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Building Ecologies – Making room for communities and networks

Dave Cormier explores some aspects of: Building Ecologies – Making room for communities and networks.: “It’s a very strange thing to have to find a bunch of language to describe what is already happening… but it is the way of things. Until the language is there… it’s very difficult to describe to people what you are talking about.”
I’ve stated previously that networks occur within something, that is, our capacity to form networks is influenced by a space or an ecology. Some ecologies are better suited for the formation of learning and knowledge networks than others. For example, certain corporate environments are structured to reward holding instead of sharing knowledge…a climate not conducive to the creation of new knowledge. Or, consider what we see occurring today with intellectual property – the climate of ownership of ideas at best only vaguely credible – creates an ecology in which the creation and dissemination of new knowledge is inhibited. Organizations – corporate, academic, or other – should be aware of the attributes of a successful ecology, namely one which allows the greatest probability for network formation. Dave Snowden stated in a presentation (can’t remember where) that ecologies can’t be engineered. While I don’t know the exact scope and context of his statement, my first reaction is one of disagreement. Ecologies can at minimum be fostered (much like networks can be). Consider the economy as an ecology…or IP law…or innovation labs. In each instance, we can certainly influence how they develop and, to varying degrees, how they function. Anyway, the task is to explore what constitutes a desired ecology – a discussion which Dave has initiated…and we can hopefully pick up on over the next few days while we are both in Moncton presenting at the Learning Communities conference.