Mar 05 2019

An Argument for Knowledge Gardens

By Kevin Rowell

Since the first humans, people have moved from their place of birth — be it for love, better living conditions, or simply greener pastures.  People also move because of violence, oppression, environmental degradation, economic and social well being, and a litany of factors.

Unfortunately, in these times, mass migration is seldom completely voluntary.  Social, political, economic and environmental conditions conflate and compound, putting pressure on communities to flee their homes; often suddenly. From there at each step in a migratory process, populations are exposed to complexities far beyond their control as survival becomes a daily struggle.

Understandably, international models for dealing with this now prevalent crisis remain focused on acute aspects of day-to-day survival. Responses are divided between sectors and layers of influence; with each layer of actors passionately convinced that their efforts will have a positive impact. Despite the existence of inter-sector coordination groups, participation and access to such groups is typically limited to “known players”.  Migrants themselves are often limited in their ability to innovate in their difficult condition by outdated modalities of intervention from supporting agencies.

With so much innovation coming from so many many sectors and individuals, proper idea incubation is the key to successful, game changing interventions. Today, with nearly universal access to digital platforms, we are at the razor’s edge.

With a dire environmental timeline unfolding, there is an immediate need to focus on tools that facilitate crowdsourcing solutions for forced human migration.  With the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) as our North Star, can we utilize technology and human contact to align across perceived divides, and to engage collective “solution making” at a new level?

Can we afford not to?

Kevin Rowell is Founder of Wicked Ops
“Wicked problems require wicked solutions.”