Whilst our work at the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Lab is just beginning, it’s already vibrant, complex and startlingly productive.
This week our team of Indigenous thinkers shared Lore from the Blue Mountains, Bunya Mountains, Cape York and the Murray-Darling Basin; ancestral stories of entities that grew to monstrous proportions and violated natural laws of growth and consumption. Stories that always end with the entities being broken down into smaller, diverse systems distributed over large areas. There are Mimburi, places of flow and increase for these stories, and we track these flows in our landscapes of knowledge, using them as a basis for modelling some of the more complicated problems in the world.
So we’re not sharing the Lore or traditional knowledge. We’re applying it to solve contemporary problems, and then sharing the innovative ideas we find.
The Lab has guest Thinkers and Residents, Senior and Honorary Fellows, Students and Adjuncts – all working with this Knowledge to make sense of things.
This month’s focus has been Economies of Scale. Nobody really chose this theme, it was emergent in our ‘yarns’. We’ve been examining the way economies of scale in nature and contemporary economic systems have different power laws when it comes to efficiency.
We’re considering how economies, businesses and institutions may be upgraded through biomimicry and Indigenous Knowledge systems to harness the natural power law for improved efficiency and sustainability. We’re beginning to map the logic of optimal scaling (and the limits of scale) in Indigenous Knowledge systems, and seek ways to translate this into understandings that can be applied in multiple contexts.
We’ve been building on these ideas in dialogue and podcasts with amazing
thinkers and diverse experts: a thought-leader in ethical investing in the USA; a Torres Strait Islander thinker from CSIRO; a Bundjalung non-academic knowledge keeper who is doing interesting things with predictive modelling and natural experiments; and a corporate consultant who is into block-chain and Decentralised Autonomous Organisations. As usual, we find insights emerge from this open inquiry process that inform some of our other projects. There’s the Aboriginal kinship algorithm we’re applying to try and solve intractable problems in genetic computing, and the digital economy we’re designing with Honorary Fellow Jack Manning Bancroft. There are the research projects on Aboriginal memorisation techniques, which began after our initial experimental study paper went viral a couple of months ago. Oh yeah, there’s also the commissioned book on climate change, and even the governance and methodology frameworks of our own Lab, which are still works in progress. The most important thing is that we share our innovative thinking. We believe research translation must be transparent, accessible, entertaining and occurring through every stage of research – from conceptualisation through to post-publication. We believe a knowledge economy only thrives with sharing and dialogue. We protect Traditional Ecological Knowledge and cultural knowledges by ensuring that our research is not reporting on these things, but that we use the thinking processes behind them to innovate and to seek new insights into the complex crises that threaten our earth and our communities. We know the time is short for this work, and so we are getting it done. We’re really excited to go further and deeper with your help. That’s it.