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New Questions…

I have noticed an increase in the activity in the Research Philosophy discussion forum set up for the Strathclyde research cohort – and it has got me thinking.

 

With exabytes (1 billion gigabytes) of information “out there” in the social world wide web, it seems just impossible to sift through the relevant “valid” information – and yet I get a mild level of anxiety that I might miss a cool twitter link or must read blog entry if I don’t keep my finger on the digital pulse!

 

Perhaps in this overload and lack of control is the reason why the university sets up a forum, wiki and glossary on Moddle for the researchers to use for the Research Philosophy course.  I find myself asking, even within this microcosm how does one discern the good content from the confused?  I would go so far to suggest that the discussion forums seem an inefficient form of sharing knowledge, and would recommend all to use a long form blogs and share links to useful materials instead.  At least in the blog you can take the time to think about what you want to say – and say it, leaving a comments section for people to reply.  (Today’s blog will fall short of this ideal!)

 

My own challenge this past week or so is trying to find an equilibrium between the multiple roles in my life – husband, father, student, teacher, manager, subordinate, etc and activity overload…., and I am failing.  The trap I have fallen back into is one of too much activity spread too thinly, with little reflection. There was a moment to reflect over the weekend while running a business simulation game for new SBS MBA inductees.  The game involves 8 teams competing in a manufacturing business with four markets and three products.  Sounds simple yet the game itself is extremely complex.  The participants must make HR, Operation, Financial and Sales/Marketing decisions within a competitive environment while discerning the trends and macro-economics going on around them.

 

Some new questions arise from my reflection:

  • Do we sometimes in the Sustainability context over simplify the demands on businesses?  There was no sustainability angle in this game – but it was a reminder to me on how these tensions between functions in businesses, and the competitive environment that businesses operate creates so much complexity and pressure to perform.

 

  • Is there a need to be more understanding of these pressures and complexity faced by people in business so that Sustainability discourse carries some semblance of fairness and balance i.e. put yourself in the shoes of the CEO?

 

  • As individual’s in the multiple roles we live, just how can we be more sustainable?  The personal sustainable project (PSP) is one idea that I have been playing about with for a while now and if I struggle to get to grips with Sustainability in real terms when I am currently working in the Environmental Agency,

 

  • what does it say for the millions of people out there working around the world, doing their part within a company, in their homes and their lives who may not understand what sustainability even offers?

 

  • Can the “digital information loop” be useful to learn about sustainability in our lives?  I think so, however, exabytes of information might be as hard to deal with as confused microcisms of information, or none at all!  Can this technology offer material to large audiences, with limited barriers to entry (internet connection a given), and extract the power of the “digital information loop” for personal and organizational change?

 

  • Then there follows the question of distinction between or separation of the personal and the organizational.  Organisations are made up of people – and individual personal change may have an impact on the organizational level, surely.  Yet, businesses are politically oriented, with purposes, objectives, division of labour, controls, and the need to make money for the owners.  Just how can I expect the individual to have any impact in areas not in their mandate?

 

The essence of my proposed research will hopefully lead to addressing these questions through the experimentation of Web 2.0 technology (in particular the Massive Open Online Class, MOOC), through connectivist and constructionist learning, and through maximising the overall benefit of the digital information loop, and Habbermasian communicative participation.

 

You can see an in-flight MOOC running via #PLENK2010 on twitter and @ http://ple.elg.ca/plenk2010/

I do believe people can make a difference (with the mandate) as indicated in the following news item posted recently via web 2.0.  http://www.sustainabilityforum.com/blog/when-51-mba-students-took-sustainability-summer

 

Thanks for lasting this long reading my blog… you are my kind of person!  Feel free to reply to my blog post with more questions, answers or anything you would like to share!  Be part of the digital information loop!  Follow me on Twitter @kiwicito.

 

 

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