January 31, 2011

Mapping the Complexity of Climate Change and Sustainability

"Mapping the Complexity of Climate Change and Sustainability" is the title of a conversation in the Sustainability group at the Presencing Community site, which Toni Stafford, a wise, whole-brain woman opened on March 5. By "whole brain" I mean someone who is at home with matters of Spirit, beauty, deep intuition, AND doesn't shy away from the scientific dimensions of what evolutionary agents need to master, such as chaos and complexity theory in action, systems dynamics, holarchy, etc.

Toni developed a systems dynamics model that reflects her understanding the multiple perspectives on climate change and how to balance the needs of environment, economy, and society. She added:

"Creation of these diagrams MUST be collaborative and iterative. No one person can comprehend and map all the complexity herself. That means I'm aware that it is incomplete and even deeply flawed."

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June 30, 2010

on hypertrails between vistas, which we create by walking on them

vistas.jpgGood tools always have unintended uses stumbled upon by its individual and collective users. Hopefully, that will be the case of élan map, too. I can hardly wait for its alpha version to manifest so that we can start playing with it and discover its potential beyond what it was originally conceived.

A possibility that I am particularly interested in and want to explore further as the components of our mapping tool gain higher resolution is this:

What if we convened an expert panel of thinkers and doers in selected disciplines, and let them loose in a treasure hunting exercise using our interactive map of social and thought movements on the edge?

The question that we would ask could include something like this: Looking back from the middle of the 21st century, which of the movements mapped by élan would be considered as having had a significant impact on the transition to our new planetary reality?

path on the lawn.jpgThen we could compare the data coming from a modified Delphi survey  of our panel with the data from the  hypertrails connecting the vistas in the landscape of transformational memes and movements.

Hypertrails are those affinity passages between the vistas, the salient points (or strange attractors) in the landscape, which will emerge from our very walking those trails. Just as students cut new paths on campus lawn by going for shorter connection between buildings they visit more frequently…

What if we had a chance to distort the timeline by using information from the Delphi's "visit from the future"? :-)

on junto, élan, Kosmic synchronicity, and movement cartography

"We are at a critical point in human history, where as a globally interdependent society, we must learn how to lower these barriers, share information, collaborate, and cocreate value in new ways." @VenessaMiemis

Junto logo.jpgLearning how to learn that, and sharing what I learn, is what I've been dedicating my life to since the mid-80's. Reading the overview of junto's concept, philosophy, and components, I felt my heart full of joy and gratitude to the collective wisdom and expertise of the junto group, and to Venessa for her buildership  and eloquent articulation of what is needed to accelerate collaborative learning, locally and globally.

In the junto concept, I found the most practical and feasible expression of a web-enabled, emergent system for boosting our collective intelligence that became a matter of our survival and thriving as a species.

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June 27, 2010

Conversation transcript-> mindmap-> semantic web-> sane sentient AI


Imaginal cells in the protoplasm, from which the new civilization is emerging, discover the current state of their fluid identity, by being engaged in generative conversations with one another.


When we collaborate using the currently available tools, we are able to share meaning and develop themes, resulting in a record of the interactions which then requires processing in order to extract the valuable data which emerged from the conversation. @cyber_shaman

As long as we stay on the edge of not knowing and wanting to know what is that which wants to come into being through our conversations, the narrative evolving from them is a of high value. It is a narrative that gradually becomes more coherent as we continually co-sense what is and co-initiate what it can be and throw ourselves in the dance of the being and becoming parts of ourselves.

That narrative deserves our sustained shared-attention. @Cyber_shaman's recent post   on "Practices and Processes for boosting CI" is truly generative. Staying connected with that inquiry, and standing in it with intense curiosity and humility, we can move the edge of discovery and co-creative action.

The harvested information is a valuable resource as part of an evolving collective 'meme-stream' (to coin a phrase) so we want to be able to access and include it in the evolving discourse in a way that becomes 'standard' with a view to automation of the process for optimal benefit to the overall process. @cyber_shaman

Yes! and there are various candidates in the works, as we speak; standard-candidates that may synch with one another to let the next-gen collab software parse more dimensions of  our knowledge/action ecosystem. One of the most promising candidates is #NarrativeFractals , another is the social tetrahedron.

Ultimately we need to be able to provide this information to the semantic web so it can process and refine it as a collaborative partner to us (which is what it is set to become). @cyber_shaman

That's the best naming of the semantic web's evolutionary significance that I've heard! It's a partner that we can shape and it will shape us. It is a good time to ask daring questions about the nature of that partnering. Sorting out the best conversation mapping methods that need to be supported by our new collaborative mapping tools, we are also preparing ourselves to ask those deeper questions.

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June 16, 2010

The social tetrahedron: a step towards prototyping Indra's Net

Tetrahedron.jpg"The user profile can also show people and initiatives that one values as part of an "extended", empathic self. This can be done by dragging and dropping other profiles into one's tetrahedron, much as Twitter allows one to follow admired people. To add a person or cause to one's empathic self, the profile creator could rotate the tetrahedron to populate a personal frame of reference (filling it with family and friends), a civic frame of reference (e.g. with admired individuals and organizations working for the commons), and a professional or business frame (with valued coworkers). Individuals and initiatives included in one's "extended self" also could be made visible to others, when access rights are set, by double-clicking on a given face of one's user profile." Mark Frazier, @openworld

Mark, the most beautiful thing about your wise model is that it's doable!

In your tetrahedron, I see a seed crystal for growing disruptive social practices. For example, practices for large-scale, bottom up self-organization of a new social body, may it be a personal learning network, a trustnet-based virtual nation or a federation of co-creative initiatives.

When a social body is grown on networks of desire, networks of what the extended, empathic self of everyone values, then, then the harmony in the system will let it absorb much higher doses of complexity.

Mark, in your tetrahedron, I also see Indra's net materializing, taking the shape of millions of tetrahedrons interacting, free from the gravity of legacy institutions! It's like a massively co-written, continually unfolding science fiction that we shape just by playing with our co-intelligence and co-creativity toys.

Heartfelt thank you Mark for the huge contribution you've already made by developing and sharing your thoughts on the tetrahedron. I am eager to discover more of the world, from which it came.

p.s. I re-posted this note from a junto talk because in version 0.5, it cannot yet be tagged, categorized and have a URL.
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June 8, 2010

Message to Venessa Miemis about her "Pay It Forward Business Model"

Venessa Miemis.jpgVenessa wrote a fascinating blog entry  on

"A Pay It Forward Business Model [in transition to a new global society]."

It prompted the following open message to her.

Dear Venessa,

Your "pay it forward" model is hugely inspiring in all of the various scope of its meaning! 

I start responding from the one that is the juiciest for me, the scope of our Emerging Planetary Reality.  We're in the midst of a world transition that still has to generate highly-scalable practices of value creation and exchange beyond the logic of the incumbent mode of production. I see your quest in the context of that larger one.

As Scott Lewis  wrote: "In regards to the gift economy, I don’t think we’ve ever been without it." True, it persisted throughout human history but largely as an under current of economic activity. Now it is stepping into history's limelight a second time.

This time, it comes with a mission: to help freeing the energies of our individual and social creativity, intuition, caring, and imagination, trapped in work systems that don't honor our highest aspirations. Only liberating those energies, will Emergence gain enough momentum to lift us into the next civilization.  (Here, "next" means: capable to operate at a higher level of complexity and harmony.) The value of your offer to the world, at that level, is in its contribution to that liberation. It's like "a small step for Venessa, one giant leap for mankind." :-)
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May 18, 2010

A tool for mapping the future as it's emerging in the present

This blogpost is the first public news of a project that I am working on with a small team of friends; it is focused on creating a tool for the interactive, 3-d mapping of the ecosystem of evolutionary initiatives on the edge. We call it the élan map. élan also stands for the yet-to-born Evolutionary Learning & Action Network.

"The larger social structures are proving to be inadequate to solve the problems they're creating. New social innovations are emerging everywhere, but they are not sufficiently connected or empowered. So right now, any effort that we can make to connect and create greater synergy and participation in this awakening process is probably the most important thing we can do". (Barbara Marx Hubbard, 2003)

élan proposes providing a technical and social platform for collaborative sensing and meaning-making to augment the collective intelligence, wisdom, and capabilities of groups and movements on the leading edge of social evolution. It is to the evolutionary impulse in them and us that we dedicate our work.

The concept of élan, when fully embodied, will be an activity ecosystem that includes an interactive map for navigating Emergence (the concept of which is introduced here), an online magazine, a bio-mimicry inspired, community knowledge garden, and a network of self-organizing communities of users/contributors. The latter will also include a research think-net that will scan the landscape of our Emerging Planetary Reality to identify early signs of strategic challenges and opportunities for the movement.

Neuronfire.gifThere are two lenses through which you can look at this project.

1. Seen through the lens of "global brain," it's about creating a visual tool to help organizations/groups on the edge:

• Experiencing themselves as neurons in the nervous system of the passage to a new civilization

• Discovering how they can interact with other neurons for rapid and effective transmissions

2. Seen through the lens of complex system of initiatives that are harbingers of the future in the present, it's about making it easier for:

• Individuals to decide which are the initiatives with which they resonate the most and to which they want to give more attention and energy

• Groups to assess their functional alignment with each other in the neighboring niches of the fast-changing ecosystem of evolutionary initiatives, thus multiply everyone's transformative impact

• A kernel of knowledge about the field of social transformation, to become a booster of the field's self-knowledge and collective intelligence

The last point also implies that "if we increase our ability to perceive (visualize, understand) problems or opportunities or activities, it will leverage our efforts greatly… If we really could perceive and make sense of much larger chunks at the same time, a lot of stuff would sort itself out quite easily." — Flemming Funch 

What we also hope is that such a mapping tool will let its individual and collective users:

• Discover common patterns of concerns, projects, and practices worth replicating across a vast range of initiatives, whilst remaining sensitive to the uniqueness of each individual context.

• Discover and tell the story of emergence into a wiser culture, as it unfolds. “Wiser” as in: capable of embracing broader and higher perspectives.

• Increase connectivity so there are more resources available  to the ecosystem as a whole and its parts.

• Increase coherent communication between initiatives, to facilitate the process of transformation.

• Make it easy for people to find the best match between their desire to serve the whole, and the most suitable contexts for that service.

These are the descriptors that we currently plan to use for characterizing them: Philosophy (including Mission Values, Principles), Structure, Founder(s), Leadership patterns, Projects, Organizational affinities, News, Events, and Social media presence. That list will probably change as we play with a modified version of Narrative Fractals and other approaches.
Our current focus is on developing the content structure of the map, then go into an alpha proof-of-concept, and beta prototype. Once the beta is made public, we will explore what's next. Next moth, we also plan to open a public site for our collaborators.

Meanwhile, we started building two advisory groups. Terry Patten, author and integral thought leader accepted our invitation to serve on the project's Wisdom Council and Scott Nelson, an information technology steward, who will work with us to build out a Drupal platform for the community of élan collaborators and serve on our Technical Advisory Group.  

We're curious of what you think of the features and capabilities that could make the map and the mapping tool really useful to you as individual, and to your group or organization if it lives on the edge of social, knowledge, technology or business innovation.

Your input could directly influence the design of the mapping tool. Please comment.

P.S. on June 30:
Good tools always have unintended uses discovered by its individual and collective users, and hopefully, that will be the case of élan map, too. Once we released the alpha version, a direction worth looking in to find new uses is this: there will be some hypertrails connecting the vistas that may emerge fro our very walking those trails. That's the subject of another blog entry.

May 14, 2010

Chaordic Chat Practice / social media jedis / ContemplaTweet

yoda.jpgChaordic Chat is a practice for social media jedis, I don't use the "jedi" metaphor lightly but in its original meaning: jedis are bound to a code of morality and justice and are trained in the use of the light side of the Force.
That morality today, implies using the power of social media for supporting the unfolding of the Great Story, of the world transition to our Emerging Planetary Reality. It is a transition driven by the same evolutionary impulse that pulls you into learning and growing new, more complex capabilities.

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December 13, 2009

Collecive intelligence tools for supporting global cooperative work

The stellar line up of workshops at the upcoming ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work reflects the edge of CSCW research, with profound implications for the global-scale cooperative work needed to mach global challenges.

Technically, it has become possible to connect constellations of CI pools of any size. That possibility, when coupled with the passion of social innovators and the wizards of social process technologies, is a key enabler of the current and much needed shift in the evolution of how we organize ourselves as societies and as the crew of Spaceship Earth...

Back to the ACM Conference on CSCW, I’ve just learned that there will be a workshop  on software tools to support Collective Intelligence in organizations. I’m wondering whether the designers/organizers of the conference envisioned to wrap it into a blanket of advanced CI tools and methods, as to augment the CI of the field of CI tool makers, itself?

The program doesn’t say anything about it, probably because the focus is CI in organizations, as it should be, not what it can do for solving world problems. Nevertheless, I believe that there will be a good number of people among the delegates, speakers, panelists, and interactive poster presenters, who feel inspired to address the broader implications of frontier research in CSCW for the world.

message in a bottle.jpgWhat could crystallize that interest so that during the conference a “Big Picture” caucus can form (under any other name) and explore research questions of common or adjacent interest? This blog entry is a message in a bottle, thrown into the digital ocean for someone interested in that question...

September 21, 2009

Facilitating the local/global dynamics of CI calls for a collective sensing organ

Robin Temple commented on the Chaordic Dialogue Practice blogpost. Instead replying to it in that thread of comments, I've chosen to put the thoughts that it triggered in a new entry, as to give more visibility to it and our dialogue. Quotes are from Robin's original comment.

“On Chaordic Dialogue - two things I perhaps could contribute:
- your proposal of 'dis-locating' dialogue in both dimensions of time and space opens up the possibility for the reality that is not bound by time and space to freely emerge in any such dialogue.
This 'non-located' reality is the one that holds the intelligence and wisdom we so much seem to lose when we get too much caught up in our space-time 'points of view'. Interestingly, this intelligent reality still 'needs' us, as participants in the conversation...”

It sure does. It's only through our active engagement can it become aware of itself. I am thrilled by that we can't even start fathoming the acceleration of local evolution when the intelligent reality of the global meta-being awakens to self-awareness. There’s a beginning conversation about the self-awareness of the meta-being here, which may be of interest to students of the life of our Emerging Planetary Reality.

Escher's Implosion of spiral toroid.jpgI believe there's an increasing return on the double spiral of the local enriching the global, and the global making the local wiser. I started sharing my observations about the local/global dynamics here and further explored some aspect of the “collective intelligences playing at different scale” theme under that heading in a research note As we apply both systemic observation and collaborative intuition to the inquiry into, and sense-making from, that dynamics, we can become better agents of it.

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September 20, 2009

From hardware-based sensors of the physical to software-based sensors of the social

John Seely Brown.jpgQuotes in this blogpost are from “Ecological Computing,”

by John Seely Brown and Feng Zhao.

Confluences and their combined confluence

Looking back at the first decades of the third millennium, humans will see them as the era of the Great Transition, an unexpected result brought to us by a confluence of many confluences.

Writing about an omni-present, planet-scale sensor network that will dwarf the Internet by many orders of magnitude, and its implications for biological and computing ecologies, John Seely Brown mentioned:

“The transformational force underlying this change is the confluence of recent rapid technological advances such as micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) sensors and actuators, wireless and mobile networking, and low-power embedded microprocessors… When the sensor grid becomes ubiquitous it becomes like an enormous digital retina stretched over the surface of the planet.”

The idea of a planet-scale sensor network evokes an orbital view of not only the confluence of technological developments that make it possible but also, the other confluences that such network contributes to and mingles with. For example, the confluence of shifts from authority to authenticity as driver of social organization, from scarcity to wide availability of knowledge, and from groupware to massively distributed social media that link up mega-millions of minds.

“Let's add intelligent browsers to this vast sensing system that lets scientists, government regulators, or environmental advocates use the internet to ask questions never before imaginable.”

When we’ll use such browsers for navigating on the ocean of data obtained from networked indicators of social well-being, collective moods, diseases in the global social body, and challenges to collective intelligence and wisdom, then we’ll have made a decisive step towards the bulk of humankind joining in a self-aware meta-being.

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July 26, 2009

Report on the first contemplative co-tweeting, Part 1: What happened

Twitter is an intensely personal experience, yet a communal one, at the same time. However, those two dimensions never meet. Our individual tweets create the value of the whole, yet we only benefit individually from the information we receive or dispense, the relationships we build. The opportunities for co-creative play in the tweetstream, benefiting the collective, have been hardly realized.

Picture 24.png That made me curious of what could become possible if we tweeted together, right after contemplating a question that mattered to us. I crafted a question expressing my passion, which worked as an attractor and inspired participation in spite the very short, 1-day notice. 8 Twitter users gathered in the “no place” of cyberspace on July 23, 2009, to embark on a co-tweeting experiment introduced with some minimalist instructions here.

The question that we put in the focus of our contemplation was this:

What is needed for openness and dialogue through tweets to scale
and affect positive change in consciousness and society?

This blogpost is the first installment of a report in 4 parts dealing with: A. what happened, B. what is the emergent story, C. what we learned from the experiment, and D. how we would improve the design of the next one.

So what has really happened in our contemplative twitterspace, on July 23?

Continue reading "Report on the first contemplative co-tweeting, Part 1: What happened " »

October 11, 2008

Combining social and electronic technologies for large-scale, collaborative meaning making

Large-scale, collaborative meaning making is a vital condition for dealing with crises and turning breakdowns into breakthroughs, locally and globally.

To be effective, the social technologies for facilitating that transformation need to be supported by the best what emergent electronic technologies can offer. For example:

Imagine to couple Personal Brain with a robust taxonomy-builder and a semantic engine,
all rolled up into a rapid-deployment learning environment that can be easily customized
for any knowledge domain or project, by community tech stewards, including non-programmers.

What do you see? What could such system enable?
What new community, organisational, and global capacities could be afforded by it?
Here’s my take on what it should help us with:

Continue reading "Combining social and electronic technologies for large-scale, collaborative meaning making" »

October 27, 2007

Facebook and Collective Intelligence

It seems that Facebook can help members in "real-life" communities and networks to be more visible to themselves and increase their opportunity to think, feel, learn, and act together. That brings up two questions:

What combination of current Fb apps could support a circle of friends in cultivating their collective intelligence and wisdom?

What new, innovative app can you imagine that could become a big CI booster? (Hint: some of the categories, into which I classified this entry, serve me as reminders of the context for this question.)

November 25, 2006

Web 2.0 marries collective intelligence

I've just come across yet another interesting, simple but somehow limiting definition of how collective intelligence is achieved, in the The Hype and the Hullabaloo of Web 2.0 by Ellyssa Kroski:

"Companies that adhere to Web 2.0 principles understand how to harness the collective intelligence to make their systems better. A collective intelligence is achieved when a critical mass of participation is reached within a site or system, allowing the participants to act as a filter for what is valuable. The user reviews on sort out the worthy resources from the inadequate. Citysearch’s user-created reviews identify quality restaurants..."

It was then picked up by Five Great Ways to Harness Collective Intelligence of Dion Hinchcliffe, which lists:

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August 6, 2006

Connectivity ramp, CI, and Jaron Lanier

Radical Evolution.jpg

I've just finished reading an amazing book by Joel Garreau, a reporter and editor at of the Washington Post, titled "Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human."

Garreau presents three scenarios of the future: the "Heaven" of technological optimists, like Ray Kurzweill, the "Hell" of technological pessimists, like Bill Joy; and the "Prevail" scenario of people like Jaron Lanier who doesn't believe in technological determinism and thinks that:

"Even if technology is advancing along an exponential curve, that doesn’t mean humans cannot creatively shape the impact on human nature and society in largely unpredictable ways."

The quotes below are from "Radical Evolution".

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February 10, 2005

Steal this bookmark!?

Thierry Nabeth of INSEAD has just alerted me of a new social networking phenomenon called "tagging". In his message there was a reference to a article in which Howard Rheingold said about tagging:

"It's like Friendster for knowledge as far as I'm concerned. I look to see who the other people are on who tag the same things that I think are important. Then, I can look and see what else they've tagged ... And isn't that part of the collective intelligence of the Web? You meet people who find things that you find interesting and useful -- and that multiplies your ability to find things that are interesting and useful, and other people feed off of you."

I think using tags for growing collective intelligence requires more than a clever technology. Unless we think of CI in the statistical sense (as in The Wisdom of Crowds), it requires the art of integrating the triple network of People, Knowledge, and Technology. Tags (bookmarks referring to the same subjects) collected from millions of bloggers are not more useful than a Google search that turns up over a million pages in response to my query. When somebody comes up with a way to integrate tagging with my trusted circle of friends and colleagues, then CI got a potent new tool, indeed. Technically, it shouldn't be difficult and I'd be surprised if an innovative social network host would not be already working on it.

July 19, 2004

Seminar on CI at the U. of Ottawa

Fourth international seminar on Collective Intelligence at the University of Ottawa

8, 9, 10th of August, 2004

Collective intelligence is a very broad field, with many research programs. The Ottawa seminar is concerned with the research program developed at the CI Lab of the University of Ottawa. The participants of the seminar will discuss the projection of digital information into a 3D virtual world mirroring CI processes thanks to the Digitong semantic coordinate system.


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June 1, 2004

The untapped potential of the Internet Archive for CI

Hi Euan, R U planning to attend NotCon 04? One of the speakers will be Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive. He is a guy with an amazing, literally "far out" vision of universal access, and the Wayback Machine supporting it, whom you really should meet.

Of course, I would never tell you what you "should" :-) but in this case, I do it for the good of the whole, which would greatly benefit from the two of you connecting with one another and exploring your vision and aspirations, if you have not yet done so. To nudge that chance, I'll email this URL to Brewster with whom I had some beer yesterday on a sunny terrace, in Amsterdam, and exchanged ideas about how to dream into being some unprecedented capabilities of collective intelligence.

I would love to go to NotCon 04 but have prior commitment to attend. I plan to follow it remotely, so if you go, don't forget to blog it. Here's the freshest pic of Brewster, from the terrace:

Brewster in Amsterdam.JPG

Why I gave the "The untapped potential of the Internet Archive for CI" title to this entry? Not enough time to tell it right now, but if you meet Brewster or follow in this blog my explorations with him and his friends, I'm sure you will find out.