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What is a Knowledge Asset?

A knowledge asset contains a distillation of experiences that gives us the opportunity to reflect on what others have learned from relevant experiences so that we can take more effective action. We structure a knowledge asset so that the distillation links to the specific experiences of individuals and methods to contact those individuals to facilitate a discussion. The experiences may be expanded and supported by other media, such as documents, audio clips and video clips.

The foundation of the knowledge asset is a story. In the context of a Knowledge Asset, a story contains the description of an experience plus a statement of what has been learned from that experience. The statement of what has been learned is called a Principle for Action and it takes the form of a Causality Statement (or its equivalent).

When several Principles for Action are self-consistent or consistent with a broader Principle for Action, we call this a Common Principle for Action. A Common Principle for Action is supported by a variety of experience from a variety of settings. It is thus the highest level of distillation in the Knowledge Asset.

More details on the elements of the definition of a Knowledge Asset

The knowledge asset has a structure. It is a distillation of knowledge gained from experience. But it is also a documentation of the experiences that lead to the distillation. It also contains links to individuals who have had those experience. So while it is fair to say that the Knowledge Asset tries to bring together the collective wisdom of a community, it also establishes the 'paper trail' that leads from the particular piece of collective wisdom to the experiences and the individuals that form the basis of that collective wisdom.

(We use a paper trail to demonstrate the validity of a particular claim in legal or financial matters. In the case of a knowledge asset, we use the paper trail so that people can explore the experiences that lead to a particular piece of wisdom and, if they so wish, to make contact with the individuals that had those experiences. The structure is the same, the reason for that structure is different.)

The role of stories in a Knowledge Asset

Humans use stories for many reasons. Stories in a knowledge asset have a particular structure. We include a story in a knowledge asset because it contains an experience that contains a lesson that may help others to improve their response to a challenge.The story contains a description of an experience and a lesson learned from that experience. We frame the lesson in terms of a causality statement. A causality statement takes the form 'If you do this, then that will happen." The Causality Statement is the attempt by the person who tells the story to make the experience relevant to their future actions or the future actions of the reader. In the knowledge asset we call this causality statement the Principle for Action.

In the Constellation, we frequently bring people together to learn from their experiences in a non-hierarchical fashion. They bring their experiences into the conversation and they seek to learn from each other without a sense of student or teacher. We say that they learn-and-share with each other. Everyone has the opportunity to talk about their experiences and the lessons that they have learned from those experiences. Everyone has the opportunity to reflect on these experiences and lessons. And then what we frequently find is that the discussion leads to a shared learning that embraces some or all of the principles for action. We call this shared learning a Common Principle for Action. It is a useful way to gather together a diverse set of experiences and learning and often opens up new possibilities for people.

In the context of a knowledge asset, a story has an experience and a learning from that experience. While we frequently say that we have learned a lesson from an experience, we often give little thought to exactly what we have learned. Here is an assertion, if we say that we have learned from an experience, then that learning must be relevant to a future action. The learning must make a prediction. So if we are to be explicit about what we have learned, we must be specific about the prediction that we are making. We can capture the prediction in a causality statement: If we do this, then this will happen......

This process that we have just described takes a specific experience (from the past) and uses it to make a prediction (about the future). The prediction is ALWAYS a leap. We can make a very narrow prediction and predict repeatability; what happened in the past would occur in the future. But often, our generalisation is much broader. We suggest that what happened in Kenya, could also happen in Uganda or Thailand of Europe or throughout the world. But in ALL situations we move from a specific to a generalisation. We are creating a generalisation from a specific. We call these generalisations Principles for Action. If you want to read more about these ideas, you will find more details here.

You can find the stories that we currently have for the Practise of Resources on this page. (This will open in a new page.)

This diagram explains the structure of this page:

Explain the structure of the story page

The title of the story: the aim of the title is to stimulate interest and curiosity in the lesson, rather than the experience. The intention is to draw people into the story.

The summary of the story: this text tries to capture the essence of the story with, perhaps one sentence or perhaps two paragraphs.

The principle for action: this is the causality statement discussed in the text. It is a lesson that the story teller has taken from the story that they will be able to use in other situations.

A link to the full story: our aim is that the full story will sit on Ning.

A picture: the intention of this knowledge asset is that people will be sufficiently interested in the experience and the lesson that they will be will want to contact the story teller so that a discussion can begin. A picture introduces us to the teller of the story.

A link: the link allows us to find out more about the story teller and allows us to contact them directly.

(This page can also contain links to material that allows the reader to explore further. The links may be to documents, images, video clips, audio clips or other material.)


You will find the stories that we have collected for the practice of resources on this page: Stories about Resources


Here are the principles for action that I have taken from the stories/videos:

  1. When the community takes ownership of a challenge, they will find the resources to meet that challenge.
  2. When a community understands their challenge, they will plan a response based on their own strengths and resources.
  3. When we commit with the heart, we have a resource that is truly sustainable.
  4. When a community has come together to deal with an issue (even a small one), it will be easy to mobilise that same community spirit to deal with other issues.
  5. When we understand our own value as a human being, we discover a valuable resource.
  6. When we look for resources within ourselves and within our community, we will be surprised by what we find.
  7. When we listen to members of our community as human beings, they will offer resources to meet the challenges that we face.
  8. When we make sure that members of the community relate to the dream and are given opportunities to contribute, the response will come.
  9. When we define 'us' too closely, we can exclude resources that are willing and able to help us.
  10. When we recognise that we too can seek election within our political system, we open the door to having a voice in our wider community.
  11. When we recognise that our community has the right to a role in local politics, we begin to have a voice.
  12. When we understand that we have a right to be involved in the local democratic process, we have another opportunity to bring about a positive change in people's lives.
  13. When we find a sustainable source of funding, we will always have the resources to take action.
  14. When we work without NGO involvement, we can see our own strengths more clearly.
  15. When we use our resources in the 'outside' world, we enhance our status and our self-confidence.
  16. When we discuss our challenges openly, we demonstrate our most precious resource, FREEDOM.

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