A proposed approach to digital age socio-economic transformation
The core of this project is a framework for dynamic organisation of knowledge domain ecosystems, enabling a gradual, adaptive change to a higher functioning, radically more productive and sustainable socio-economic system which tends toward socio-environmental balance.
I have called this ‘the Kractal Framework’ (derived from Knowledge + Fractal) because my research is finding that knowledge domain ecosystems seem to be self-similar at different scales and between different bounded scopes (eg. ‘homelessness in Sydney’ or ‘living with early dementia in the UK’).
Using the Kractal Framework, the project is conceptualising the socio-economic system as a public digital infrastructure which enables the orchestration of multiple independent agents to self-organise into networks of regulated knowledge domain eco-systems which continuously optimise towards higher productivity and socio-environmental balance.
In order to develop and explain this approach, my research is operating at three levels:
Developing the vision – we cannot move to a future state which has much higher productivity, sustainability and socio-environmental balance if we cannot imagine and describe such a state. In this section of my research, I am developing the conceptual framework and the articulation of the future state in enough detail to stimulate discussion and critical analysis.
Designing the platform – the design of this platform environment requires the definition of design parameters gleaned from the vision above, a conceptual engineering architecture which can define the various components needed regardless of specific technology choices and actual systems engineering architecture specifications to guide prototype development of component instances. These architectural specifications cover both the ‘back-end’ environment (how the platform actually operates to facilitate the orchestration of knowledge domain eco-systems) and the ‘front-end’ environment (how humans interact with the platform to carry out their domain roles).
Implementing the platform – to enable a gradual and safe transition to a digital age socio-economic system, I am putting forward an adaptive approach to implementation through prototyping, applied experimentation via pilot trials and iterative development.
Developing the vision
Can we imagine a future state where the problem of public service sustainability has been successfully tackled?
What would this future state look like?
How have we solved the challenges?
At this stage I am continuing to research and develop the articulation of this future state. The idea is to describe a conceptual way that public services (in fact the socio-economic system as a whole) could operate in the future, enabling a much higher degree of productivity and inclusiveness, achieving measurability and visibility of the changing state of productivity and progress towards self-sufficiency (and therefore sustainability) and socio-environmental balance in each knowledge domain ecosystem.
A summary of the key thinking (but not finalised conclusions) are highlighted below. As my research develops I will be publishing more detailed discussion documents on these points:
- Each knowledge domain within a jurisdiction can be accurately conceptualised as a complex collaboration involving demand-side and supply-side, publicly- and privately-funded participants and stakeholders (both in citizen roles and organised group/corporate roles) with a need to efficiently and effectively match demand with supply.
- Publicly-funded programs or projects should operate in conjunction with activities across the whole-of-thematic-domain in that jurisdiction and should be designed, tested and measured against whole-of-thematic-domain outcome objectives.
- A new type of public institution is needed which is not a direct participant in service supply but rather a domain orchestrator, ensuring that whole-of-thematic-domains are operating efficiently, effectively, in the public interest and with minimum direct public funding…in fact the ‘right’ level of public funding needed at that time to shift the domain towards self-sufficiency (and therefore lowering the need for public funding over time unless new factors emerge).
- To enable each knowledge domain to operate efficiently and effectively, a new systems platform is needed, operating as a public digital infrastructure to support contextualised visibility and collaboration/collaborative competition between participants. The Kractal framework represents the conceptual design of this platform.
- Publicly-funded policy development and service delivery teams should be re-organised to become a pool of agile units operating in knowledge domain-specific contexts in collaboration with other participants and/or competing against other participants for efficiency, effectiveness and outcome contribution.
In ‘Developing the vision’, my aim is to imagine and describe this future state both at the macro whole-of-jurisdiction level and also within key knowledge domains, such as health, education, justice and so on.
The aim is to articulate a future vision just enough to act as a guide for designing prototypes and experiments – and to stand up to critical intellectual scrutiny.
Whilst the vision is deliberately ‘over the horizon’, the framework is designed to enable gradual and measurable adaption from the existing industrial age environment we are operating in.
Designing the platform
As part of this research, I have designed an overall framework, which:
- breaks down the socio-economic system into a network of related domains
- identifies a common, underlying pattern of knowledge organisation – both for explicit knowledge and for enabling tacit knowledge exchange – which can be used for every domain regardless of topic, scope or scale
- enables visibility of the status and trends towards self-sufficiency and socio-environmental balance for each domain
- proposes a crowd-sourcing approach to knowledge, participant and linkage acquisition
- provides a conceptual basis for orchestrating human collaboration needed to operate a socio-economic system at the level of efficiency and effectiveness needed for sustainability and socio-environmental balance into the future
The Kractal Framework is currently being presented and discussed with various research institutes and interested parties around the world.
My experience to date is that it is best described in an interactive, workshop-style setting, so at this time I am not attempting to describe the Framework in this blog. However, I am aiming to develop improved ways to explain and present the framework online, possibly using audio/video media as well as explanatory text, so watch this space.
If you are interested in hosting an interactive workshop to explain and discuss the framework, please contact me via this form.
Implementing the platform
This part of my research focusses on an adaption methodology for transitioning from our current state (where productivity in specific knowledge domains is not sufficient for sustainability) to a future state where the socio-economic system is sufficiently productive and the socio-environmental balance state of each knowledge domain can be dynamically visualised to allow public policy to adapt in a more timely, efficient and effective way.
My approach is to use prototyping, applied experimentation via pilot trials and iterative development methodologies to develop and test the public digital infrastructure envisaged by the Kractal Framework.
As the framework and the adaption methods develop, I will be publishing results of the test and pilot trials for open assessment.
Please contact me if you are interested in taking part in the development of framework prototypes or experimental projects.