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WHY THEORY IS USEFUL AND INESCAPABLE
UNDERSTANDING THEORY GENERATION USING
MAX BOISOT’S E-SPACE
PETER BOND
LEARNING FUTURE...
Sensible?
Desirable?
Realistic?
THEORY GENERATING MACHINES
2

C
E=M

motivation
theory

stru
c
foll ture
o
stra ws
teg
y
spa
n
of
con
trol

positive
feedb...
Benefits of Theory
Enables practice—gives you the foundation for practice
Allows you to stand on the shoulders of other, g...
PRACTICE —
BUT WITH A MODEL OF SUPERIOR
PRACTICE IN MIND
A model of learning by doing and thinking about doing.
An iterative double cycle
doing/acting

doing/
acting

accumulating...
Embrace
a model
Where do

models
come
from?
Max Boisot’s Epistomological Space
increasing information richness

increasing codification

Figure 10
LEARNING TOOLS
mode...
Max Boisot’s Epistomological Space
explanations

E=MC2

codification

language
Learning tools
models

solutions Models of
...
Max Boisot’s Cultural Space

Personal
Knowledge

Figure 9

knowledge flow through
cultural space

Public
Knowledge
knowled...
The developing
solution

Accumulating
Individual problem
Owners
(forming a
Market)

The developing
organisation
(solution ...
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Why theory is useful. A perspective from E-Space.

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There are some who have an almost pathological objection to theory, and then there are some who believe there’s nothing more useful than a good theory. I fall into the latter camp. What I want to show here is that theory is a natural consequence of living, and that we Homo sapiens, are theory generating and using ‘machines’ and there’s nothing we can do about it. Theory making is natural, so if even if your first reaction is to reject theorising, and the people who you think create it, you too are a theorist. Don’t throw theory overboard, one day it might be just what you need. To illustrate my position I use two 'theories' from Max Boisot, E-space and C-space

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Why theory is useful. A perspective from E-Space.

  1. 1. WHY THEORY IS USEFUL AND INESCAPABLE UNDERSTANDING THEORY GENERATION USING MAX BOISOT’S E-SPACE PETER BOND LEARNING FUTURES CONSULTING
  2. 2. Sensible? Desirable? Realistic?
  3. 3. THEORY GENERATING MACHINES 2 C E=M motivation theory stru c foll ture o stra ws teg y spa n of con trol positive feedback orga nisa tio are ns mac hine s y anc ct xpe ry of e e o the rmanc fo per blac k hole s big bang
  4. 4. Benefits of Theory Enables practice—gives you the foundation for practice Allows you to stand on the shoulders of other, greater, practitioners Greater acceleration toward good practice and higher standards of professionalism Teaches you the language of a profession Opens up membership to a profession A quicker way to a style of your own and a unique trademark or professional identity
  5. 5. PRACTICE — BUT WITH A MODEL OF SUPERIOR PRACTICE IN MIND
  6. 6. A model of learning by doing and thinking about doing. An iterative double cycle doing/acting doing/ acting accumulating result of acting Rehearsal growing accumulating loop personal result of acting knowledge reflecting on result reflecting on result
  7. 7. Embrace a model Where do models come from?
  8. 8. Max Boisot’s Epistomological Space increasing information richness increasing codification Figure 10 LEARNING TOOLS models (mathematical and non-mathematical) algorithms and formulae generic solutions theory Epistomological space concrete experience and application increasing abstraction
  9. 9. Max Boisot’s Epistomological Space explanations E=MC2 codification language Learning tools models solutions Models of good practice g in of rn ing s lea us on ena d i an nt by at om els ime lan en d p mo xper ex r ph g g tin by e in es o t da ra nc ali e V en ie G per ex concrete reality abstraction
  10. 10. Max Boisot’s Cultural Space Personal Knowledge Figure 9 knowledge flow through cultural space Public Knowledge knowledge assimilation or embodiment problem and solution defining increasing codification Proprietary knowledge sharing/diffusion Knowledge localised start of K flow scanning for problems and solutions Common Knowledge
  11. 11. The developing solution Accumulating Individual problem Owners (forming a Market) The developing organisation (solution delivery and support solution

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