K* and the private sector

In this short video, Jason Blackstock (Oxford University) provides an overview of today’s ‘K* with the private sector’ panel session.

Jason reflects on the session by saying that its not possible “to talk aboout industry in and of its self as an isolated sector, but rather K* is about the relationship between industry, civil society, government organisations and the knowledge that has to be managed across those spheres.”

The concept of knowledge was deconstructed into a number of different forms during the session. This did not just include ideas on the technical aspects of knowledge, and the role of knowledge in driving profits, but also included reflections on knowledge in relation to societal good and societal interests.

How these  different communities interact with each other, and what the ultimate definition of value asscociated with K* is in this sector, were two important questions that came out of the session. Profit is of course central, but other types of societal knowledge and how these might flow, is also very important within private sector.

Industry is often very good at brokering technical knowledge,  but the public sector and civil society is much better at providing information on what societal good is and how societal interests should be framed. This means that actors in both fields can learn a great deal from each other.

One of the other terms that came up during the session was ‘knowledge ethics’, on which Blackstock says:

When you are thinking about the power that is associated with holding different types of technical knowledge, or controlling the process for generating ideas about public good and public welfare there really needs to be a reflection on what are the ethics and responsibilities involved in managing that type of knowledge system”.

The point is clear: K* practitioners have a key role to play in setting up and managing these types of processes and ensure that ethical considerations are respected.

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