Knowledge Management in Social Labs
Sam Rye

Thanks again for another informative and thought provoking read Sam, and for continuing to work out loud on these issues. I too have been thinking a lot about how we might more easily and seamlessly capture, share and access both explicit and tacit knowledge, in support of emergent and networked social change strategies. One useful concept drawing from the natural world which I discovered through a recent informatics fellowship is that of stigmergy, how ants and other organisms “leave a trace” within the environment as a form of indirect communication and knowledge sharing. I talk about this a bit within the context of networked knowledge systems here. This site looks at how stigmergy can be specifically applied to ICT.

While this does depend on some simple, shared methods/protocols for leaving a digital trace, it also requires the development and maintenance of stigmergic landscapes, a role I see for libraries and other trusted and ”open” intermediaries. I’m now thinking about how a potential network of Social Labs might be linked together in this way, perhaps through a set of stigmergic best practices each Secretariat might follow as they manage and maintain their own Labs information stack. Enabling, over time, the creation of a sort of distributed Social Lab implementation registry