Knowledge And Being Liberal …Posted: February 28, 2009
I have written before about how you never know what idea you may get from where. And this is something i have written about before. Though, i am not referencing a link here, because i cant find it. Which is one of the reasons i have been writing about the necessity for someone to come up with search for opinions, rather than just keywords (or maybe just aggregators which are rather more beneficial than the current ones) … this would really help make much more sense out of the blogosphere. One of the reasons being that the way the blogosphere is today, and the way i see it going, is made up of a number of voices, which rather makes the signal-to-noise ratio rather low, the way things stand. I know, there have been a number of pieces written about this, but i just wanted to add this.
But i am digressing from what i wanted to tell. As i said, you never know what thought could come from where. These days, i am reading a rather interesting book (well, you may find it interesting, or not, depending on your personal beliefs … point is, i find it interesting … you may not … if you dont, or if you do, please do tell me about it) titled The Templar Revelation. Of course, i am not writing this to write my opinion about the book. Allow me to keep this to myself, at least for the moment … let me think if i want to write about this or not, at a later time.
What i am writing about, though, is a sentence in the book, which got me thinking … no, this sentence has nothing to do with the subject which it triggered my thoughts towards. At one point, the authors say …
A culture that encourages the pursuit of knowledge tends to tolerate radical new thought.
Now, i am not looking at the context in which this sentence is written … its not relevant, and thats one of the points i am trying to make … something from a particular context could actually get you thinking about something which may not be related at all. And what this got me thinking about is whether a culture of knowledge is tolerant, or whether tolerance leads to a culture of knowledge-acquisition? And i am not able to come up with an answer (simply because one moment i think that pursuit of knowledge leads to tolerance, and the next moment, on second thoughts, i feel like changing my opinion … so, maybe, sometime soon, i will post a poll on this … please do let everyone know your opinions then … which will be soon, as soon as i think i can get a clear picture from the current poll, that is).
Now, even though i am not able to come up with an answer, the fact is, there is a relationship between the two. Now, if we look at this relationship in the context of organizations, and try to examine this relationship, we find, at least from the interactions i have with a number of organizations, that this relationship does hold good. What this means is that in an organizational context, culture or atmosphere which encourages the pursuit of knowledge is more tolerant of ideas which are more radical (or, shall we say, ideas which represent departures from the established norms), or vice-versa. And this, to my mind, is a critical ingredient to innovation … i dont claim to understand the process of innovation too closely, but i do understand that innovation is about the creation of new thoughts, and the pursuit of these thoughts and ideas to their logical conclusion, whether that leads to the introduction of a new product, or entry to a new market, or to nothing at all. This, of course, has to be tempered by considearions of ROI, but that is expected, isnt it? Senior managers of any organization are not runnina laboratory, after all.
The point i am trying to make, however, is that one way or the other, there is a relationship between knowledge and innovation … question is, what is this link? Simple … if we look at it carefully, all innovation is directly or indirectly knowledge-driven … whether it be knowledge about customers, or markets, or products, engineering, or business processes … and in turn of possibilities of creating greater value to customers by changing some of these.