Indigenous Knowledge

Last week I made a great decision. My friend Agneta and I went to see the film Australia. And what a wonderful movie it was! A real adventure story of the old and good kind, with damsels in distress, a hero who can both shoot and cry, wild children and animals, beautiful scenery, unexpected friendship and love, faint popular music, and enemies defeated at the end.

This is a very much Australian production: supported by the government through Screen Australia, with an Australian director (Baz Luhrmann) and all leading actors native (including Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman). Although Kidman’s shoes are made by the Italian company Ferragamo and her clothes were made especially for her, you can get the same gorgeous look and feel by popping into RM Williams, the famous Australian brand that delivered the rest of the gear for the crew.

And there are several more very good reasons to see the film. One of the messages in the film is the importance of making change happen when necessary. “Just because it is, doesn’t mean it should be.” Another reason is the strong emphasis on storytelling and the indigenous Australians use of storytelling as a means to create memories and individuals. “The only thing you own is your story”. Well, better make it a good one. But why somebody would need a reason to see a film about Australia featuring Hugh Jackman is beyond me…

Another form of indigenous knowledge is used in user-driven development. According to research at the MIT by Eric von Hippel but also at Karlstad University by Per Kristensson, users are very apt in supporting product development and are likely to come up with more original, more valuable and to some extent more realizable ideas. These two collaborate, although Hippel is more of the “eating his own dog food” kind of a guy since very much of the material he has produced in terms of articles, books and videos are downloadable from his site.

Apparently Baz Luhrmann made use of user-driven development, because he changed the film after a preview. Or rumor has it 20th Century Fox made him. I must say I prefer the user-driven one, but then again I am a true romantic.

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