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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"? :-)




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 14, 2010

What can dynamic views (in mapping emergent systems) enable?

In a comment to A tool for mapping the future as it's emerging, Glisten wrote:


> The visual mapping of an evolving system is not a trivial affair. If we create a map of our "current state" we only provide a snapshot view of what is more closely aligned analogously with a continual stream of images such as video...

Yet, for humankind's emergent metabeing to become fully conscious of itself (as whole and parts), it must grow simultaneous capacity and tools for the awareness of both the structural and dynamic aspects of its life.

Why not prototype that feature into the élan mapping tool? I have some ideas of how we and the groups we want to support could greatly enhance our sensing of, and making meaning from, the next level of emergence (at any scale that our imagination can hold). However, what is more important than my ideas is our co-sensing what is really needed with members of those groups.

Before inviting them to this blog exchange, let's imagine what a globally linked creative community could do with new tools and ways to sense breakthrough practices in any domain, as son as they appear in our global nervous system: in our connected conversations.


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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.

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.

Continue reading "From hardware-based sensors of the physical to software-based sensors of the social" »

July 21, 2008

"What the hell are all these connections and social media for?"

I rarely choose to fall even further behind on my GTD Next Action list, by adding a comment to blogposts, which may never will be read, but your intriguing question caught me because I've been asking myself, for quite a while, the same:

Bev Trayner asked, "what the hell are all these connections and social media for?"

We'll see in 2-3 years from now but that's not an answer to my wanting to sense the lay lines of our emerging planetary reality, as they emerge, so that they can inform wiser actions: mine, my clients' and communities'...

Holding that question for a couple of years led me to the first sketches that you may want to take a look at here and here and here.

What kind of social learning system would be appropriate to address the challenges inherent in those posts?

Regarding our shared "falling behind" syndrome, what if it was only evolution's trick to help us recognize that resistance to distributed cognition and collective intelligence/wisdom is futile, the relevant cognitive unit is not me but we?

(By "relevant" I mean capable to develop the functionally fit differentiation of one's contribution to the whole, based on relatively accurate maps of our social and technical ecosystems.)

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.)

October 24, 2007

" If our world is a living system of systems"

Sofia Bustamante wrote:

> If our world is a living system of systems (holistically embedded), then the base concept of ecology must have biological connotations...

I love both the depth of her insight and what it inspired me to see:

YES! Our world is a living system of systems. It is alive, expanding and contracting, dancing on the edge off chaords, between "nothingness and eternity."

Sofia continued:

> And aspects like finance, social, environmental factors need be considered within this context.

YES, again! And when more of us understand, feel, and relate to them as living systems, we may even inspire the awakening of their sentience, who knows. Just imagine…

Continue reading "" If our world is a living system of systems"" »

July 29, 2006

All presencing is co-presencing

Talking about “presence,” Andrew Campbell wrote in email, “what it means is not what it is -- and does.” It reminded me of Aurobindo’s saying, “Man’s greatness is not in what he is but in what he makes possible.”

What our times demand us to make possible is nothing less than what the unknown author of the following graffiti on the wall of the occupied Sorbonne asked in 1968: Soyez réalistes, demandez l’impossible! It is to bootstrap ourselves onto higher stages of individual and collective consciousness by simultaneously letting go of the illusion of a separate self-sense, yet embracing our full respons-ability for our choices in every moment.

Continue reading "All presencing is co-presencing" »

April 22, 2006

Diving into the CI of what is emerging

In the months that gone by since I last wrote in the blog, I've been on a fast-pace learning journey into emergent CI, not as a concept but as the living experience of people gathering in circles, in various countries, and diving into such questions as:

• What is our individual and collective learning edge?

• How can we grow competence in attending to and sensing from the whole?

• What is the role of collective intelligence in moving the edge of evolution?

If you want to read what other questions people in the evolutionary movement ask from themselves, here you will find a good sample of them.

Below are some links to places where I've been in active conversations with others interested in those and similar questions:

Continue reading "Diving into the CI of what is emerging" »

September 27, 2005

Relationships enabled by the 4-fold ecosystem

This is a message as a comment on my earlier post of today on the 4-fold ecosystem of the CI field from David Beatty who has just asked me by email to post it for him because our spam-protecction software prevented him from doing it himself. (I guess, we will junk our "junkstopper," now that the new version of Movable Type, our blog software can provide stronger protection.) Here comes David:

George,

I appreciated the 'hey, look-at-this' note a few minutes ago. Long time since we have had a conversation.
A 4 element structure is a very rich structure. I will limit myself to pointing out the relationships that a 4-fold enables.

1) You have the 'purity' of each of the four elements A B C D (which can also be subdivided, of course.)

2. You have the combos of the 4 elements AB, AC, AD, BC, BD, CD If you wish, you can also consider these as simultaneous, separate operating pairs, AB/CD, AC/BD, AD/BC,

3. You have the dynamism of the 3's ABC, ABD,ACD,BCD,. Since a characteristic of 3 is the dynamic nature, you can read each trio as one of three forms. e.g. ABC ACB BAC BCA, CAB, CBA. reflecting the difference that comes when you consider first position as impulse, second position as reception, and third position as interactive product. (see J.G. Bennett, The Dramatic Universe, Vol.2, Ch.27,28 for more) If this dynamism is useful, (often is) that gives you 4 triads, each of which has 6 dynamic states.

4. And you have the 'whole' of all four creating a state of affairs.

Thus, while the four form does look simple, the importance of the choice of the most potent 4 terms is clear. (or maybe, it also indicates that our language of terms is a short-form code for much more complexity. (4/38ths!)

No wonder intelligence must be collective, continuously-changing, and self-reflective!!

regards

David B

The 4-fold ecosystem of CI - an inquiry into our survival

There are two questions that frequently keep me awake in the night or wake me up in the morning. This morning, they did it again. They are:

  • Shall we have the collective will and capacity to absorb the complexity of the impending crisis of crises, also known as the "perfect storm," or shall we not, and be defeated by it?
  • If the winning scenario is to prevail, what it will take to make it so?

This morning, the pieces of the puzzle started coming together and asked for this blog entry.

It seems that our best hope for developing an adequate response to the perfect storm is in the collective intelligence of an ecosystem comprised of four fields:

1. Rigorous, scientific research on large-scale CI that provides coherent frameworks and methodologies for building successful prototypes of complex CI systems

2. Such social innovations as enlightened communications and deliberative democracy, peer-to-peer, and open source, coupled and supported by the best theories and practices of whole system change and large-group interventions

3. A post-metaphysical, evolutionary spirituality embedded in the great story, an inspiring context, the wisdom of which can support practitioners on all four fields

4. Advanced and emerging technologies for collaborative knowledge development and coordination, which can power of up the thought and action of CI researchers, social activists, and initiators of applying them to every area of social life

Continue reading "The 4-fold ecosystem of CI - an inquiry into our survival" »

May 11, 2004

Visualizing social networks

I received this message via an email distribution list:

> you may have seen this already, but this is a beautiful example of visualizing networks (and their intersection). kind of a brain-like tool for community. http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~jheer/infovis/final/

and responded:

Thank you for the pointer to the site. I looked it up and am happy for having done so. That’s because I think:

Increasing the capacity of people and communities to visualize their (online) social networks is essential to the evolution of Collective Intelligence (CI). I believe it is one of the key conditions to move from fleeting moments of collective consciousness of what we’re becoming to new, stabilized stages of CI.

It is also essential to “the advancement of the Collective Comprehensional Bandwidth. If mutual respect depends on understanding, and understanding hinges on information sharing, then anything that can be done to increase productive information sharing is also helping our world towards increased mutual respect.” (Jason Wilson)

April 19, 2003

Collective intellect augments individual

Scott Leslie wrote in his EdTechPost blog:

"Don't you just love when, in the process of thinking about an issue, you come to a question that you know others are looking at and that is more than you could handle yourself, and then the next minute you turn around and - lo and behold - you find exactly what you were looking for. I expect there's a name for this phenomenon, and I also expect someone will soon develop an explanation of why this phenomenon seems so applified within the blogosphere."

Well, a couple of years ago, I developed an explanation that I believe touches Scott's expectations. Here it is:

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