I was about to write a post on procrastination that keeps me from writing, but now I have something better – a couple of comments my post on bloggers as public intellectuals to follow-up.
Jack Vinson [bold is mine]:
…what I take from this is the larger picture of how people work together to develop new and interesting ideas. Academics, the focus of Lilia’s discussion, naturally talk to one another and hammer out ideas. It’s hard enough to see where an idea truly originates even amongst a few people.
But when the conversation crosses tens or hundreds of people AND locations AND sources AND time, then the genesis of ideas is up in the clouds. We know this – at least this seems like something I learned through my education. But we still insist in our society on finding THE person who came up with some invention and pouring the credit upon her.
I guess those things happened before, but with current interconnectivity the process of “cloud idea generation” becomes wider and faster. It also becomes more visible – with so much of interactions being technology-mediated it’s now more easy to see how bits of ideas travel and change.
“Pouring the credit” is an interesting issue. As a person, I’m happy inventing ideas and even more happier to see them travel and being used: knowing that a bit of my thinking was useful for someone else is rewarding by itself. In this respect I don’t really need credits, but I definitely appreciate having “trackbacks” – some way of knowing where my ideas travel and what happened to them.
For me as a professional things are much more difficult: I still get hired and get paid as an individual, not as part of the cloud. The current rules that govern my work are pretty much based on the number and quality of the ideas that could be traced to me as a contributor. In this sense, credits are essential.
While I love doing research, one of the reasons I’m not planning to stay in the academic world is the system that ties formal professional growth (which is about the scale of challenges to deal with and available resources next to the salary scale) to channelling ideas into forms and spaces (e.g. A-list journals) that might work better for credits, but do not necessarily for helping ideas to travel wider and faster.
Interestingly enough, this is also the issue that makes me thinking of getting back to my HR(D) roots after I’m done with the PhD research. I believe that many new ways of working are not getting where they could be in organisations because they do not fit with the ways the work is evaluated and rewarded.