16 June 2010

Developmental Spiral

The many interactions and connections we foster with scientists from within Africa and abroad, facilitated through our uniquely connected rural African environment, result in an interesting phenomenon; A scenario unfolds in which (pre)understanding of our rural African context is being refined, based upon the continuous flow of information. This availability of data leads to new interpretations of the environment and its challenges. Consecutively innovative approaches emerge, gently leading towards appropriate and progress-bringing interventions. This scenario appears to me as a developmental spiral.

The presentation of scientific paper on Internet performance at Macha, yesterday at NSDR10 in San Francisco, resulted in valuable interactions with leading scientists and practitioners. Obviously it is all about the interpretation of what we witness. And due to our enshrined culturally diversity, I postulate that both the facts being witnessed, and the observers witnessing it are being challenged. This iterative process hones existing models and lead to new insights.

I wrote earlier about the influence of preunderstanding. It is quite clear that facts reported from our environment do also work inside the recipient, in this case scientists. Preunderstanding in individual scientists and their collective is changing. Interestingly, querying the (same) data with this changed preunderstanding can further, possibly new, insights: enhanced understanding emerges. This is a spiral, not a circle, as it is a progressive and constructive process. Although the environment or context are not changing necessarily, as a result of studying and interacting with the information, over time, observers grow their ability to understand this environment and context in a new way.

Thus study and research is facilitatory in assuring that we spiral in the right direction. As the Macha Works Model is both subject of scrutiny and a facilitator of the same, research findings are bound to interact, refine and improve its tangible results.