Science happens elsewhere

Elsewhere: where the adjacent possible opens up to the power of pull (Hubble Telescope image)

Creation networks: open science’s network effect

A creation network is enabled by a certain quality of learning within social interactions, a greater quantity of information flows (and/or a greater attention to these), an availability of interpersonal trust (based on demonstrated skills and commitment), and an environment of reflexive involvement: all benefits of belonging to a community-led double-loop governance. “[I]nstitutions will need to become much more selective in their efforts to protect existing stocks of knowledge and much more adept in using their stocks of knowledge to contribute more actively in creation nets and to plug into promising flows of knowledge” (Hagel and Brown, 2008). Data-intensive science (Hey, et al, 2009) in a whitewater world of global research demands a nimble governance for its teams, labs, networks, societies, universities, and agencies.

Know enough to know enough

When your academy organization looks to innovate — or when your personal research is looking to find the right question to ask — in a world where multiple/large data/information inputs, and international science discoveries are coming on line, how can you stay ahead of this emergent complexity? One way to look at this problem is through Ashby’s principle/law of requisite variety, coming from cybernetic management. Ashby’s law notes that unless the control system has at least the variety of the environment it controls, it will fail; which actually means that some part of the environment will be controlled elsewhere.

When the adjacent possible is a globally available

The “adjacent possible” is a notion that comes from biological theories of coherent change. It describes how the surrounding environment tucked between stasis and chaos provides a resource of available change. The adjacent possible enables, and almost guarantees, certain changes (while ruling out others) out of potentially infinite play of innovation.


Benkler, Yochai. “Peer Production and Cooperation.” Handbook on the Economics of the Internet 91 (2016).



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Bruce Caron

Bruce Caron

online science community architect; media; expression, education and gaming; fiction as needed. Also blog at <>