Category: Communities/Social Networks (page 1 of 10)

The Number 1 Challenge for Humanity – Cooperating at Scale (part 2 of 2)

green plant

First published to the AKASHA Foundation blog.


In the first of this two-part blog post I described why cooperating-at-scale is humanity's primary challenge. Here I outline some candidate concepts and pre-architectural principles to inform the necessary and sufficient 'sociotechnological primitives'.

First I'd like to qualify pre-architectural. It's not oxymoronic despite arche meaning origin or beginning. Both physical and software architecture originate structure and structural relationships, and we're not yet at the stage to prescribe such things. Structure is ossified pattern and our purpose at this early stage demands instead that we offer just a little structure to open up the space to explore and nurture multiple patterns in preparation for the emergence of multiple structural forms. If pre-architectural doesn't do it for you, then perhaps think of it as a parsimony of design.

A means to our purpose is the encouragement of multi-disciplinary cooperation towards ever-improving multi-disciplinary cooperation. At scale.

Nuclear physicists refer to the smallest amount of fissile material needed for a sustained nuclear chain reaction as the critical mass. No-one can know the variety or volume or patterns or structures of the methods, materials and mindsets required to constitute a critical mass for cooperation-at-scale, but perhaps your spidey senses are similar to our own ... maybe, just maybe, assembling such critical mass is a possibility nearer, rather than further away.

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The Number 1 Challenge for Humanity – Cooperating at Scale (part 1 of 2)

First published to the AKASHA Foundation blog.


Despite the over-emphasis of competition in Darwin's theory of evolution, the great man himself sensed the importance of cooperation.

I should premise that I use the term Struggle for Existence in a large and metaphorical sense, including dependence of one being on another ...

[On the Origin of Species, Darwin, 1859]

Modern day scientists know that any investment of resources by individuals — of the same species or different — in acts of cooperation could in fact make those individuals vulnerable to non-cooperators, and yet cooperating proves to be a continuing strength rather than a weakness. We see cooperation everywhere we look.

[We have] a new view of continual cooperation, strong interaction, and mutual dependence among life forms. Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking.

[Microcosmos, Margulis & Sagan, 1997]

Cooperation confers an irrefutable advantage and we're still grappling with understanding the qualities of the mechanisms that make this the case.

Human beings are brilliant same-species cooperators — hence our parasitic success — and yet a quick scan of typical news headlines would suggest quite the opposite. Without dwelling too deeply on international relations or indeed media theory, the reported character of interactions between the likes of the United States and China and Russia and India and Europe might be said to be more fractious than cooperative. And national news headlines compound the gloom.

Why?

Why can't we just work together for mutual advantage on our little blue marble? As co-pilots of Spaceship Earth?

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Why decentralization needs more than cryptonetworks – the Internetome

Aldous Huxley (1937) regarded the decentralization of industry and government necessary for a better society. Norbert Wiener’s insights (1950) into the dynamics and ethics of humans and large computer systems hinted at the advantages. Marshall McLuhan (1962) anticipated a shift from the centralized mechanical age to the decentralized electronic age, coining the term global village as shorthand for such a welcome outcome. E.F. Schumacher (1973) considered decentralization allied with freedom and one of “the truths revealed by nature’s living processes”. Steven Levy’s hacker ethic (1984) includes the tenet “mistrust authority – promote decentralization”. And Nicholas Negroponte (1995) regards decentralization as one of the four cardinal virtues of the information society (alongside globalization, harmonization and empowerment).

When centralization is mediated by an organization, governmental or corporate, its best interests must be aligned perfectly and continuously with the parties subject to its gravity in the mediating context – otherwise decentralization must be preferred to avoid the appropriation and erosion of those parties' valuable agency. Importantly, decentralization demands decentralization at every level without exception for any exception would be centralization. By definition.

This post aims to scope the challenge that still lies ahead to secure decentralization even with the rise and rise of cryptonetworks such as Ethereum. For more information about decentralization in general and why it's important, see Decentralization – a deep cause of causes you care about deeply, written for the World Wide Web Foundation.

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the hi:project and the Digital Life Collective

The Digital Life Collective

This is the newsletter about the Digital Life Collective sent to hi:project subscribers 24th April 2017 and posted to the hi:project blog.


The hi:project team is collaborating with others interested in trustworthy and empowering technologies. We’re working to launch the Digital Life Collective and we'd love you to be part of it.

Now for anyone interested in the trials and tribulations of an ambitious, open-source, nonprofit vision such as the hi:project, I provide a fuller debrief below. For those who prefer their updates bitesize, everything you need is contained in the next six paragraphs.

You’ll recall the hi:project has some mighty challenges in its sights. We will help: solve personal data & privacy; secure a citizen-centric Internet of Things; transform accessibility & digital inclusion.

Just as for many free open source software projects, no-one profits with the hi:project but rather everyone because of it. And therein lies both the broad opportunity and the deep problem. If everyone secures the return on investment, if the profit cannot be privatised, who exactly is going to make the investment?

In other words, markets aren’t designed to address such particular potential, but that hasn’t stopped us appealing to commercial players – more on how that works below. Moreover, it doesn’t seem foundations can fund and foster such fundamental architecture. And our brush with academic funding was a brush off. In all, we’ve been working across four fronts, failing at these three, and seeing if we can succeed at the fourth.

At first the fourth appears counter-intuitive ... if the hi:project seemed too big, fifty of us have banded together so far to go bigger. The Digital Life Collective is a co-operative dedicated to “tech we trust for the world we want”, and today is the day we go all official. Today we put the incorporation paperwork in the post and invite you to become a co-founding member so that together we can give the market a miss for the moment, pause the powwow with foundations, give up grinding the grant applications … and start simply co-operating.

Technology of, by and for the people. Our tech, not their tech. Find out more now at www.diglife.com.

As for engineering the hi:project … well we’ll be making our case to the Collective in due time.

###

The debrief

From the moment we started talking about the hi:project, we contrasted the user interface (UI) and the human interface (HI), the former describing the status quo in which you, the mere user, are actually the used, where you are in fact the product being sold, the civilian being controlled. By adopting HI as our terminology, we communicate the intent to reinstate your sovereignty, your dignity, your humanity. Read more

Technology trends relevant to change management

when change becomes routine – PostShift

I have been invited to talk about tech trends relevant to change management at this evening's London meeting of the Change Management Institute.

I'm keeping most excellent company alongside Karolina Lewandowska, Change and Transformation Manager at Google UK, and Faith Forster, Founder and CEO Pinipa.

The image here is taken from an excellent blog post by Lee Bryant of PostShift – The Quantified Organisation: can change become routine?

Here's my stack:

Why I’ve decided to stop curating a Flipboard magazine

goodbye flipboard magazine

I have curated a Flipboard magazine for 16 months with the super title: Social Business Design magazine – Purpose & policy, openness & agility, structure & culture, communication & trust. Organizing to create more value for all faster than otherwise.

Trips off the tongue.

The service dutifully informs me that of all the stuff I read I have considered 913 articles worthy of inclusion in my niche 'publication', attracting 73 followers and 670 viewers.

I first posted about this sort of stuff ten years ago, and posted my likes and dislikes of Flipboard a year ago, so I've given this some thought. And Flipboard ...

It's over.

It's not me. It's you.

I enjoy sharing, but sharing is insufficient. You need to understand that curation is about community and shared knowledge. Yet there is no community.

Who are these followers and viewers? I've no idea... it seems I must carry on my altruistic curation absent social feedback. Can we comment on what we find? No. We can share and discuss the curated content with our other communities on other social platforms, but not with this specific group of people coalesced around Social Business Design Magazine. Quite weird. Makes Flipboard start to look like a step worth skipping.

But what about Flipboard as knowledge repository? Perhaps each of us can enjoy the utility of my Flipboard magazine in isolation.

But alas, no. For those unfamiliar with Flipboard you may find this quite odd, but there is no way to search back through the corpus I've assembled here. Zero. It really is incredibly frustrating. And whether intentional or otherwise, I can find no way to export the collection to a service or format that makes it searchable.

Flipboard fail

How odd to be told there are no results for "socioveillance" when I know for definite that this content is flipped to my Flipboard magazine.

So that's it, we're done. This is the last item of content I will curate to my Flipboard magazine. Just to let followers know. Because I'm sociable like that.

The Future of Organization – a video presentation on the major themes and some new provocations

Office building in New York

There's a lot to think about when it comes to the future of organization, and plenty to be optimistic about. Saying that, like any and all topics worth grappling with, it takes a bit of time to get up to speed on the depth and breadth of things. As a member of the advisory council for the Future of Work community, and part of the steering group for The Responsive Organization community, I know I'm not the only one looking to communicate these ideas effectively.

Mike Grafham and I talked about compiling a three-minute explanatory video, and I failed woefully at such brevity. This 42-minute video presentation aims to provide a relatively speedy immersion in some of the main themes, spanning human rights, complexity science, the death of heuristics, the six influence flows, personal knowledge mastery, social physics, trust, the digital nervous system, Web 3.0, performance and learning, public relations, collective intelligence, sociocracy, Holacracy, podularity, wirearchy, emergent civilzation, self-organization, organized self, socioveillance, the middleware corporate, Bread incorporated, distributed autonomous corporates, and the Mozilla manifesto.

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“Our goal is to become a social business but how do we get the revolution started?”

revolution Ukraine demonstrators

During a deep and meaningful conversation recently, my interlocutor declared:

Our goal is to become a social business but how do we get the revolution started?

This post addresses two problems integral to this statement.

A means not an end

Social business is a fairly fuzzy concept at the best of times. Some consider it synonymous with terms such as Enterprise 2.0, Agile Business, Responsive Organization, and Future Work, whereas others more deeply invested in any one may argue the differences. For the record, I describe social business by way of the following challenge:

Do you help all the individuals associated with your organization (employees, customers, partners, suppliers, shareholders, etc.) build worthwhile relationships with each other and others, coalescing by need and desire, knowledge and capability and shared values, to create shared value?

Shared values

Some pundits prefer to talk about shared purpose rather than shared values, and I think this may well be akin to Stowe Boyd differentiating between collaboration and cooperation with shared purpose relating to collaboration and shared values relating to cooperation. In his words: Read more

Stowe Boyd’s manifesto and The People’s Front

The People's Front

Stowe Boyd recently published "A Manifesto For A Third Way Of Work" (although the title will change). The manifesto forms the basis of the book Stowe plans to write throughout 2014, crystallizing the perspectives and insight he has forged and assembled over the years. And if you've read Attenzi – a social business story then you'll know Stowe and I think alike on many matters.

[Update 20th March 2014: the title changed to A Manifesto For A New Way of Work.]

Here are the major theses, and I have identified with an asterisk the four I have chosen to argue below.

_____

Dissensus (versus Consensus)

— active and directed dissent is a better way to counter the cognitive biases of groups and individuals, and to sidestep groupthink; essential to increased innovation and creativity truly driving business

Cooperative (versus Collaborative)

— sidesteps the politics and collectivism of consensus-based decision-making, and shifts to looser, laissez-faire cooperative work patterns

Creativity (versus Tradition)

— new solutions to problems are needed, and traditional approaches may not only be broken but dangerous

Autonomy (versus Heteronomy)

— paradoxically, as we come into a time when we acknowledge that we are more connected to each other than ever before, a great degree of autonomy will become the norm; old demands to subordinate all personal interests to those of the collective will be displaced by a personal re-engagement in our own work and a commitment to a deeper work culture that transcends any one company’s corporate culture Read more

Influencing Influencer Marketing

WOMMA Influencer Guidebook 2013

WOMMA's new guidance on influencer marketing begins with the assertion: "This is not an update to the 2008 WOMMA Influencer Handbook - this is a complete rewrite ..."

I'm not a WOMMA member but I am a special adviser to AMEC and The Conclave, and it was in this capacity that Brad Fay and I invested more than a few hours with WOMMA's Neil Beam to lend our insight and points of view and, we hope, help make this guidebook the complete rewrite it's turned out to be.

I've expressed Euler Partners' approach to influence in recent posts, notably "Influence - request for comments" (slidestack included below for your convenience), and we were delighted to have the opportunity to present these to the WOMMA team. In particular: Read more