Brainstorming, whether you believe in it or shun it, is a fantastic neologism. But as Frog Principal Designer David Sherwin has found, it’s also a very American word--one that doesn’t exist in every language.
Today, Frog will release the Collective Action Toolkit, a free, 72-page booklet that seeks to develop a universal framework for people of all ages and cultural backgrounds to tackle big problems in their communities. Developed over the past year, the CAT contains nary a mention of design (or brainstorming). Instead, it relies on a simple vocabulary to describe skills like building a team, carrying out research, and developing solutions. Want to figure out a way to help people in your community eat healthier? Have an idea for a small business? The CAT offers templates for activities to help get the idea off the ground.
Robin Good: Participatory culture writer and book author Henry Jenkins interviews cyberculture pioneer Howard Rheingold (Net Smart, 2012) by asking him to explain some of the concepts that have helped him become a paladin of the and "new literacies" so essential for survival in the always-on information-world we live in today.
This is part three of a long and in-depth interview (Part 2, Part 1) covering key concepts and ideas as the value of "community" and "networks", the architecture of participation, affinity working spaces, and curation.
Here is a short excerpt of Howard response to a question about curation and its value as both a “fundamental building block” of networked communities and as an important form of participation:
Howard Rheingold: "...at the fundamental level, curation depends on individuals making mindful and informed decisions in a publicly detectable way.
Certainly just clicking on a link, “liking” or “plussing” an item online, adding a tag to a photograph is a lightweight element that can be aggregated in valuable ways (ask Facebook).
But the kind of curation that is already mining the mountains of Internet ore for useful and trustworthy nuggets of knowledge, and the kind that will come in the future, has a strong literacy element.
Curators don’t just add good-looking resources to lists, or add their vote through a link or like, they summarize and contextualize in their own words, explicitly explain why the resource is worthy of attention, choose relevant excerpts, tag thoughtfully, group resources and clearly describe the grouping criteria."
In other words, "curators" are the ones creating the metadata needed to empower our emerging collective intelligence.
Curation Is The Social Choice About What Is Worth Paying Attention To.
"The professional co-option of community efforts to invent appropriate techniques for citizens to care in community has been pervasive. Therefore, we need to identify the characteristics of those social forms that are resistant to colonization by service
technologies while enabling communities to cultivate and care. These authentic social forms are characterized by three basic dimensions: they tend to be uncommodified, unmanaged, and uncurricularized.
The tools of the bereavement counselor make grief into a commodity rather than an opportunity for community. Service technologies convert conditions into commodities and care into service.
The tools of the manager convert communality into hierarchy, replacing consent with control. Where once there was a commons, the manager creates a corporation.
The tools of the pedagogue create monopolies in the place of cultures. By making a school of every-day life, community definitions and citizen action are degraded and finally expelled.
It is this hard-working team—the service professional, the manager, and the pedagogue—that pulls the tools of "community busting" through the modern social landscape. If we are to recultivate community, we will need to return this team to the stable, abjuring their use."
One of the problems we need to solve during this transition is to define a strategy to play the open game. How can we make sure that those who invest in open products get rewarded for their contribution? How can we make sure that one can feed his family from participating in the design, production and distribution of open products. We often hear: "if your product is successful you'll get copied"; "if you offer your recipe to everyone no one will buy your product, people will make it themselves"; etc.
Playing the open game is not just about releasing all the information and knowledge about the product.
Games require rules. A lot of efforts have been spent on drafting licenses for open products (see example from p2p foundation). But these licenses are, in some sense, as good as patents, i.e. as good as YOU can defend them.
The ability to bounce back, to absorb shocks, to persevere, to retain functionality over time, to endure, to adapt, to succeed, to survive, to sustain... so many verbs are conjured up by the term "resilience." Whether we're talking about our bodies, our minds, our communities, our institutions or our natural environment, the R-word provides a conceptual framework for designing a better tomorrow. Please join us for a wide-ranging inquiry on what it means to be resilient and what a resilient future could look like.
MVRDV‘s proposal for an urban development in Almere Oosterworld, the Netherlands, is a template for a D.I.Y. project that puts power into the hands of neighborhoods and communities. This development strategy is bottom-up, inclusive and very intuitive to the needs of individuals and their communities. It allows the design to develop organically and over a stretch of time as needs change and neighborhoods grow. MVRDV writes that the proposal “is a revolution in Dutch urban planning as it steps away from governmental dictate and invites organic urban growth in which initiatives are stimulated and inhabitants can create their own neighbourhoods including public green, urban agriculture and roads”.
I recently had the good fortune to interview Liz McLellan. Liz runs hyperlocavore.com, a site that matches "people up in yardsharing groups and neighborhood produce exchanges." Here's our discussion...
Inspired in part by the open source movement, public spaces are emerging where people congregate to share ideas, make cool projects, teach, and brainstorm with collaborators on everything from coding to cooking. With no leaders, they have one rule: "Be excellent to each other."
"Are you frustrated at the loss of freedom and responsibility in America, while the growth of government and taxes continues unabated? Do you want to live in strong communities where your rights are respected, and people exercise responsibility for themselves and in their dealings with each other?
If you answered "yes" to those questions, then the Free State Project has a solution for you."
This is a short demo of the development of Global City Symphony, a future creative learning and knowledge sharing platform in a network of seven cities will allow citizens to creatively express issues affecting their lifes and the future of the...
By altering the flow of resources, community currencies take power away from multinationals and put it in the hands of more accountable local entities. While community currencies can't be too similar to or compete with national money, most countries allow it and some, like Venezuela and the E.U., support their development. Mediating underemployment and poverty are often prime motivators, or specific purposes like small-business incubation, caregiving for seniors, community gardens, or providing healthcare for the uninsured, according to CNN.
WeTheTrees provides a multifaceted tool to every permaculturalist, and can be used very creatively to not only raise funds for a project, but also to fundraise for a course, assess the market potential of different ideas, and even to pre-sell products that will be produced with aforementioned fundraised capital, allowing the farmer or eco-social entrepreneur to feel more secure in their undertaking.
WeTheTrees can also function as an excellent way for a community to collect money for cooperative endeavors.
And furthermore, WeTheTrees allows a wonderful and meaningful way for anyone to be able to contribute to positive change on this planet. Just browsing through the site can be enjoyable, seeing all the interesting projects that other folks are raising money for, and when a person sees one that really excited them, its just a click away to become a contributor.
The fundamental moment in which design becomes a political tool has arrived. Whatever we choose to call it — P2P culture, peer production movement, open-P2P-design — will we be able to find new meaning cooperatively? Will we be able to participate with conviction in the revolution that is at hand?
Now that the need for large-scale production is disappearing due to the crystalline democratization of the means of production — now only linked to the time factor which is exponentially compressed every day — the cooperative revolution underway has placed people, as actors in their communities, at the centre of the act of production, humanizing it.
DIY and P2P are declarations of independence from capital, from national and international institutions, from the market. They are a call to a first-person role and an assumption of responsibility of the individual as an actor within his/her tribe.
Here, “home” is reinvented with a new purpose. It’s a community, an ethos, a series of opportunities for collaboration. And while most young professionals are flocking to urban centers like San Francisco to live in modest apartments, some are building a new American dream in once empty suburban McMansions and luxury downtown digs. In this new scheme, your network isn’t just your Facebook friends or business contacts; It includes your friends, influencers, ad hoc family, and your shared home.
This is the new project I'm planting my self into. Please help. - @ddrrnt
We're raising $20k to help rural communities in Zambia grow moringa crops so they can earn money and improve their nutrition.
Moringa is a superfood and regarded as the most nutritious plant on earth, it can help eliminate malnutrition in developing countries and LOTS of health-conscious people and sports enthusiasts in the First World also want to get their hands on some because it has loads of health benefits!
Moringa leaves can be consumed fresh, or dried in the shade and crushed into a powder which can then be mixed into food. It's super nutritious and really good for babies and young children too!
As a species we are stumbling blindly due to a model of separation based on nationality with no coherent system of monitoring or design. We are engaged in economic and political power-play, a fight for unsustainable resources, a religious war rearing its head between Islam and Christianity and to top it all off have done more damage to the biosphere in the last 10 years than in the whole history of humanity. We are waging wars on the trivial and sometimes I wonder if it is a self protection mechanism to prevent us from seeing the truth that is staring us right in the face at this moment of human history.
The facts are clear, we as a species have created a situation where we have to stop, stop to think, stop to address the major issues that can and are potentially affecting us as a species. This is a very small planet indeed, we as individuals tent to look at it from our personal perspective that stretch about as far as we can see, and for the ones being a little more engaged as far as our national interest lies. This small perspective of a “large planet” can and might be the undoing of a sustainable abundant planet for our future generation.
I was thinking about confluence and coliberation, as I oft do, and started wondering if there were an equivalent to self-actualization, but on a social scale. In other words, would it make sense, under some given circumstances, to describe a community, or even a society, as having become self-actualized?
"The Experience of a VillageTown is a natural process of human growth and development. It is a framework upon which a community defines itself. When you combine your purchasing power with others, you gain control of your money, your life and your future. Your outcome is a place to live that is vibrant, colorful, healthy and strong; a wonderful place to live - for present and future generations."
"The first Circle of the Heart was quite an intense happening. 23 people followed my Invitation and were willing to experiment – an experiment that was to show all of us what “authentic community” really means."