it be fit for working in the unpredictability of complex situations where we need to probe, sense, respond, or even in chaotic contexts such as disasters?
This complex and emergent context must also be seen with the reality that there is such a volume of knowledge – and information. And more than ever, knowledge is power used in many ways. Its interpretation (or skewing as misinformation) is now a central tool and weapon for change. We can no longer assume good intent. We can’t assume knowledge as a neutral resource. We are in strange times and should be careful of what we wish for.