Sunday, March 27, 2005


Questioning and Foresight

- Latvia (Wikipedia)

Dr. Artur Puga, head of FSU (Forward Studies Unit, Latvian Union of Scientists), offered a most thoughtful reply to my blog post titled "Beyond Computer Literacy" Revisited. A link to FSU is provided above.

This appears to be a current summary of Dr. Puga's area of interest.

More details into his thinking can be found in this Powerpoint presentation.

I will share some of my response here. It is so humbling to have people reach out to me in my own language when I cannot respond in theirs and delightful that cyberspace makes such interaction so easy. Dr. Puga and I share an understanding of the word community as a highly scalable term, from the interactions of the community of ideas within our heads, to teams, departments, organizations and nations.

He wrote in his Powerpoint piece of knowledge and the knowledge society. That raised some questions for me. By knowledge should we mean: answers; the procedures and processes by which we find the answers; questions; or the procedures and processes by which we find the questions? Which is the most important knowledge to search for and collect, questions or answers? My own answer is that historically this balance has been going through a long period of change. My observation is that thriving organizations in today’s culture put an accent on the question while surviving organizations put an accent on the answer. Teams that fail will focus so much on the product itself (an answer) that they miss the next question that would have kept their organization growing, thriving and relevant. Questioning focuses us outward and into relationships and into emerging realities.

The heart, the motor of CROP is questioning. This includes discovering, generating and sharing questions. Such skills are critical in order to move from surviving to thriving in this time of rapid change in the world. With CROP we have an ever-changing product. CROP serves as the foundation and set of solutions for organizations that wish to thrive and schools that wish to prepare learners for such organizations. CROP’s database products provide question management as a major aspect of Knowledge Management (KM).

Dr. Puga's use of the word “foresight” is highly compatible with CROP design. One of the products of the CROP system is foresight. Rapid change means that the problem is constantly changing, and constant questioning and requestioning is needed to keep answers (and products) relevant to the changing problem. CROP’s ideas are very compatible with all programs designed to foster creativity and problem solving. For more on the political and economic value of core creative thinking, I highly recommend the book “The Rise of the Creative Class” by Richard Florida. Florida’s point of view is very compatible with the entrepreneurship thinking which is important to Dr. Puga's work.

CROP value overlaps such agendas. How must we change the education of our children and the curriculum in our schools to better deal with the rapid change of the 21st century? That is the problem I explore, study, write about and for which I create solutions, such as CROP. My most recent work is an effort to create new questioning curriculum that integrates entrepreneurship with other forms of creative thinking for schools. (I am in a College of Education which trains school teachers.) We will have much more to offer in the time ahead. As my ideas have developed, I have come to realize that they are as valuable for adult organizations as they are for organizations of younger learners.

There is much development going on with CROP which has kept my new posts so far apart. Some of these changes include a redesign of the web site, and the creation of new alliances to include more community participation.

For more on CROP see the web link in the Links area.

For related sites of interest, see

The "Lisbon Strategy"
Key quote "Jobs, growth, the environment and a proper social net. These are, in a nutshell, the main concerns of Europe’s citizens. The current lack of economic growth affects all of us;, our pensions, salaries and our standard of living considerably suffer from it.
If we do not act immediately, our valued social and environmental model will become unaffordable. In the face of international competition and an ageing population, growth could soon decrease to 1% per year (more than half of today’s growth )." The Lisbon Strategy is a set of ideas that seek to tackle this problem.
We can shape communities where the Millenium Project meets the Lisbon strategy

International Conference
April, 13-14, 2005
Aula Magna
University of Louvain-la-Neuve
Wallonia, Belgium

"The Futures of the European in a Global Knowledge Society"

co-organised by the European Millennium Project Nodes Initiative (see below) and the European Commission DG Research "Science and technology foresight" unit

focuses on:
identification of common emerging challenges for Europe and developing actions to meet these challenges;

learning best methodological practice and improving methodology;

bringing foresight outputs to the policy arena and providing policy analyses;

monitoring of future-oriented activity globally and in Europe, and building capacity for future-oriented studies in Europe;

governance based on global future oriented thinking;

bringing future-oriented knowledge and thinking to education, policy-making, the scientific community, companies and public organizations at large.

"The Millennium Project of the American Council for the United Nations University is a global participatory futures research think tank of futurists, scholars, business planners, and policy makers who work for international organizations, governments, corporations, NGOs, and universities".

"Millennium Project Nodes are groups of individuals and institutions that connect global and local views. Nodes identify participants, translate questionnaires and reports, and conduct interviews, special research, workshops, symposiums, and advanced training."
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