Terms and key ideas used in Knowmad Society

Accelerating change/accelerating returns: Kurzweil (1999) postulates a Law of Accelerating Returns: “as order exponentially increases, time exponentially speeds up (that is, the time interval between salient events grows shorter as time passes)” (p. 30). Technological advances (e.g., achievements in the development of agriculture, industrialization) are represented by s-curves. As time progresses, the rate of technical advancement increases, and multiple significant advancements will occur concurrently. If combined and plotted as a line, the multiple s-curves stack to form a “J-curve” shape that approximates an exponential rate of technological change over time. The Law of Accelerating Returns is modeled after Moore’s Law (1965) of technological development of integrated circuits.

Co-constructivism: The leverage of relational horizontality where all participants in a learning system engage in teaching and learning. This allows for the “general reconceptualization of knowledge in any social formation…” (Hakken, 2003, p. p. 306).

Innovation: Innovation is the beneficial application of creativity to solve a new problem or provide a new solution to an existing challenge.

Innovation economy/innovation society: Activities in the innovation society are centered on the innovative applications of knowledge as opposed to agricultural, industrial or information-based inputs.

Innovution: Disruptive innovations.

Interdisciplinarity: Research or action that connects two or more discipline areas together.

Knowledge: An internalized combination of tacit and explicit personal understandings of data and information that can be exhibited as expertise or skills.

Knowledge economy/knowledge society: The knowledge economy was first defined by Drucker (1969) to describe the emerging impact that information technology advances would have on the economy and on society. Drucker (1993) describes the social impact of the knowledge economy on individuals in the knowledge society:

In the knowledge society into which we are moving, individuals are central. Knowledge is not impersonal, like money. Knowledge does not reside in a book, a databank, a software program; they contain only information. Knowledge is always embodied in a person, carried by a person; created, augmented, or improved by a person; applied by a person; taught by a person, and passed on by a person. The shift to the knowledge society therefore puts the person in the center. (p. 210)

Knowmad Society: An emerging proto-paradigm driven by 1) accelerating technological and social change; 2) continuing globalization and the horizontalization of knowledge and relationships; and, 3) an innovation-oriented society fueled by knowmads.

Knowmads: Nomadic knowledge and innovation workers who are creative, imaginative, and innovative, and able to work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. Their individual, personal knowledge gives them a competitive advantage over other workers.

Leapfrog: To jump over obstacles to achieve goals. It means to get ahead of the competition or the present state of the art through innovative, time-and-cost-saving means. Leapfrogging denotes leadership created by looking ahead and acting “over the horizon” of contemporary possibilities.

Mindware: Technologies that support our imaginations, creativity, and capacities to innovate.

Society 1.0: The agricultural to industrial-based society that was largely present through the 18th century through the end of the 20th century.

Society 2.0: Knowledge-based society that values the creation of personally-constructed meanings that defy the absolute objectivity of Society 1.0’s industrial information model.

Society 3.0 (Moravec variation): (see Knowmad Society)

Society30 (van den Hoff variation): The new era to come that is smart, simple and sustainable.

Technological Singularity: “At this point, socioeconomic and technological change will occur so rapidly that, to an outside observer, it would be impossible to discern what changes will take place or how. Human imagination can provide visions of what the Singularity’s event horizon could be like, but, due to the exponential rate of change, what lies beyond is not predictable. In other words, the Technical Singularity marks the limit of human imagination.” (Moravec, 2007)

Technology: Tools, knowledge and skills that may be applied to augment the capabilities of humans and human systems.

Third Space: A place that fuses the real and the virtual. Introduced in Pine & Korn (2011).

Transdisciplinarity: Research or action that blends different discipline areas together, creating a new, third discipline.


Drucker, P. F. (1969). The age of discontinuity: Guidelines to our changing society. New York: Harper & Row.

Drucker, P. F. (1985). Innovation and entrepreneurship: Practice and principles (1st ed.). New York: Harper & Row.

Hakken, D. (2003). The knowledge landscapes of cyberspace. New York: Routledge.

Kurzweil, R. (1999). The age of spiritual machines: When computers exceed human intelligence. New York: Viking.

Moore, G. E. (1965). Cramming more components onto integrated circuits. Electronics Magazine, 38(8).

Moravec, J. W. (2007). A New Paradigm of knowledge production in Minnesota higher education: A Delphi study. Thesis (Ph D ), University of Minnesota, 2008. Major: Educational policy and administration. Retrieved from

Pine, J. B., & Korn, K. C. (2011). Infinite possibility. San Francisco: Berret-Koehler Publishers.

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