Using metaphors to stimulate innovation #innovation


Jean Graef <jean.graef@...>
 

A recent article in The New Yorker, “The Intelligent Plant,” discusses the controversy surrounding research into the “intelligence” plants and remarks on the value of metaphors in stimulating the investigative imaginations of good scientists.

 

The article made me think about the KM role. Should we make more of an effort to identify unique, controversial, and contrarian points of view – both internal and external to our “home” organization? If so, how do we do it? One obvious connection is our work in creating and applying organization schemes (“taxonomies”), which can be used to make connections among seemingly unrelated ideas.

 

Has anyone else done any thinking or work along these lines?

 

Jean

 

PS – See also my blog entry on this topic.

 

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Jean Graef

www.montague.com

@jgraef (Twitter)

montagueinstitute.wordpress.com/ (blog)

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tomshort_san_francisco <tman9999@...>
 

This is a fun riff, Jean. I'm not exactly sure how the metaphor notion ties in with the idea of our role in stimulating conversations and connection, by acting as "agents provocateur".

And as for plant intelligence, this reminds me of a discussion I had a few years ago about leadership and geese flying in a V-formation. Is the goose at the front the flock leader? Or are they just the goose at the front?? Turns out it's simple physics - the lead goose expends more energy than the ones behind it, which makes flying in the V energy-efficient for the whole flock. But the only way it is sustainable is if the lead goose rotates out once in awhile.

So even though there is a lead goose that for all intents and purposes would appear to be leading the flock at any given time, this isn't the same a leader in the sense of people-based organizations. It would therefore be a mistake to attribute other qualities of leaders to the lead goose (or vice versa), since there is no correlation between their respective intents (the lead goose has no intent).

Plants, hives, ant colonies, termites - all exhibit complex system behavior, but this is function of evolved, hardwired behavior - not some arbitrary choice.

At least that's how I would position the discussion about the plants.

As for our role as agents provocateur, I like thinking about it that way. Since we can't own communities outside our own little KM sphere, it only makes sense that we would look for opportunities to stimulate their creation, and then figure out how to nudge someone to create (and own) them. This to me is an important KM activity.

--- In sikmleaders@yahoogroups.com, Jean Graef <jean.graef@...> wrote:

A recent article in The New Yorker, "The Intelligent Plant<http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/12/23/131223fa_fact_pollan>," discusses the controversy surrounding research into the "intelligence" plants and remarks on the value of metaphors in stimulating the investigative imaginations of good scientists.

The article made me think about the KM role. Should we make more of an effort to identify unique, controversial, and contrarian points of view - both internal and external to our "home" organization? If so, how do we do it? One obvious connection is our work in creating and applying organization schemes ("taxonomies"), which can be used to make connections among seemingly unrelated ideas.

Has anyone else done any thinking or work along these lines?

Jean

PS - See also my blog entry<http://wp.me/p1KNjY-7k> on this topic.

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Jean Graef
www.montague.com<http://www.montague.com/>
@jgraef (Twitter)
montagueinstitute.wordpress.com/<http://montagueinstitute.wordpress.com/> (blog)
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