This week we looked at what indigenous means and what this means in terms of approaches to leadership.

Wayfinding: defined as  “the ways in which people orient themselves in physical space and navigate from place to place.”

We revisited Kaitiakitanga in terms of how it represents space and place and time. However not in a linear western or Gregorian sense but embodied in the environment and by associations within groups. i.e connected to the past through present associations.

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“Rather than rely on rational thinking, wayfinder leaders use the broader sets of intelligence with which they are endowed. A wayfinder leader is motivated by curiosity and is steeped in wonder. Wayfinder leaders look to develop everyone’s potential and have an abiding belief that ‘we are in the waka together”.
This has resonance with the concept of agile that I have been recently working with, but I think it goes deeper and is much more powerful. Agile development is not particularly oriented towards developing everyone’s potential. In other words, it relies of everything being in the waka together but I don’t think it provides a mechanism for getting into the waka in the first place. When teams are is expected to be self-organized and are not directed by a manager, allowing allows team members to define and deliver their own work as they see fit can lead to a fleet of canoes heading off in separate directions.

Western understandings (co-option?) of wayfinding:  Out of interest, I did a google search of the term. The first page of a google search lists references to architecture: “Wayfinding refers to information systems that guide people through a physical environment and enhance their understanding and experience of the space”.  ‘Spatial problem-solving’. Apparently, there is hospital wayfinding, signage wayfinding, systems wayfinding (software), psychology wayfinding.

You have to specifically search for ‘wayfinding Polynesia’ before you will read about the understanding of wayfinding that we discussed in class. So it seems that this concept has been colonized as well!

Using wayfinding to navigating one’s way around a shopping mall erases the deeper implications of wayfinding in an indigenous leadership context. It dilutes and undermines the deeper relationships that embody how social groups live in relationship with the physical world and I when I say all those other wayfinding contexts I just wondered and wished they could have used another term, one that is not so distinctly linked to cultural passages- literally over water and also in term so passing on of cultural knowledge that sustains cultures and allows them to thrive.