Knowledge creation as a social process

It was a treat today to get an email from a friend congratulating me on my newly published article. The neat part was that although I knew it had been accepted for publication I did not know it had been published.

I think we all get lost in our work at times and things that were front and centre at some point may have moved to a different space in our life. This paper was submitted over a year and a half ago and although I spent time editing it after the first review I had not read it with intent since it was first written.

As I reread my paper today I found myself getting excited again with an old friend and it made me think of a small part of Gleick’s 2011 book titled The information: A history, a theory, a flood. In it he speaks of the impact of Babbage’s 19th century Difference Engine. He states that the engine “had to be forgotten before it was remembered”. Additionally he quotes historian Jenny Uglow where she writes that such failed inventions, contain “ideas that lie like yellowing blueprints in dark cupboards, to be stumbled on afresh by later generations.” (p. 123) This is a great description of much in our world and it really does speak to my belief that although our ideas may lie fallow we are forever connected to them and when the time is right and we have built appropriate supporting connections then something wonderful may surface. It may be time to pick up where my idea scaffolds left off. – anyone care to join me?

Gleick, J. (2011). The information: A history, a theory, a flood. Toronto ON: Pantheon Books.