Bedi Amouzou

John Lewis

Explanation Age LLC, USA

I was just 6 years old when I attended the 1964 New York World’s Fair, but I remember seeing the fair’s theme which was prominently displayed: “Peace Through Understanding.” The memory that stands out for me was not the amusement park rides or cotton candy, but the questions I had at an early age about this event: “Is peace such a difficult goal, and don’t we already have an understanding?” Over the years, the answers have become more apparent: “yes” and “no.”

To reach a shared understanding, “Knowledge for Development” cannot be just another knowledge-sharing program – it needs to provide transparency into the “process” that creates and defends knowledge – particularly the policymaking process. When a cognitive model of policymaking is directly compared to the practices of politics, we begin to see the difference between sensemaking and corruption, and the difference between a knowledge-driven policymaker and a politician. One such cognitive model is called ADIIEA (pronounced uh-dee-uh), based on the six phases of the change cycle: Automation, Disruption, Investigation, Ideation, Expectation, and Affirmation. Using this cognitive modeling approach towards a shared understanding, we find that knowledge is just an output, and policy is just a type of knowledge that defines a mandated routine.

A knowledge society requires shared values and a shared understanding of the natural storytelling pattern behind lessons and change, from which knowledge is derived. And shared understanding within this cognitive model requires more than publishing the decisions that have been chosen – it also requires providing the tradeoffs and error preferences with the options that were not chosen. It requires more than a compelling argument behind the vote – it requires access to the argument behind the dissenting opinion.

A functional knowledge society cannot be obtained until we acknowledge that we are born as “learners” and not “knowers.” With this fundamental acknowledgment, there are implications for discovery education, corporate innovation, and governmental policymaking. A functional knowledge society is one that may be best called a transparent learning society.