Open System Mobilization Platform 01.15.09
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Open System Mobilization Platform 01.15.09

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Describes a vision for a platform to mobilize people around a common vision

Describes a vision for a platform to mobilize people around a common vision

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Open System Mobilization Platform 01.15.09 Open System Mobilization Platform 01.15.09 Document Transcript

  • ON THE POSSIBILITY OF AN OPEN SYSTEM MOBILIZATION PLATFORM
    How the Principles of Real Time Interaction, Visibility, Openness and Self-Organization Can Serve as the Foundation for a Technology Platform that can be Utilized to Solve Large Scale Global Problems
    (Draft 1.0)
    Suresh Fernando
    January 15, 2009
    suresh@strat-insight.com
    TOC o " 1-3" h z
    OBJECTIVES PAGEREF _Toc219533249 h 4
    QUESTIONS TO PONDER PAGEREF _Toc219533250 h 4
    KEY COMPONENTS OF THE VISION PAGEREF _Toc219533251 h 5
    Introduction PAGEREF _Toc219533252 h 5
    What is an Open System Mobilization Platform? PAGEREF _Toc219533253 h 6
    What is Massive Social Change? PAGEREF _Toc219533254 h 6
    Massive Social Change Requires Massive Mobilization PAGEREF _Toc219533255 h 7
    Massive Mobilization Requires Large Scale Consensus Formation PAGEREF _Toc219533256 h 7
    Large Scale Consensus Formation is a Product of Group Process PAGEREF _Toc219533257 h 7
    THE IMPORTANCE OF REAL TIME INTERACTION PAGEREF _Toc219533258 h 7
    Group Process Occurs in Real Time: the importance of non-verbal communication PAGEREF _Toc219533259 h 7
    Group Process is Defined By Ones Consciousness of Ones Relation to the Group PAGEREF _Toc219533260 h 7
    Whether Groups One Participates in are Meaningful to Oneself is Dependent Upon the Extent of Real Time Interaction PAGEREF _Toc219533261 h 8
    THE IMPORTANCE OF OPENNESS PAGEREF _Toc219533262 h 9
    The Limitations of Openness. PAGEREF _Toc219533263 h 9
    We are Motivated to Connect with and Help Others PAGEREF _Toc219533264 h 9
    The Openness of the Internet and the Human Motivation to Help Others PAGEREF _Toc219533265 h 10
    DRIVING USER PARTICIPATION IN ONLINE PROJECTS PAGEREF _Toc219533266 h 10
    Why People Participate In Projects On a Volunteer Basis PAGEREF _Toc219533267 h 10
    The Success of a Project is Dependent Upon Participation In the Project PAGEREF _Toc219533268 h 11
    The Rapid Scaling of Projects PAGEREF _Toc219533269 h 11
    THE IMPORTANCE OF VISBILITY PAGEREF _Toc219533270 h 12
    Constraint On Participation in Online Volunteer Projects: the absence of visibility PAGEREF _Toc219533271 h 12
    Visibility of Projects Will Enhance Participation PAGEREF _Toc219533272 h 13
    The Distinction Between Actions and Projects PAGEREF _Toc219533273 h 14
    THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF ORGANIZATION PAGEREF _Toc219533274 h 15
    Visibility of Projects Enables the Self Organization of Projects PAGEREF _Toc219533275 h 15
    Problems a Self Organizing Technology Platform Must Solve PAGEREF _Toc219533276 h 15
    Considerations for Developing Trust On Self Organizing Technology Platforms PAGEREF _Toc219533277 h 15
    Architectural Themes for a Self Organizing Technology Platform PAGEREF _Toc219533278 h 16
    Self-Organization Enables a Single Idea to Turn Into a Project PAGEREF _Toc219533279 h 17
    IN CONSIDERING HUMAN EXPERIENCE PAGEREF _Toc219533280 h 18
    Real Time Interaction: the natural way to interact with others PAGEREF _Toc219533281 h 18
    Real Time Interaction and Generative Idea Creation: Group Brainstorming PAGEREF _Toc219533282 h 19
    How Real Time Brainstorming Can Create Momentum Around Large Projects PAGEREF _Toc219533283 h 19
    Harnessing Our Collective Intelligence PAGEREF _Toc219533284 h 20
    Idea Discovery PAGEREF _Toc219533285 h 20
    The Equivalence of Ideas: true democracy PAGEREF _Toc219533286 h 20
    CONCLUSION PAGEREF _Toc219533287 h 20
    APPENDICES PAGEREF _Toc219533288 h 22
    Architectural Considerations PAGEREF _Toc219533289 h 22
    Linking and Matching Module PAGEREF _Toc219533290 h 22
    Leadership And Project Structure Module PAGEREF _Toc219533291 h 23
    Communications Management Module PAGEREF _Toc219533292 h 24
    PROCESS CONSIDERATIONS PAGEREF _Toc219533293 h 25
    Phase I: Creating Member (person, project, organization) Profile PAGEREF _Toc219533294 h 25
    Phase II: Creation of Shared Project Information and Goals PAGEREF _Toc219533295 h 25
    VISIBILITY AND REPRESENTATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS PAGEREF _Toc219533296 h 25
    The Importance of Rich Media PAGEREF _Toc219533297 h 25
    Representation, Ontology Construction and the Semantic Web PAGEREF _Toc219533298 h 26
    The Project Ontology PAGEREF _Toc219533299 h 28
    The Organizational Ontology PAGEREF _Toc219533300 h 28
    RESEARCH PAGEREF _Toc219533301 h 28
    Competition PAGEREF _Toc219533302 h 28
    Open System Collaboration/Mobilization Platforms/Projects PAGEREF _Toc219533303 h 29
    Books and Articles PAGEREF _Toc219533304 h 30
    OBJECTIVES
    My objective in presenting the following is:
    To make the case for an Open System Mobilization Platform; a platform that will serve to organize large-scale collective action online.
    To stimulate dialogue about the idea by providing enough detail about the drivers for adoption as well as the architectural structure of the platform.
    To form a team to develop the platform once it is determined what the initial set of features should be.
    To present a vision that can be used to develop a technology platform with specific architectural features. Although there is some discussion about what the architecture will need to support, it is not designed, at this stage, to present a specific technology architecture.
    To provide sufficient consideration to aspects of human nature that bring to bear on the utilization of technology platforms. It’s important to keep in mind that technology is not an end in itself, merely an enabler for new forms of interaction. One cannot predict what new sorts of interaction are possible without a view on what motivates us to act in the first place.
    To stimulate the reader to realize that the Internet gives rise to new forms of collective interaction that were not heretofore possible at any time in the course of human history!
    To stimulate the reader to realize that to the extent that new forms of collective interaction are possible, new strategies and solutions to problems must be considered. There is no reason to think that problems that were once considered intractable are in fact so.
    QUESTIONS TO PONDER
    As you read the following it is helpful to keep in view the following questions:
    Are seemingly intractable global problems like climate change and poverty solvable through existing societal mechanisms? Does the rapid pace of technological change have a fundamental role to play in creating potentially innovative solutions? I say yes!!
    What sort of platform would you have to design in order to scale user participation into the thousands, or even hundreds of thousands?
    The Internet allows you, for the first time in history, to focus the attention of millions of people on a single idea or process! How can this fact be utilized to make this world a better place?
    Why Don’t Existing Social Change Websites have Much Traction? Why is it that with the many websites that attempt to bridge boundaries and connect those that care about the world with each other, most have a minimal install base, most projects on the sites are at a standstill, most projects that utilize these sites have raised little money and most organizations that attempt to serve the public interest do not see technology as a fundamental driver of their business processes etc.?
    What Makes Facebook Such A Successful Platform? How can the features that make it successful be utilized by a platform the objective of which is to mobilize people around specific projects?
    What sort of platform could be developed that would make it possible for a single great idea to gain momentum?
    Why is the Internet, at this stage in its evolution, not contributing in a fundamental way to making this world a better place?
    What is the relationship between visibility into the details of an online project and the ability to scale online participation? As you will see my view is that there is a very close relationship!
    How can we increase the efficiency of the volunteers’ time and reduce the risk that he/she is wasting time on a particular online project?
    What are the implications of self-organization (the formation of an organizational/leadership structure that commences with the assistance of the Mobilization Platform) for the scaling of online volunteer projects?
    What sort of user experience builds trust and commitment between individuals?
    What is the relationship between the rapid adoption rates of rich media and the ability to form virtual relationships?
    KEY COMPONENTS OF THE VISION
    Introduction
    I am heartened by the fact that there seems to be an increasing realization that the Internet can have a very large role to play in positive social change. The evidence for this is the large number of websites and blogs that are devoted to this idea. A veritable cottage industry is emerging.
    Although I don’t have specific numbers to back up my intuitions in this area, it is becoming pretty clear that the number of website that connect causes to donors, volunteers to projects, allow individuals to take specific actions etc. is increasing at a dramatic pace. Furthermore, all organizations are beginning to realize the virtues of utilizing various online tools to connect with others. They are implementing blogs, twittering, using IM, and hosts of other ‘web 2.0’ type tools to enhance their reach into the community. They have no choice since for the younger generation this is life as usual.
    Surely this is a good thing and will, if people understand the implications, contribute to the betterment of society.
    Nevertheless I cannot help but feel that there is something missing; that we can hope for more than what is currently out there.
    What we can hope for is the sort of technology platform that can make massive social change a possibility!
    This is to be distinguished from a collaboration platform in that our objective is more than just to make it possible to work together.
    The objective is to make it possible to scale the user participation of projects into the thousands and hopefully hundreds of thousands!
    In order for this to be possible, it will be necessary to develop an Open System Mobilization Platform.
    What is an Open System Mobilization Platform?
    There are many systems that allow groups to collaborate. A mobilization platform can be distinguished from a collaboration platform in the following ways:
    Self Organizing: Built into the platform will be functionality that will make it possible for the a team to develop on the platform, for the strategy to be developed on the platform etc. This will be supported by a high degree of real time information flow industry news, project news, people news etc.)
    Open Projects: The system will be designed to accommodate projects that are open in the sense that, in principle, the more people working on the project the better.
    Catalytic Capacity: In virtue of the way that we will connect people to projects to organizations in real time, with substantial information flow (industry news, project news, people news etc.), we expect that projects will be generated off the platform. Like-minded people will be able to find each other.
    Large Scale Collaboration: The platform will be designed with the view that, in time, it will be able to support large numbers of people working on open projects.
    Note that this does not mean that we expect this to be the dominant functionality when the platform is initially rolled out.
    In short, a mobilization platform is designed, specifically to make massive social change a possibility!
    What is Massive Social Change?
    Simply put, massive social change is revolutionary! - something that happens on a grand scale! It is the sort of change that is meaningful. It is the sort of change that we would experience should we collectively decide on a particular path to address the issue of climate change, end poverty and so on. In short it is massive!
    Massive Social Change Requires Massive Mobilization
    Let us for a moment assume that it is possible to make the sorts of changes that will result in global change on a large scale. Let us assume that, for example, enough people in the world can come together to force certain climate change related strategies to be adopted globally. What is necessary is that large numbers of people be mobilized around specific ideas or plans.
    Massive Mobilization Requires Large Scale Consensus Formation
    In order for large numbers of people to be mobilized around specific ideas, it is necessary that mechanisms be developed that make large-scale consensus formation a possibility; mechanisms that make it possible for hundreds of thousands if not millions of people to agree on certain goals and a specific course of action to achieve these goals!
    Large Scale Consensus Formation is a Product of Group Process
    When groups of people agree on a plan, it is the result of meetings and dialogue. It requires assessment of ideas, compromise, negotiation and so on. Hence, it is the product of the interaction of those that are part of the collaborative process. This sort of collaborative process is, by definition, a group process.
    THE IMPORTANCE OF REAL TIME INTERACTION
    Group Process Occurs in Real Time: the importance of non-verbal communication
    If we think of prototypical group experiences we think of people sitting around a meeting table, a hockey team, a band our work environment etc. In all of these cases, real time interaction is an essential feature of the pattern of interaction. It is via the face-to-face interaction that members of the group develop their relationships with each other. They monitor how members of the group respond to their question; respond to others’ questions, how respectful they are off each other, how aggressive they are on so on.
    It is only via real time interaction that non-verbal signals are communicated and interpreted, and these are an essential feature of the bonding experience between people.
    Group Process is Defined By Ones Consciousness of Ones Relation to the Group
    What is important to note about Group Process is that there are particular dynamics at play that bring to bear on the ideas that are generated and plans that are agreed upon. In particular when one is part of a group one is conscious of not just ones relationship to specific other individuals in the group (what I think of Joe…) but also to ones relationship to the group (understood as a singular entity). For example, one is faced with questions such as whether one is contributing to the group, whether the group is functioning effectively, whether I am making friends through participation in the group etc.
    This consciousness that participation in Group Process gives rise to leads to a self consciousness of ones relationship to groups that one is participating in. For example, one knows whether or not one is the leader of the group, whether one likes the leaders, whether one ‘feels as though they are a part of the group’.
    We might then ask ourselves what it is that makes us feel as though we are a part of a group? It does not take much reflection to realize our consciousness of our relation to a group and the people that are a part of it is largely dependent not just of interaction, but a specific form of interaction – real time interaction!
    Whether Groups One Participates in are Meaningful to Oneself is Dependent Upon the Extent of Real Time Interaction
    Ask yourself which groups you participate in that you feel really invested in? If you work within some organization, you no doubt feel a part of this group (one may feel positively or negatively about this). If you play music in a band, you likely feel a part of this group. If you take a yoga class on the weekends, you may feel a part of this group, although likely to a lesser extent.
    In short, the extent to which you feel invested in a particular group will be dependent upon the how often you see people, how often you talk to them etc. – how often you interact with them in real time! Real time interaction is the most essential feature in the formation of ones sense of ones relation to other people, groups etc. It works both ways. Clearly you interact in real time with people and groups that you are most invested in; your family, friends, coworkers etc. Just as importantly, real time interaction is constitutive of the extent to which you are invested in the situation. To see that this is so, just think of the feelings that one experiences when one doesn’t like ones coworkers (one would prefer not to be invested in the situation!). Regardless of whether one wants to feel invested in the situation (care about it), the very fact that you interact with these same people every day makes this sort of interaction important. One has no choice in the matter.
    Hence real time interaction is constitutive of the pattern of interaction that is necessary to make processes have meaning to people.
    The above line of thinking provides us with one pillar for the platform that must be developed: it must be a real time platform. What else must we consider?
    THE IMPORTANCE OF OPENNESS
    It is a widely discussed fact that the Internet bridges boundaries. We can search the Internet and find organizations and people that are doing interesting things all over the world. We can then send them emails and initiate a dialogue with them. The world is truly global. This is not news.
    A less understood (or at least talked about) feature of the Internet is that one can represent oneself (or ones ideas) to the whole world. One can create a website or a blog and, at least in theory, anyone in the world can view it.
    The Internet opens the world to you and you to the world.
    The Limitations of Openness.
    This is an interesting and exciting feature that many of us are aware of and trying to take advantage of. Virtually all businesses and many individuals now have website and/or blogs, for example. That said, as many of us know, this is not enough. Companies use websites in conjunction with other sorts of media. Individuals puzzle over how best to get people to read their blogs. In short, the Internet is open, but there is so much information in cyberspace that it is virtually impossible to be seen.
    For something to simply be present online is not sufficient, one must consider under what conditions things that are online become widely known to others.
    Are there particular considerations or aspects of human nature or human interaction that we should consider when trying to understand why certain web companies, blogs, processes etc. grow virally?
    What aspect of human motivation should we consider given the context of our current investigation?
    We are Motivated to Connect with and Help Others
    The question as to what motivates us is a large and vexed one and not one that I will attempt to resolve. I will, however, make a few assumptions that the reader is welcome to challenge:
    Humans are intrinsically motivated by the desire to be a part of a community: Whether this is ones nuclear family, baseball team, whatever, it is fundamental to our nature to be connected to others.
    Many (if not most) of us would like to contribute to the welfare of others: If we could make the world a better place we would do so. Unfortunately, in the western world, we are too consumed by the requirements of day-to-day life (jobs, family etc.) that we have little time or resources to devote to others. In other parts of the world survival is the primary concern.
    In either case, the welfare of others is not something that we can attend to effectively due to the constraints of ordinary life.
    The Openness of the Internet and the Human Motivation to Help Others
    Previously we noted that the fact that the Internet makes things open is not enough. It is not enough because what we present in cyberspace is not necessarily visible to those that want to see it. There is no reason to think that anyone will find our website or our blog. How is this problem to be resolved?
    What if there were a platform that allowed those that want to help others to connect with each other in a manner that allows them to work together? What if we were able to find each other on the basis of common interests, common projects that we might be able to work on, common values etc.?
    One might think that there already exist a number of such platforms; that there are many ways for those that are interested in helping out to do so. In some sense this is true since if one wants to donate funds, there are many sites where this is possible. If one wants to volunteer in ones community one can do so etc. It is true that there are sites such as this, but we all know that, to date, they have very little traction.
    Why is it that with the many websites that attempt to bridge boundaries and connect those that care about the world with each other, most have a minimal install base, most projects on the sites are at a standstill, most projects that utilize these sites have raised little money, most organizations that attempt to serve the public interest do not see technology as a fundamental driver of their processes etc.?
    In short why is the Internet, at this stage in its evolution, not contributing in a fundamental way to making this world a better place?
    What is missing is a platform that can support very large projects that can scale rapidly!
    For the reasons described below, if we want people to actively participate in online projects, it will be necessary for the project to make a significant difference. It is imperative that it be possible that the project could, in principle, scale rapidly.
    DRIVING USER PARTICIPATION IN ONLINE PROJECTS
    Why People Participate In Projects On a Volunteer Basis
    To understand why it is necessary that there exists an infrastructure that enables projects to scale rapidly we must consider why people participate in volunteer projects to begin with. Volunteer activity, for obvious reasons, needs to be distinguished from work that is motivated by financial considerations. People participate in volunteer activity to satisfy certain personal or human requirements.
    They want to be a part of a community,
    Learn Skills
    Hard skills (marketing etc.)
    Soft skills (leadership etc.)
    Ideological commitment (alleviating homelessness etc.).
    The above represents interrelated motivations for people to participate in projects and all require that the process to which volunteers commit must persist for an extended period of time!
    If people are going to volunteer their time they need to know that the organization that they are going to do work for, the project they are going to commit to etc. will persist such that they can satisfy their personal requirements. If the organization fails, they will not make friends, nor will the not have the opportunity to learn or grow.
    What is the best guarantor of the stability of an organization or its project? Clearly it’s success!
    The Success of a Project is Dependent Upon Participation In the Project
    It goes without saying that getting a project off the ground requires the involvement of others. If we can’t build the team, raise the financing, partners and so on, it is impossible to make progress.
    We now see that the reason that existing platforms have garnered little or no traction is because it is not clear to people who view the project online whether or not the project is going to be successful or not.
    There isn’t sufficient visibility into the project to give people confidence that the project is going to succeed!
    It is important to note that there are many variables that might contribute to ones confidence that a project will succeed. We might hear, for example, that a million dollars has been raised, or that the Gates Foundation is getting involved. The clearest indication, however, that momentum is being generated is that large numbers of people are getting involved in the project. Consider ones response when seeing on the news that a hundred thousand people have attended a rally. We know that something is up – that this process is having a substantial social impact! The sheer critical mass that has been generated is indication that change is in the offing.
    The Rapid Scaling of Projects
    One characteristic of the Internet generation is the fact that certain sorts of processes generate massive user participation in short periods of time. Consider businesses such as Amazon.com or Ebay, user content platforms like Youtube or Flickr, blog platforms like Wordpress etc. A number of years ago Napster revolutionized the way that digital content can be distributed. Characteristic of all of these platforms is the fact that user participation scaled very rapidly in a short period of time.
    What we need to consider is what sort of platform we can create that can make it possible to scale projects in a similar way!
    By ensuring that a platform is developed that makes scaling of the project as ‘frictionless’ as possible, we ensure that we make it as likely as possible that user participation levels are as high as possible.
    THE IMPORTANCE OF VISIBILITY
    Constraint On Participation in Online Volunteer Projects: the absence of visibility
    We have seen that it is imperative that projects persist in time if people are going to participate in them and for this to happen it is necessary for them to be successful. We have also seen that the best guarantor of success is massive user participation. Realistically speaking, however, not all projects are going to scale rapidly and, furthermore, at the inception of the project they won’t have massive user participation.
    What other consideration, other than massive user participation, is necessary to minimize the impediments to participation?
    To understand this, we need to better understand what the impediments are to participation in online projects.
    Projects that provide economic opportunity can be accelerated because of the fact that they are projects that are able to provide financial compensation to participants. The individual participant trades off his/her time for money.
    Volunteer projects have a more difficult time creating momentum because there is no immediate benefit to the participant. He or she has to trade off time for potentially no tangible return. Only those that are motivated towards working for goals without financial benefit will work on these projects. Hence one has to invest time, with no immediate benefit. So the question we are faced with is what features can we build into the platform to mitigate this inhibitor to participation?
    How can we increase the efficiency of the volunteers’ time and reduce the risk that he/she is wasting time on a particular project?
    Increasing Efficiency: One possibility is to reduce the amount of time one is required to invest in order to participate and watch the progress of the project. People will be able to watch the progress of the project, and invest time only when they see fit, for whatever role is specifically of interest to them. If one is not required to attend unnecessary meetings, participate in unnecessary conference calls etc. he/she is more likely to be committed to the project. For this to be possible, it is necessary to make it possible that this information can be communicated via other means.
    This can only be accomplished by making the project maximally visible!
    Reducing Risk: The reduction of the ‘risk’ associated with participation in volunteer projects needs to be understood in relation to the ‘reward’ that is expected from those that participate. We must keep in mind that one of the primary reasons that people participate in volunteer activity is to develop connections with other people. They want to express their caring for the world within the context of a community with similar values, they want to show others that they are contributing to the betterment of society and so on.
    The human imperative to connect with others (make ourselves known to others) is enhanced if the platform is designed such that the actions of all participants are visible to the group.
    This, also, can only be accomplished by making the project maximally visible!
    Visibility of Projects Will Enhance Participation
    We have already introduced the notion of Openness – the idea that cyberspace is, in principle, visible to all. What follows from Openness is that what we represent is visible, and this has important consequences.
    What is most important about the visibility of projects is that it allows people to get a clearer understanding of what is happening with the project. If, for example, one is able to see what the longer-term goals are, the shorter term goals, the specific tasks and timelines, the people working on various aspects of the project etc., one is able make an assessment as to how one can contribute.
    The reason that visibility will enhance user participation in projects is that people participate in projects for a range of different reasons and they are able to make choices based on more complete information. For example, someone might choose to work on a specific task simply because he sees that his friends is working on the same task. He might work on another task because it only requires meetings on Wednesday nights. Alternatively he might work on something else due to the fact that the timeline for completion is a specific date, after which he plans to leave the country.
    Therefore, it is essential if we want to mitigate the inhibitors to participation that the Mobilization Platform represents projects in as much detail as possible. This is consistent with the principle of Openness and will inhibit barriers to participation.
    Consider the case of a single mother that has little time to volunteer, but is committed to doing what she can to impact local legislation on carbon emissions. What can she do? Let’s face it, the challenge seems daunting and it seems that there is little that an ordinary citizen can do to contribute to impacting such a complex issue as climate change. It is difficult to get motivated to actually take action when it seems as though ones actions have no tangible impact.
    One option for her is to participate in a letter writing campaign or a petition that might be organized by a group such as Avaaz. This, no doubt, will have some impact but the question is how engaged will she be? How important will this process be in her life? What is the likelihood of whatever actions she takes at this time leading to her taking further action?
    It seems clear that she will have much more confidence in the process if she knows the following:
    The petition that she signed and the letter she wrote to her Congressional Representative are part of a much larger coordinated strategy that involved a range of other actions such as rally’s, letter’s to local officials, letters to members of the press, cold calling in ones community, door knocking in ones community etc.
    The overall project is being managed by a team of volunteers and there is a clearly defined organizational structure. She can go online and view those that are managing the project, who reports to who and so on.
    There are regular meetings that are being videotaped and regular conference calls that are being taped. These are all available online in case she cannot attend meetings.
    There is a range of other tasks that she is interested in pursuing and she will have time to take them on in a couple of months once things settle down at work.
    There is an online Project Management System where all of the tasks for all of the various strategies are tracked and updated on a regular basis.
    There are profile pages for the volunteers so that you can get to know other people that are interested in the project, what other projects they are working on etc. This gives a human face to the larger project.
    The Distinction Between Actions and Projects
    At first glance it might seem as though this problem has been solved since there are a number of organizations (Avaaz, for example) that have platforms to support petitions, letter writing campaigns and the like. I want to make a distinction, however, between actions that an individual can take that are part of a larger process and isolated actions that individuals can take. If, for example, the group goal is to enact a particular piece of legislation, one can see how several strategies can be developed and coordinated to support this idea; a media strategy, letter writing, petitions, door knocking, telephone calls etc.
    User participation will be enhanced by:
    The organization of larger processes: for the reasons described previously. People want to participate in larger projects that will be successful.
    The visibility of the process
    THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF ORGANIZATION
    Visibility of Projects Enables the Self Organization of Projects
    Another important implication of making projects maximally visible is that it makes possible the self-organization of projects.
    Self-organization refers to situations where the team that works on the project, and the associated processes that are required to implement the project, evolve off the platform itself.
    This is to be contrasted with the typical case where the concept for a project, the team, the tasks etc., is developed first, after which it is determined that a technology based project management process can be utilized to increase efficiency.
    Problems a Self Organizing Technology Platform Must Solve
    The essence of a technology infrastructure that supports self-organization is that it is designed to mobilize widely dispersed, arms length participants by supporting the generation of a shared vision and the required execution plans. This requires solutions to two types of problems:
    The Problem of Building Trust: A self organizing system must solve the problem of getting geographically dispersed individuals to work together, and this requires getting people that didn’t initially know each other to gain enough trust in each other to foster effective collaboration.
    Architectural Problems: The technology architecture that supports self-organization must solve three specific problems:
    Linking and Matching: It must provide a intelligent mechanism to link people with projects, people with other people and projects with other projects.
    Organizational Structure: It must support the development of a structure that defines the relationships between the members of the group. Who is responsible for what, who reports to whom etc.
    Process Structure: It must support the development of specifically defined goals with specific tasks and timelines associated with them.
    Considerations for Developing Trust On Self Organizing Technology Platforms
    The factors that contribute to developing trust online will parallel the factors that contribute to developing trust in real world situations. Trust in real world situations is dependent upon the extent to which we are a part of a common community (and therefore get have common contacts), the frequency of our interaction, the competence and consistency with which we execute tasks and so on.
    Therefore developing trust online will require features that make it possible to experience our online contacts in similar ways.
    Hence, online systems must be committed to the following:
    Transparency: the development of trust is enhanced by the extent to which we know the specifics about those that we interact with. - The more information that we know, and the more willing that others are to share information, the greater the trust level is.
    Commonality: One of the biggest contributors to the success of facebook is that there are two senses in which we are connected to our online friends:
    We share the same real world community: Facebook is developed on the notion of a ‘network’, which makes it such that we share something with the others, in the real world, that we are connected to online.
    We share common friends: Facebook provides visibility into the online contacts we have in common with others that we are friends with.
    Hybrid Structure: Commonality, in the case of facebook, has evolved because facebook was developed to enhance the value of existing real world networks and relationships. People were friends in the real word first, and the facebook platform just serves to enhance existing relationships.
    Frequency of Interaction: If we interact a lot with someone we are presented with more information from which we are able to get a better understanding of the person. This contributes to our ability to develop trust in that person.
    Trust In Process: we also gain trust in those that we work with when it is clear that the objectives of the group are being realized. Hence it is necessary not only for the project to move forward, but for details on how the project is to move forward to be represented in real time via the news feed, for example.
    Architectural Themes for a Self Organizing Technology Platform
    A technology platform that supports self-organization must have, at the least, the following features:
    Open System: It must allow anyone from anywhere to participate – to contribute their ideas and to engage actively.
    Scaleable User Participation: It needs to be able to support the real time participation of thousands of people.
    Real Time Interaction: It must support instant messaging and videochat features. Real time interaction is an essential feature for creating a sense of shared experience. This will contribute greatly to getting people to feel that they are a part of the process.
    Process Structure/Project Management System: It must provide an infrastructure for people who choose to work on a specific project to actually work together.
    Organizational Structure Tools: Since this will be an open system, it must have specific tools that allow for the creation of organizational structure from an initially open, egalitarian, pattern of interaction. Hence if someone wants to volunteer to lead a particular initiative, and to create the team to bring this to fruition, this needs to be possible.
    Intelligence: An open system is designed to involve large numbers of people on specific projects. Effectively engaging large numbers of people will require that we solicit input from everyone. It is clear that the information that is input into the system cannot be processed effectively without the aid of tools that can extricate semantic content from the information in the system.
    A process that has been garnering interest of late is the notion of Mass Dialogue. The idea is to utilize the Internet to engage people in a real time conversation. Imagine 100,000 simultaneously chatting! This would be meaningless chaos unless platform had the capacity to identify common themes as they were being discussed. Modern semantic web technologies certainly make this possible, and will enable the system to identify which themes are of greater interest and so on. This sort of process would replicate, on a very large scale, the benefits of meeting in groups around a table!
    Self-Organization Enables a Single Idea to Turn Into a Project
    What is most exciting about the Internet revolution is that it has changed the nature of the relationship between us, as individuals, and the rest of the world. It has made it possible to create visibility for ourselves, and projects that we are interested in, without the need for traditional media channels. Consider how specific home-made content can get virally distributed via Youtube, a self produced song can be virally distributed, or how a particular blog can gain popularity without the assistance of newspapers or television.
    It is, in theory, now possible for someone with a great idea or plan to engage those that might agree with him!
    Self-organizing systems make it possible for a single idea to become visible to the world and to gain interest and momentum!
    IN CONSIDERING HUMAN EXPERIENCE
    A common mistake made by technology companies is that they don’t pay sufficient heed to the considerations that underlie user participation in systems. Technology is an extension of human experience and interaction, and therefore careful consideration must be given to what makes people utilize technology platforms.
    Real Time Interaction: the natural way to interact with others
    An essential feature of any technology platform that aims to generate effective group processes is that they support all forms of real time interaction.
    Real Time Interaction and the Real World: Real time interaction is an absolutely essential feature technology based group process simply because interaction in the real world is in real time. Ultimately life can be reduced to moments of real time interaction. The closer the online experience is to the real world experience, the easier it will be for people to develop trust in each other. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have hardwired us to function in relation to each other in real time. Our understanding of our environment and the relations that are constitutive of it are generated as a result of the ways in which we naturally interact with the world.
    Real Time Interaction and Leadership Formation: Real time interaction provides a context for the natural evolution of leadership. Therefore, the extent to which technology provides for the opportunity to simulate this, the technological platform enable specific patterns of interaction that are natural and the basis for how we normally interact with each other, form relationships, and from which leaders will emerge. Thus, there will be a correlation between participation rates, the evolution of leadership, the generation of ideas etc. and real time process.
    In order for us to follow a certain leader we need to see what he has to say, see how he behaves and responds to situations and so on. One must not confuse this point with the fact that we currently follow elected political officials without interacting with them in real time.
    If, for example, Obama were not someone that his close associates wanted to follow, he would not have been successful. That Obama’s associates wanted to follow him is due, at least in part, to their real time interactions with him. Furthermore, it is certain that those that trust him (and whom he trusts) and work closely with him interact regularly with him in real time. This will be true of all leaders and those that follow their lead.
    Secondly, the emergence of leadership in a self-organizing system will have different dynamics since there is no analog to someone being endorsed for you by others. There will simply be a number of people that are strangers to each other that are interested in working on various sorts of projects and a leaders will need to emerge. How can that transpire unless trust is developed as a result of frequent interaction?
    Real Time Interaction and Generative Idea Creation: Group Brainstorming
    A real time process that we are all used to is the idea of brainstorming with others. What is essential to the success of this is that we feed off the energy and the ideas as they are being generated by others. We are able to synthesize and evaluate the thoughts of others as they are presented to us in real time.
    Let us envision what is possible if we conduct large scale brainstorming sessions, in real time, with the assistance of intelligent systems that are able to process the feedback in real time.
    Ideas are input from distributed locations, in large volume, in real time.
    Ideas are sorted into certain themes using key word and/or semantic techniques
    The popularity/importance of certain ideas is distributed back to the group, in real time, and the group can respond to the feedback in real time.
    For example consider 100,000 (or maybe a million!) people inputting ideas on how best to address the problem of global poverty. Imagine if the system can determine that 32,000 people are interested in pursuing strategies related to farming practices, of those 32,000 people, 12,000 have a more specific interest in farming practices in Africa etc.
    How Real Time Brainstorming Can Create Momentum Around Large Projects
    This sort of process serves two functions:
    It immediately provides visibility into what people are thinking right now, how many people are thinking about the same sorts of things and so on.
    It makes it possible for people to modify their areas of focus in real time to stimulate momentum!
    The latter point is extremely important since it is likely that most people are more interested in solving the problem of global poverty than they are in precisely how to go about doing it. Hence if it is clear that a particular strategy is garnering substantial interest, then there is nothing preventing one from committing to that project.
    This, for example, is what happens during the primary process in the US where those that are undecided or just voting strategically will wait to see who the front runner is before they commit. Again, for many, it is more important to ride a winning horse than it is to operate on principle.
    Harnessing Our Collective Intelligence
    The fundamental power of the Internet and communications technologies lies in their ability to allow us to collectively focus our intelligence, and to collaborate. The best example of this is the development of the Linux operating system.
    Many minds trying to solve a particular problem is more effective than a single mind trying to solve a particular problem!
    The important point is that, for the first time in history, it is possible to focus potentially millions of people on a single idea!
    Idea Discovery
    As it stands, if one has a great idea the only way that one can take advantage of this idea is follow formal structures that have been codified within our institutional culture. We can write an article or book, form an organization, start a company etc. Many inhibitors exist. For example, in order for one to be taken seriously one needs a formal education. There is little imperative for the average citizen to be bold in their thinking; to feel that they can actually contribute to the welfare of humanity. How could they possibly overcome the hurdles they are faced with? They, in practice, have no voice.
    An open system mobilization platform could discover their ideas! The average citizen will be given a voice that can catalyze effective change. Not only will they have the opportunity to present their ideas, they can also watch as their ideas gain traction with others!
    The Equivalence of Ideas: true democracy
    A related notion is that an open system mobilization platform will be truly democratic and will respect individuals in the most fundamental way. It will, in principle, be just as possible for a peasant in India to present her idea to the world as it is for someone in better circumstances in the west. Everyone’s ideas have equal merit and can be the basis for effective change in the world.
    CONCLUSION
    The preceding is designed to provide the reader with sense as to why the time is right for the development of a platform that can be used to mobilize people towards positive social change. The aim has not been to focus simply on a discussion of technology, but to ensure that the reader considers human motivation when trying to understand why a particular technology solution works (doesn’t work).
    APPENDICES
    Architectural Considerations
    The Ecosystem: In the preceding discussion I have tried to make a case for the timeliness of the creation of open system mobilization platform. For the sake of brevity and in order not to introduce excessive levels of complexity at this very preliminary stage in the discussion I have focused the discussion on considerations relating only to the requirements for getting people involved in projects.
    In principle, however, we can view the ‘ecosystem’ in a more general way as consisting of:
    People
    Projects
    Organizations
    Therefore, we could state the more general problem of an open system as requiring a solution to how to connect people to people, people to projects, projects to organizations and all of the other combinations.
    Ideally, this system is as automated as possible. The following describes what, in the best case scenario is possible.’
    The Linking and Matching Criteria: I propose that the basic structure that we utilize to connect members of the ecosystem is a framework that is based upon:
    Resources: what a person has to offer (for a project, personally, etc), what an organization has to offer…
    Needs: what a person needs (for a project, personally, etc), what a project needs…
    Objectives: the goals, timelines and associated tasks that people, projects and organizations have.
    With that in mind, we can think about what the basic structure of the system might look like:
    The following represents a few thoughts on what preliminary functionality would be required to create a open system mobilization platform.
    Linking and Matching Module
    The objective of the Linking and Matching module is to provide an intelligent capability for soliciting and sourcing information that is represented in Natural Language, in any file format, and extracting the relevant information that will satisfy the Linking and Matching Criteria defined within the Resources, Needs and Objectives framework.
    Semantic Intelligence: Keeping in mind that the system is open and therefore information flow is dynamic and potentially present in great volumes, it will be necessary that the linking and matching process be automated. Furthermore, it is essential to reduce the impediments to user participation therefore the system cannot be reliant on structured documents for the input of information. It cannot, for example, require that online questionnaires be filled out etc. The system must be able to utilize existing documentation that is drafted in natural language and to be able to extricate relevant information as necessary.
    There is much hype about the ‘semantic web’ and this is the basic idea that underlies some of the research in this area. By way of example, we can see that…
    Possible semantic relationships:
    Certain sentence structure and combinations of words result in Categorization, for example:
    Resources
    “We can provide…”
    “We offer…”
    “Our resources…”
    Needs:
    “I/we need…”
    “I/we want…”
    “I/we require….”
    Objectives:
    “I/we will…”
    “I/we want to…”
    “our goals…”
    Leadership And Project Structure Module
    After a project has some membership, and Organizational Objectives have been developed from the Linking and Matching Technology, it will be necessary to create a team that provides the project with leadership and structure.
    1. System will review inputted data and create shortlist of Leadership Candidates
    2. System will communicate with Leadership Candidates to determine their interest
    ‘Our evaluation of the information you provided us suggests that, of the 54 current community members, you are amongst 4 that we think may be interested in providing leadership for the group.’
    3. System will forward notice to System generated candidates for feedback
    4. System will send out update and notice to rest of community members to get feedback regarding progress of the team development.
    “ John Smith has decided to act as the Group Leader, Mary MacKenzie will handle Sales and Marketing, but we still need can you think of any one that may be able to help?”
    5. System will arrange Real Time Meetings to Generate Dynamic Interaction
    Conference Calls
    Video Conferencing
    Options for Organizational Involvement
    ‘Please Identify Positions that may be of Potential interest.’
    Group Leader
    Finance/Accounting
    Sales and Marketing
    Administration
    Operations and Management
    Brainstorming
    ‘Please Identify Participation Constraints.’
    Time
    Hours/mth: “…. Only available after 7PM”
    Days of the Week: “not available Tuesday nights or weekends”
    People
    Only interested if……participates
    Not interested if……..participates
    Objectives
    Only interested if we focus on……
    Communications Management Module
    This module will serve as a mechanism through which people can manage and filter all of their communications tools in a manner that delivers information to people when they want it, and in whatever manner they want. This will be achieved by providing the following functionality:
    The platform will provide a single number to which all information can be sent. Information is then Filtered and resent to the Member in accordance with the following specifications.
    The Member can customize Communications Options, which will be dependent upon
    Time: End User chooses when to receive information
    Real Time
    Specified Time
    Priority: End User chooses which information is of highest priority
    Provide Filtering Options
    Phone numbers
    Names
    Subjects
    Enabling Technology: End User chooses how to receive information
    Cell Phone Voice Contact
    Cell Phone Email
    Instant Message to Desktop
    Email to Desktop
    Pager
    Handheld Device
    PROCESS CONSIDERATIONS
    The following represents a few thoughts on how one could automate the process of project formation itself; how the platform could potentially identify projects that would be of mutual interest to people and catalyze the formation of a project. In actual practice, we would expect certain individuals to take it upon themselves to catalyze projects and to utilize the tools provided by the system to accelerate the process.
    Phase I: Creating Member (person, project, organization) Profile
    Platform compiles Natural Language Information from various community members
    Platform Filters and Categorizes information as above
    Platform Creates Personal Profile that contains individuals Needs, Resources and Objectives
    Platform forwards information back to Member who modifies information if desired
    Phase II: Creation of Shared Project Information and Goals
    Platform forwards modified information into Community
    Platform compiles aggregated information on Resources, Needs and Objectives
    Platform Creates Collective Goal Objectives by sorting and synthesizing individual goals.
    Platform initiates Collaborative Dialogue to create more specific organizational goals
    Platform might say: ‘27 community members in the group have a strong interest in fighting climate change, 14 people have an interest in renewable resources. In combination this represents 94% of all participants in the Vancouver are that are able to meet on Tuesday evenings. Based upon the Availability Inputs, Tuesday the 24th is the best time for a Real Time Collaborative Meeting. Why don’t we have a Telephone Conference Call at that time. Notification will be sent to everyone according to his or her Communication Specifications.’
    VISIBILITY AND REPRESENTATIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
    For the reasons described previously, how the members of the ecosystem (people, projects and organizations) are represented within the system is of extreme importance.
    The Importance of Rich Media
    Continuous increases in computer processing power as well as reduction in bandwith constraints have resulted in dramatic increases in the utilization of various media (photos, videos, music etc.) over the course of the last several years. This has led to the creation of a generation of youngsters that are growing up using media of various forms to represent their lives (consider user adoption patterns for Facebook, MySpace etc.
    That this is a trend that shows no sign of reversing is self-evident. What is more important to understand, however, is:
    What is the relationship between the rapid adoption rates of rich media and the ability to form virtual relationships?
    Relationship formation is dependent upon receiving information from, and interpreting information about, the party in question. Rich media makes this process more efficient for two reasons:
    More information: obviously when you are able to see what a person looks like, hear how they talk and so on, you have at your disposal more information than if this information is not presented to you.
    Non Verbal Information: we are attuned, at the subconscious level, to a host of non-verbal cues. This is information that hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have taught us to be attuned to and to interpret.
    It is because rich media provides us with information that is required in order for us to form judgments about others that utilization patterns of rich media are on a dramatic rise.
    Representation, Ontology Construction and the Semantic Web
    There is much discussion about the notion of the semantic web. This is not the place for an extended discussion of this topic but I will raise a couple of important themes as it relates directly to the issue of Linking and Matching of people, projects and organizations.
    How, in principle, can linking and matching be accomplished?
    Only if there is an effective way of representing the members of the ecosystem that can need to be matched. Hence we need a way, for example, to represent people such that the right people can be matched with the right projects etc.
    The abstract schema that is agreed upon to represent a particular entity is known as an ontology. The most well developed ontology is that which is used to represent people, and is known as FOAF (friend-of-a-friend) Once the ontologies are agreed upon, then all information that comes into the system that relates to a person, project or organization will be structured according to the ontology.
    The following is the current FOAF ontology, which represents the way that people are represented. Similar ontologies for the representation of projects and organizations will need to be developed.
    FOAF BasicsPersonal InfoOnline Accounts / IMProjects and GroupsDocuments and Images HYPERLINK " http://xmlns.com/foaf/spec/" l " term_Agent" AgentPersonnamenicktitlehomepagemboxmbox_sha1sumimgdepiction (depicts)surnamefamily_namegivennamefirstNameweblogknowsinterestcurrentProjectpastProjectplanbased_nearworkplaceHomepageworkInfoHomepageschoolHomepagetopic_interestpublicationsgeekcodemyersBriggsdnaChecksumOnlineAccountOnlineChatAccountOnlineEcommerceAccountOnlineGamingAccountholdsAccountaccountServiceHomepageaccountNameicqChatIDmsnChatIDaimChatIDjabberIDyahooChatIDProjectOrganizationGroupmembermembershipClassfundedBythemeDocument Image PersonalProfileDocument topic (page) primaryTopic tipjar sha1 HYPERLINK " http://xmlns.com/foaf/spec/" l " term_made" made (maker) thumbnail log
    We see, then, that the challenge is to properly define the ontology to suit the needs of the platform that one is developing. As with all networked processes, it is most efficient to use existing, well known, ontologies such as FOAF.
    There is currently much research in this area and we would need to include those that are experts in this area in our discussion process. The following are a few references…
    Ontology Projects Worldwide: http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/mfkb/related.html
    An Intrepid Guide to Ontologies: http://www.mkbergman.com/?p=374
    W3C Semantic Web Activity: http://www.w3.org/2001/sw//
    An approach to automatic evaluation of ontologies: http://iospress.metapress.com/content/kxw547102114g533/fulltext.pdf
    Applied Ontology Special Issue:
    http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-rdf-rules/2008Aug/0016.html
    Ontologies Come of Age:
    http://www-ksl.stanford.edu/people/dlm/papers/ontologies-come-of-age-mit-press-(with-citation).htm
    SchemaWeb: http://www.schemaweb.info/
    The Project Ontology
    In order to solicit participation in projects it will be necessary for the project to be represented with as much clarity as possible.
    The question that needs to be answered when developing an ontology for a project is: ‘What is a project?” In answering the question we need to keep in mind that the answer to the question must facilitate the linking and matching process. A few essential elements of a project might be.
    Vision
    Goals
    Long term, mid-term, short term
    Team/Organizational Structure
    Marketing Plan
    Operations Plan
    Financing Plan
    Competitive Analysis
    Key Milestones
    The Organizational Ontology
    Similarly, we will need to take develop an ontology that represents organizations. This will likely be similar to the project ontology except that it will consist of multiple projects. Hence we can view organizations as entities, the object of which is to execute multiple projects.
    RESEARCH
    Competition
    To my knowledge there is currently no platform that simultaneously emphasizes the principles of real time interaction, visibility and openness and self organization. That said there are many existing solutions in the market that offer certain features that are similar to the platform that we are envisioning. The landscape breaks down into the following:
    Online Ecosystems
    Online Donations
    Online Project Management
    Online Community
    Open System Collaboration/Mobilization Platforms/Projects
    The following are a few projects that represent the spirit of what has been discussed thus far. They represent new and innovative ways of utilizing the Internet to allow people to constructively interact in real time across geographic boundaries. Obviously the vision that we are presenting is unique and not represented in any of the projects listed below.
    Organization /ProjectURLDescriptionWikipediahttp://www.wikipedia.comDevelopment of Linux Operating SystemSourceForgehttp://sourceforge.net/Mass collaborative environment for the development of open source software.Habitat Jamhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habitat_Jamhttp://www.un-ngls.org/habitatjam.htmHabitat Jam was a massive online event organized by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the Government of Canada and IBM. It was held on December 1-4 2005 to help solve urgent problems of the world's cities.Habitat Jam was conceived to set the stage for the World Urban Forum 3 conference, which will be held in Vancouver in June 2006. Ideas collected through the Jam will be used to define themes and shape discussion topics for delegates attending the conference. Participation in Habitat Jam was open to public and private-sector organizations and individuals around the world with an interest in urban issues.Innocentivehttp://www.innocentive.comOur Mission is to offer alternative and authoritative resource of free, entertaining, quality Online Literature, and one stop environment for everyone looking not only for good reading experience, but also, for the opportunity to shape that experience by taking active role in its creation.Mass Dialogues on Climate Change – Poznan, Polandhttp://www.2degreesc.com/page.php?id=94Through a series of approximately 30 interactive web conferences, The mass dialogues will enable youth delegates to the Poznan negotiations to connect directly with young people from around the world. As many of you know, a COP experience is an incredible opportunity for learning and inspiration, and for gaining a sense of empowerment and accomplishment. The mass dialogues will be an opportunity to bring extend the learning and inspiration far beyond the small group in Poznan.Open Space Onlinehttp://www.openspace-online.com/Change Facilitator Gabriela Ender and her team from Germany developed the internet real-time methodology OpenSpace-Online®, which especially promotes autonomous, responsible, respectful, and results-oriented collaboration, thereby helping to overcome the limitations of time and space, as well as saving lots of travel costs. The easy to use system helps sponsors to quickly organize OpenSpace-Online® meetings for small and large groups. The virtual-led procedure of this " Do-it-Yourself" real-time meeting method makes it possible for participants to work together WITHOUT " human" online moderators in a highly productive liberated and joyful manner. This worldwide unique methodology is setting new innovation standards for global e-collaboration by enabling unique, holistic and highly participative architectures to link multifaceted ways of face-to-face and on-line activities in business, community, education, health-care, social and governmental settingsSecond Filmhttp://www.the1secondfilm.com/The 1 Second Film is a groundbreaking non-profit collaborative movie project that anyone in the world can be part of. As a global community, we're creating the World's Biggest Shortest Film.Make Literaturehttp://www.makeliterature.comOur Mission is to offer alternative and authoritative resource of free, entertaining, quality Online Literature, and one stop environment for everyone looking not only for good reading experience, but also, for the opportunity to shape that experience by taking active role in its creation.Story Mashhttp://storymash.com/StoryMash, the future of collaborative fiction. A creative writing community for authors, amateur writers, readers and anyone interested in collaborative fiction and collaborative creative writing.World Wide Simutaneous Dancehttp://muse.jhu.edu/journals/leonardo/v034/34.1knott.html#authbioWorld Wide Simultaneous Dance was presented for 11/2 hours beginning at noon Greenwich Mean Time on 7 June 1998. The project consisted of two components: live dance performances happening at the same time in 12 countries around the world and a live Internet video conference that linked participants and allowed audiences to interact with the event. I produced and directed the project and danced in the event, at Do While Studio in Boston [1].
    Books and Articles
    The Power Of Us: Mass collaboration on the Internet is shaking up business
    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_25/b3938601.htm
    Innovation in the Age of Mass Collaboration: The co-authors of the recent bestseller Wikinomics explain how businesses across the board can spur innovation by going Wiki
    http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/feb2007/id20070201_774736.htm
    Mass collaboration could change way companies operate
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/technology/maney/2006-12-26-wikinomics_x.htm
    Five principles for successful mass collaboration, part 2
    http://www.linux.com/feature/130024
    ’Collective intelligence’ tool enters European Parliament 
    http://franc2.mit.edu:8000/ci/show-top?Ii9oZWxwL3F1aWNrc3RhcnQuaHRtbCI*+E-3KWLQQ-205/