When I first learned about the idea of Dutch journalist Joris Luyendijk to share one’s learning curve on the web, it was love at first sight. Wouldn’t it be awesome to take the one-way communication out of journalism and turn the domain into an interactive dialogue?
The idea is simple but powerful: like most consumers, I know very little about the world of food. I take my own and my readers’ very basic but legitimate questions as a starting point, and ask these questions to food industry insiders. The things I learn, I publish on this platform.
Anyone can question my findings
By putting my learnings on public display, anyone – insiders and outsiders – can respond. And that’s where the magic happens: anyone can question my findings, provide alternative perspectives, and point my quest in directions I could have never imagined going.
Both insiders and outsiders can make a valuable contribution to my journey. As an industry insider, you’re an expert in your field and can prove a guide to the rest of us. As an outsider, you can analyze what has perhaps become self-evident to insiders and provide a fresh, outsider point of view. Here I want to acknowledge that my learning curve is subject to the limitation that only those industry insiders willing to speak with me, will shape it.
My approach turns my role into that of an initiator of the journey and moderator of the conversation. It shifts my role away from having to draw conclusions based on research that is inevitably limited by my own bias.
I don’t have it all figured out
The approach I choose also implies that I don’t have it all figured out and that I am not going to act as if I do. Maybe you know very little about the subject too. That’s terrific. At the foundation of this platform lies the belief that our combined minuscule bits and pieces of understanding will over time lead to a 360-degree picture of the European food industry.
If you have any thoughts on the approach I take, do let me know by commenting below!