Why Blogs are cool

Publishing thoughts with a click

Academic research in the field of socio-economic development has been predominantly following a rear-view mirror approach through the scientific lens — observing reality and making sense of it by breaking it down into its constituent parts, and developing theories by understanding their interactions and outcomes.

This has been an incredibly productive approach, and increasingly so as the various sub-fields of economic development have integrated diverse knowledge from history, sociology, evolutionary science, technology, innovation systems and political science. We also integrated our theories with the dimensions of space and scale, giving rise to our current broad field of economic development and its sub-fields.

One problem with the rear-view mirror approach however is that it can blind us to new possibilities. That’s because the world of the future offers possibilities that were unfeasible in the past. In every present moment we have the opportunity to co-create a world that looks very different from anything we have been able to create in the past, because we have new perspectives, knowledge, world views and technology.

Other approaches we may want to consider as complements to ‘looking back’ include:

1) A forward-looking utopian approach can offer us direction and a space for creative thinking (unshackled by the constraints of the scientific rear-view mirror approach).

2) A deconstructive approach that dissects the structural and ethical foundations of our organizations — the foundations of our current political and economic systems.

3) A creative approach that essentially takes the Lego pieces from our deconstructive approach and re-combines them to enable the emergence of our utopian visions.

These complementary approaches can emerge in our formal academic research and writing, but we can also explore and generate ideas in blog posts and threads. Looking to the future as researchers and academics is just as important as learning from the past — recognizing the limits of the past and imagining the possibilities of the future.

Blogs and threads are a great way to develop and share new ideas and concepts quickly, unshackled by the constraints of ‘polished’ academic writing and prolonged review processes. Let’s consider our blog posts as brainstorming — thinking aloud — and treat them as such: Sources of creative thinking and dialogue.

This takes courage especially for us academics who usually present our ‘polished’ writing with literature reviews, frameworks, evidence and analysis. Blogs on the other hand are a channel for us to explore new ideas and emerging perspectives.

One thing I have learnt is that there are usually insights of truth in most perspectives, and all are, to some extent, only partial truths anyway. So we don’t even need to worry about being correct, its about allowing insights of truth to emerge. Our job as scholars is to produce partial truths, and to integrate insights of truth from multiple perspectives to develop a better understanding of the One world we live in and are part of.

Sharing un-polished ideas and informal dialogue can enable us to broaden the spectrum of possible futures, and enhance our academic research and practical engagements with a broader perspective, deep ethical considerations, critical thinking, creative ideas and higher purpose. I invite you to share your un-polished thoughts with us at our TeaResearch Cluster Facebookgroup:)

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