Ladder Award to James Flynn – practical social science to replace populist fear
October 21, 2008
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Ladder Award: Ross Himona for creative approach to inclusive development

This week’s Ladder Award goes to Ross Himona, a Maori entrepreneur, a commentator, an educator and a community development practitioner: for the inspiring ideas in his paper “Fostering the Creation of Local Contents.” While the paper was presented a few years ago, some key points made in it are still of crucial importance to community development. It was presented in Tokyo to the Round Table on Cultural Diversity in Knowledge Societies in Asia and the Pacific on 13 January 2003.

Himona concluded his paper by stating:

The most important task for us today is to nurture the release of the creative potential of our people. That can only be done at the local level, at the grassroots or flaxroots level where the people are. It cannot be done globally or nationally. And the most important role of the new technologies is to facilitate the release of that creative potential.

While many understand technology can support creative potential, they often find it hard to see how it can be deployed to enable all to take advantage of it.

Himona suggests the problem is less one of a ‘digital divide’ than one of content. He points out that

“Content important to politicians, bureaucrats, business people and academics” tends to bore people and therefore fails to engage them.

He argues what is needed is to first engage the imagination and only then to engage the intellect. Artists – storytellers, visual artists and filmmakers have a crucial role.

Material resources are limited, and increasing competition for them can make them all the more scarce. However, we have imagination and creativity in abundance.

Are people working in community building trying to engage people’s intellect without addressing their imagination as Himona suggests?

Is this a reason why too few people get involved in community activities?

What are your observations?

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