Can all knowledge systems be fully mapped, measured, and made both accessible and actionable?
Welcome to Knowledge in Society – a blog devoted to the messy knowledge and human cleverness around us.
When many of us grew up, data, information, knowledge, and wisdom were treated as interchangeable words. It felt as if buried deep in the vaults of some library somewhere, there was a pile of knowledge and the more we learned, the closer we could get toward understanding it all.
Turns out, well, that’s probably wrong.
Instead, faced with an infinitely complex world, our brains have evolved to optimize sorting, organizing, and prioritizing data rather than simple storage. This shifts our mental model from thinking about having simply more data to gathering the right data for a specific situation, and understanding it in a pattern that makes it meaningful to the task at hand.
So even if that library did exist, it would be simply overwhelming without a librarian to ask what you’re looking for and why. Luckily (or by design) our brains are pretty good at this.
This site is a perpetual work in progress, and I try to write at different levels of depth on this site.
Essays are a bit more in-depth. In them, I use a bit more academic jargon, and try to keep up with why humans understand things they way we do.
Reflections are a bit more personal. As I get a bit older and put more stamps in the passport, I’m keenly aware of my ignorance in the past and try to predict ways I may be wrong in the present. I’m also a bit more opinionated in these articles.
Snippets are interesting little things I’ve found in the world – mostly clever ways people have found to solve very pragmatic problems. (Also, this section has more pictures!)
Methods is an exploration of how we can find and organize information ourselves. I focus mostly on qualitative methods for information gathering and synthesis because that is my personal area of expertise and interest (though I have an immense respect for the quantitative side as well).
Knowledge in Society
I borrowed “Knowledge in Society” from the late economist F. A. Hayek’s pivotal 1945 essay The Use of Knowledge in Society, an essay that personally re-framed the way I understand the world and established a base for the research I continue to do today.
Hayek’s essay, a response to the growing analytical nature of economics, calls into question one of the key assumptions in his field: the notion of a singular, universal, objective knowledge that, if it existed, could help us achieve perfect economic order. Hayek’s task isn’t to dismiss scientific knowledge or the scientific method outright – he believed is useful within it’s scope – but he argues that a different type of knowledge, more distributed, contextual knowledge, needs to be recognized for social science and economic study. Read More
After graduating from the University of Kansas in 2011 with a degree in Industrial design, I joined frog design as an interaction designer for three years before raising funding and rolling on to MedicSana as full-time CEO, designer, and scrum product owner. I have my Product Owner (PSPO I) and Scrum Master (PSM I) certifications. My full work history is on my linkedin page, or download my resume.
In my free time, I read quite a bit about behavioral economics and on my blog, Knowledge in Society, I write about various topics that discuss the relationship between design research, behavioral economics, and entrepreneurship, including a multi-part introduction to design research. I also love photography, check out my photography portfolio here!