[Sorry the comments button was switched off on Tuesday’s post on the Economist food report. That’s now been sorted so if you were a frustrated commenter, feel free to unburden yourself……]
The best ideas often come from bringing groups of thinkers together from disciplines that normally have nothing to do with each other. The Santa Fe Institute is perhaps the best-known example of this. Sadly, disciplinary siloes are alive and well in much of academia, with some notable exceptions such as the Oxford Martin School. IDS and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation are trying to run an exercise along these lines, cross fertilizing between work on poverty and exclusion in the UK and in developing countries. Oxfam set up its UK Poverty Programme in 1996 precisely to explore these kinds of synergies.
A seminar in November (report here) discussed the degrees of overlap between poverty-related thinking in ‘North’ and ‘South’, and found it to be expanding rapidly (migration, food prices, financial crashes, climate change, gender justice etc etc), yet another demonstration that the distinction between North and South is becoming increasingly artificial, and a block to creative thinking. It produced this useful table on what areas of cross-learning look most promising (sorry some of the borders of the table have gone missing – no idea why). [h/t Kate Wareing]