Why ‘kunnis’?

‘Kunnis’ is the agglutination if the Dutch words ‘kunde’ and ‘kennis’. I made up the term when the term ‘knowledge economy’ (or ‘kenniseconomie’) was all the rage in The Netherlands. That was somewhere halfway during the nineties. What I found to be missing in that rage was a proper appreciation of the ones that could actually create things. Hence the Dutch word ‘kunde’, which means ‘being able to do something’. The word ‘kennis’ means ‘knowledge’. Knowing something and being able to actively do something with that knowledge is in my eyes what everybody should aspire. Over the past 25 years I’ve been an active promotor of a higher appreciation of the engineers, the tinkerers, the programmers, the makers, etc. I’ve written about it, held hackathons before it became a buzzword, talked to schools about programming for kids (before…), made a case for the engineers in the companies I ran, etc. Nowadays every self respecting marketing department is organising hackathons and every board member of every company says all their employees should learn how to ‘code’. Although the latter sounds like a good idea, on deeper thought that might in the end not be the real solution, but I’ll come back to that later (and more often) in this blog. So although from a distance it seems that the makers are back on their pedestal, but that’s just superficial. Beware that I’m taling about The Netherlands because it is definitely different in other parts of the world. There is still a ton of work to do to set the record straight between the ‘talkers’ and the ‘creators’, so I’m sticking to the word ‘kunnis’. And I like the ring it has and the fact that you can easily google it.

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