Thursday, September 04, 2008

Studying change; thriving on the happenstance of smoke and mirrors

Part of the joys in researching are the times when the really interesting stuff comes up.
Its not when there's a formal interview happening, so there's no ipod recording it, no notes taken. Seems it happens when the researcher is out of the room. Reminds me of a great little film, kitchen stories.
There are tantalizing snippets left on a whiteboard where the agenda covered seems to indicate an area of interest to me, but which i know nothing of; not why its there or how or whta it means... And where conversations rush in with we thought of.... but the 'we' is never clarified so i dont know who or where/when. Seems its all done with mirrors and smoke.

And then there's happenstance.

"I'm glad to see you, i/we have been thinking about ... instant chat messaging, msn, we had looked at ... but its not... and also at skype but its... and ..."

aaargh i've already forgotten why it cant and why this is better, but it is, and young people are using msn and...

"and looking at skype with icam and coz its similar to f2f and i think a charge but others ...could you look at .... would you be interested in ...and ... developing guide material for this..."

Being a researcher creates its own interference.
And I'm studying change, but its not in an interview and its sudden and out of left field...
the stuff of change seems to unfold around me, not when its being recorded in a formal research moment, but in the day to day stuff. I'm dropping off something and get called over,
"i wanted to tell you about, ask you..."

Theres stuff happening, and I trip over it or into it by happenstance, and am then looped in.
My sense is that it's spur of the moment, I'm here, your available, and its your interest area, what do you think and can you....

Might also be relevant with what Johansson, F. (2006) describes in The Medici effect. What elephants and epidemics can teach us about innovation. He talks of making innovation happen by going intersection hunting, creating opportunities for intersection or combination effects.
I suspect in studying change, its also about spotting those intersection crashes as they occur.

Yesterday was my first acute awareness of an intersection collision
I'm feeling bumped into, small dent, and am bumping back
And again I am thankful that I have a methodology (ANT) that gives space to my own interference.

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