Two parallel lines look like they eventually converge at the horizon. Technology’s chase for digital convergence, say between television and the Internet, raises interesting questions of its own, starting with what happens at the ‘vanishing point’ – and how to get there. How about publishing and learning? Semantico has a blog post based on John Helmer’s lively chat with Toby Green, OECD’s head of publishing, and myself.
Yes, publishing has already been transformed by the amazing economy of effort of technology. Now it is struggling to find meaning in the throes of the changing nature of knowledge (as it’s locked in, so to speak, by its container view of knowledge). In the past, an ‘educational’ publisher was a specific breed and brand. In the hyper-connected present, where knowledge is a process (not a product), publishers who have already transformed themselves at least once (that is, they are still around) now have to consider how to maximize both dissemination and impact. This is where education (the science of how we come to know) is most needed.
For international mission-driven organizations, learning, education, training, and publishing are often split functions. (I haven’t included knowledge management, having declared its timely demise elsewhere). They may or may not be centralized, organized, or measured. Some – but not all– may still be operating on old models (face-to-face training to drive performance or manual layout to prepare publications) or in the midst of their respective digital migrations.
Talking convergence is really about starting at the vanishing point, and working back to the present. I am now convinced that, although each function holds its own values (and value), the lens of education is the most powerful and significant one – and the one most likely to drive strategy in a knowledge-based organization.
Photo: Pietro Perugino’s usage of perspective in the Delivery of the Keys fresco at the Sistine Chapel (1481–82) helped bring the Renaissance to Rome.