The Importance of Collective Learning and Sensory Value in Human Development


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 12, 2023

4 min read


The Importance of Collective Learning and Sensory Value in Human Development

In the Big History Project, the concept of humans' knack for collective learning is explored. Humans have a remarkable ability to preserve information, share it with one another, and pass it on to future generations. This capacity has allowed us to create entirely new forms of complexity and progress. However, it is important to note that humans' journey to this point has not been without challenges.

One of the earliest challenges faced by humans was surviving the ice ages. During this time, humans developed tools for survival, including the controlled use of fire and advancements in clothing technology. These innovations allowed them to adapt to their environment and thrive despite the harsh conditions.

Another significant development in human history was the development of symbolic language and art. Humans began to communicate with one another through the use of drawings on cave walls and the exchange of stories. These forms of communication enabled the transfer of knowledge and the preservation of cultural traditions.

As civilizations began to emerge, writing became a crucial tool for communication and record-keeping. Initially, writing was primarily used as a system of accounting, allowing elites and power brokers to keep track of their resources. However, over time, writing evolved to convey the nuances of everyday languages, giving rise to literature, history, and proper writing.

The growth of cities and the expansion of trade routes, such as the Silk Road, further fueled human development. Through commerce and conflict, once-isolated populations were exposed to a diversity of culture, religion, philosophy, language, and technology. This exchange of ideas and knowledge paved the way for massive growth throughout Afro-Eurasia.

One of the most significant revolutions in human history was the advent of agriculture. Drawing on their learned knowledge from the environment, humans began to experiment with farming, which ultimately led to a surplus of food. This surplus allowed others to take up new work, leading to the diversification of societies and the exponential growth of populations. With this increase in population came an increase in collective learning, as more individuals were able to contribute their unique experiences and insights.

While collective learning has undoubtedly played a crucial role in human development, it is important to also consider the importance of sensory value in the process of creating and innovating. In an article titled "The Importance of Design in Manufacturing - Innovation in Meaning and Value," the author highlights the significance of incorporating sensory value in the creation of products.

The article emphasizes the idea that people are drawn to products that have a backstory. By infusing traditional craftsmanship with the sensibilities of contemporary chefs, for example, new and innovative cutlery can be created. This blending of traditional and modern elements creates a unique sensory experience for the consumer.

The article also discusses the concept of "value chains" and how strategic implementation of these chains is crucial. There are three key components to creating value chains: hardware, senseware, and socialware. Hardware refers to the tangible aspects of a product, such as its materials and construction. Senseware, on the other hand, focuses on appealing to the senses and emotions of the consumer. By creating products that resonate with the heart and the five senses, a deeper connection can be established with the consumer. Finally, socialware refers to the social and cultural context in which a product exists. By understanding and leveraging social and cultural trends, companies can create products that align with the values and desires of their target audience.

In conclusion, the combination of collective learning and sensory value has been instrumental in human development. From the early stages of survival and adaptation to the complexities of modern civilization, humans have continually relied on their ability to learn from one another and preserve their knowledge. Additionally, the incorporation of sensory value in the creation of products has allowed for innovation and the establishment of deeper connections with consumers.

Actionable advice:

  • 1. Embrace collective learning: Foster an environment of knowledge sharing and collaboration within your organization. Encourage employees to learn from one another and promote the preservation and transfer of knowledge.
  • 2. Prioritize sensory value in product design: Consider how your products can appeal to the senses and emotions of your target audience. Think beyond functionality and incorporate elements that create a unique and immersive experience for consumers.
  • 3. Stay attuned to social and cultural trends: Continuously monitor and understand the evolving social and cultural landscape. By aligning your products with the values and desires of your target audience, you can create products that resonate with them on a deeper level.

By combining the power of collective learning and sensory value, you can unlock new possibilities and drive innovation in your personal and professional endeavors.

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