Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Technologies as tools for engagement


Published on

Here are my slides (slightly modified) from my presentation at the National Outreach Scholarship Conference at Michigan State University on October 3, 2011.

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

Technologies as tools for engagement

  1. 1. Technologies as Tools forEngagementSome thoughts on civic intelligence andengagementDouglas Schuler, douglas@publicsphereproject.orgThe Evergreen State CollegeThe Public Sphere Project
  2. 2. • Liberal arts college founded in 1969; focus on teaching, mostly under-graduate• Integrates theory and practice• Team-taught, interdisciplinary• One of the 41 U.S. “Colleges that Change Lives”• Narrative evaluations (no grades); Planning units (no departments); Student determines learning (no required courses)• The Sierra Club 2010 top 20 “Cool Schools” rated Evergreen for their efforts to stop global warming and to operate sustainability• Gateways program for incarcerated youth, MPA in Tribal Administration, Sustainable prisons project, Center for Community Based Learning and Action, etc.
  3. 3. • Help create and support equitable and effective public spheres all over the world.• Home of Liberating Voices patterns (http:// publicsphereproject/patterns)• Activist Mirror Facebook game (http://• e-Liberate, for distributed online meetings using Roberts Rules of Order
  4. 4. Researchers ask questions.....(In my opinion) the most timely,interesting, challenging, andimportant question we could beasking ourselves right now is thefollowing:
  5. 5. Will we be smart enough,soon enough?
  6. 6. That question captures... • The fact that success shouldn’t be taken for granted; • that we are all in this together; • that intelligence is necessary; and • that the situation is urgent.
  7. 7. What is Civic Intelligence?
  8. 8. What is Civic Intelligence?Informally, civic intelligence refers to how smartsociety is as-a-whole in relation to its problems.
  9. 9. What is Civic Intelligence?Informally, civic intelligence refers to how smartsociety is as-a-whole in relation to its problems.Civic intelligence is a form of collective intelligence that focuses on shared problems.
  10. 10. What is Civic Intelligence?Informally, civic intelligence refers to how smartsociety is as-a-whole in relation to its problems.Civic intelligence is a form of collective intelligence that focuses on shared problems.Although we know that civic intelligence exists, it’s not explicitly acknowledged and hence notsomething that we can readily examine or improve.
  11. 11. Problems seem to be growing faster than solutions.
  12. 12. A few more shortcomingsof our civic intelligence
  13. 13. Civic Intelligence efficiently and creatively employs: Civic means towards civic endsCivic Intelligence integrates: Thinking and Action
  14. 14. Different Names for Similar Concepts Social Inquiry (John Dewey) Community Inquiry (Ann Bishop & Bertram Bruce) Social Learning (many authors) Civic Community (Jane Addams) Civic Capacity (Harry Boyte, Xavier Briggs) Public Work Politics (Center for Democracy & Citizenship) Civic Innovation (Carmen Sirianni & Lew Friedman) Open Source Intelligence (Robert Steele) World Brain (H.G. Wells) Civilizational Competence (Piotr Sztompka)
  15. 15. From the Bookshelf... Some pieces of the puzzleDemocracy as Problem Solving How People Learn Activists Beyond Borders Learning to Manage Global Environmental Risks Environmental Regime Effectiveness
  16. 16. Adopting a Civic IntelligenceOrientation Means....• Integrating diverse disciplines• Identifying and understanding current examples — and counter-examples — and encouraging new ones
  17. 17. How Do We Recognize Civic Intelligence? At a minimum an action or project that demonstrates civic intelligence contains several necessary features:• The organization and its products and projects have civic orientations and work in civic ways• The organization and its products and projects mobilizes around shared challenges• The organization learns over time• The organization does things effectively and in novel ways when appropriate• The organization thinks and acts• The organization performs metacognition; i.e. it thinks about its thinking• The organization and its products and projects promote this orientation in itself and others
  18. 18. Generic Civic Intelligence Examples• Transforming schools and other institutions devoted to public problem solving — or, even, starting new ones• Developing policy that improves civic intelligence• Organizing workshops or conferences where people develop skills or learn new knowledge• Developing software that improves civic engagement (e.g. collaboration, information sharing, deliberation)• Developing new incentives and making resources (such as information) available for people who are doing this work• Increasing public consciousness about public problems• Developing new ways to think about public problems or to address new challenges• Hosting public demonstrations or otherwise making public statements• Using collaborative and other participatory techniques to create actionable knowledge
  19. 19. Assertion 1. The entire academic community — not just thecomputer science department — should prioritize the developmentof online applications and other resources. It must also become amajor player in developing policies regarding the Internet. • History of media suggests that colonization of the Internet is not impossible. • The speed of technological change is very fast and the speed of scholarly and other less selfishly motivated approaches are lagging behind. • It’s not enough to study information and communication technologies — or, even, to use them. • The opportunities are gigantic and the window is still somewhat open. • Facebook and Twitter don’t exhaust the range of options.
  20. 20. Assertion 2. Engaged scholarship, community — academy partnerships,etc. must compete for the future • strong research • interesting & compelling projects (sustaining — not just proof-of- concepts) • assertiveness • develop new networks & transform existing onesWe need to ensure our work is seen as vital, challenging, creative,legitimate, and cool.
  21. 21. Civic Intelligence Four Perspectives Civic intelligence as Social Science Lets study it! Civic intelligence as Policy Lets support it! Civic intelligence as Organizational Self-Reflection Lets use it! Civic intelligence as Social MovementEach perspective related to the general concept (and to each other) buteach has different Goals, Activities, Strategies, Norms, Social Actors,Resources, and Slogans.
  22. 22. ExampleThe Liberating Voices project which I coordinated is oneattempt at trying to cultivate civic intelligence.I’ve included cards of several “patterns” that we’vedeveloped that are particularly relevant to thisaudience.
  23. 23. Civic Intelligence (1) Opportunity Spaces (33)Our physical, social and knowledge worlds are changing rapidly.Intelligence, more than anything else, describes the capacity to influenceand to adapt to a changing environment. Civic Intelligence describes howwell groups of people address civic ends through civic means. Civicintelligence raises the critical question: Is society smart enough to meetthe challenges it faces? Opportunities help determine the possible paths to the future that are available to people. Hence the opportunities that society offers are ofOrganizations with civic missions have the responsibility to keep their critical importance. An Opportunity Space presents possible steps thatprinciples intact while interacting effectively with other organizations, both people might take as they plan for, and move into, the future.aligned with and opposed to, their own beliefs and objectives. Civicintelligence requires learning and teaching. It also requires meta- Opportunities can include classes and seminars, volunteer positions,cognition; analyzing patterns of thinking in order to improve them. jobs, contests, access to the media, timely announcements, mentoring, scholarships, grants and others.Effective and principled civic intelligence is necessary to help humankinddeal collectively with its collective challenges. People need to develop A number of questions came up in our exploration of opportunitytheories, models and tools of civic intelligence that can help integrate spaces. What opportunities exist? Do they exist for all citizens or justthought and action more effectively. And, of course, this work is anexpression of civic intelligence. privileged ones? How are these opportunities developed? Do people know about them? How are they publicized? It is important to devoteText: Douglas Schuler; Image: Stewart Dutfield attention and resources (including policy, services, media and technological systems) to help create new (and improve existing) "opportunity spaces" for people and communities who need them. Text & image: Douglas Schuler
  24. 24. Citizen Science (37)Participatory Design (36)Many artifacts that we use are ill designed and do not appropriatelyaddress the needs of the people for whom they are designed andproduced. The problems include the inconvenient and the dangerous.And in the design of policy or any systems that facilitate groupinteraction, developers can create systems that embed users in a The role of science in the modern world will become increasinglysystem like cogs in a machine in situations where a more human- critical in the years ahead, as health care, energy, resources and thecentered approach that encouraged our humanity could also be global environment become ever more problematic. Science candeveloped. John Dewey has written that "The very fact of exclusion appear to serve powerful institutions, such as stock markets and thefrom participation is a subtle form of suppression." This can be avoided weapons industry, more that it serves the people most affected byif the users of any designed system (software, information and these problems. Meanwhile, the resources of societys professionalcommunication systems, administrative services and processes, art, city scientists are overtaxed by the amount of data to be collected and theplans, architecture, education, governance, and others) are brought into need to distribute expertise over a wide area. Science needs greaterits design process in an open, authentic, and uncoerced fashion. participation from people at large, and people need a greater voice inParticipatory Design is the philosophical and practical approach to science. We need to develop new approaches to collaborationdesign in which people who will use the designed result and those who between science and communities. Citizens, policymakers andwill be affected by it should be included in the process of creating it. professional scientists all benefit by bringing both scientific knowledge and local knowledge to bear on the problems that they experience.Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishing, Inc. Text & Image: Stewart Dutfield
  25. 25. World Citizen Parliament (40) Techno-Criticism (39)The United Nations is an assembly for the governments of the worldsnations. Business, likewise, has an incredible assortment of institutionssuch as the Chamber of Commerce and events such as the World Because technology and technological systems can play out in so manyEconomics Forum that cultivate and propagate its prerogatives. Civil ways, the motivation and practice of Techno-Criticism can be complicated.society is obligated to create institutions that are strong enough to An unquestioning reliance on technology can result in a technocraticchallenge other organizations — governments, businesses, criminal culture where people come to expect technological solutions. Technologygroups, extremists — and not strictly on their terms. Richard Falk and can put major decisions in the hands of the technologists, degrade publicAndrew Strauss proposed the possibility of a "Global Parliament" that discussion, and divert attention, discussion, and funds. Technology ofteninspired this pattern. alters power relations between people, generally amplifying the power for some and not for others. The development of new military technologyHow do we about developing this assembly? Launch a non-centralized, through history dramatically illustrates this phenomenon. The distributionheterogeneous, loosely-linked network of people, online and offline of computers in society is yet another example. Generally, rich peopleresources, institutions, deliberative and other collaborative settings. have them and poor people dont. If computers enable people to be moreDevelop articles, scholarly papers, opinion papers, manifestos, research productive (as computer related companies assert) then economicfindings, and anything else that is relevant to this effort. Develop concepts, benefits would obviously accrue to those that have them. People need todesign principles, and experiments that lay the groundwork. The new understand or at least anticipate to some degree not only the effects ofdeliberative bodies that we develop over the next few years are likely to specific technological artifacts (RFID in running shoes, for example) butbe advisory at the onset but hopefully will lay the groundwork for more the broader socio-technological systems that they support or destabilize.integrated and influential involvement as time goes on. Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: Big Glass, Marcel Duchamp, Wikimedia CommonsText: Douglas Schuler; Image: James Love
  26. 26. Open Action and Meaningful Maps (47)Research Network (45)As problems become more numerous and intractable, more and morepeople and groups of diverse people are working together to addressthem. While diversity is a necessity and can potentially be a source ofstrength, it introduces vexing problems that are likely to grow worse overtime if we dont learn how to manage them effectively. Each person andorganization working on the problem has a unique orientation that is People are often unaware of the state of the world around them,important to the overall effort but can conflict with others. These conflict especially when the relationships are "invisible", second-order, orcan take many forms including reward structures; goals, tactics, and abstract. Many of the important issues for the community, thestrategies; areas of interests; obligations and allegiances; values and environment and for humanity are difficult to see.norms, status, legitimacy, and power. Potential conflicts also includepractical issues such as time-management and work habits, as well asultimately, the very language that the community uses to discuss the To improve the world, we must understand the current situation,issues. We must acknowledge the importance of networks that highlight the important factors, and help others to understand theincorporate both action and research and are open to the admission of issues. Meaningful Maps can provide a focus for relevant informationnew members. At the same time we must work consciously to identify the and present it in a way that it easy to understand. Groups need to targetinherent dilemmas of the situation as well as the emerging wisdom that isto be learned from the practice. We must then take note of the avenues their resources carefully to achieve the maximum impact. They alsothat are likely to yield important and useful insights about working want to communicate their concerns and encourage others to supporttogether as we move forward. their work. To be effective the maps often need to reveal hidden relationships.Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: Simon Kneebone Text: Andy Dearden & Scot Fletcher; Image: Green Maps, New York
  27. 27. Online Deliberation (52) Voices of the Unheard (83)People working together to conduct business as a group are oftenplagued by the clash of personalities and shifting rivalries within the Despite the significant effort and thought that goes into decision makinggroup. Also, without structure, a discussion can become random and and design, bad decisions and designs are frequently conceived andrambling. And it can be dominated by powerful individuals. Otherfactors, such as distance to the meeting, inconvenient scheduling, or implemented primarily because a critical and relevant perspective wascosts of getting to the meeting can obstruct effective and inclusive not brought to bear. This is especially true if the missing perspectiveparticipation. To overcome the unpredictability of informal human represents that of someone who holds a stake in the outcome. As ainteraction, systematic rules have been created to facilitate variant of this, a prototype creativity tool has been created. The idea ispurposeful group meetings and encourage collective decisions. Its to have a "board of directors" consisting of famous people. When youtime to develop Online Deliberation applications that provideorganizations with the technology they need to conduct effective have a problem to solve, you are supposed to be reminded of, and thinkdeliberative meetings when members cant easily get together in- about, how various people would approach this problem. Ask yourself,person. Ideally the tools would increase their effectiveness while "What would Einstein have said?" "How would Gandhi haverequiring less time and money to conduct the meetings. approached this problem?" Provide ways to remind people of stakeholders who are not present. These methods could be procedural (certain Native Americans always ask, "Who speaks for Wolf"), visual (e.g., diagrams, lists) or auditory (e.g., songs).Text: Matt Powell & Douglas Schuler; Image: Fiorella De Cindio Text & Image: John Thomas
  28. 28. Future Design (88) Informal Learning Groups (98) Overemphasis on formal education can overshadow alternative learning methods that could be more appropriate. Particularly for adults looking toBy acting as though the future will never arrive and things never change, increase their understanding on relevant subjects, pursuing formal trainingwe are subconsciously creating the future with the seeds that we are is often not plausible due to the investment in time and money. As a result,sowing today. Whether by actively embracing the conventional "wisdom" people find it difficult to acquire the skills necessary for them to address athat has created these socially and environmentally precarious times or radically changing global economy. In spite of that, learning can and doesby succumbing to the dictates of habit, instinct or necessity, humankind take place in a multitude of settings. Informal learning groups can provideseems to sleepwalking into the future. Indeed it is quite plausible that we an alternative avenue for supporting life-long learning spurring individualare creating the ideal conditions today for unspeakable disasters curiosities, and acquiring new skills.tomorrow. The purpose of this pattern is to get people actively engagedenvisioning better futures and making plans on how to get there. Community leaders, self-help groups, development agencies and localThrough "rehearsing for the future" we hope to create a wealth of employers can all help launch informal learning groups and encourage apossible scenarios that could become the positive "self-fulfilling culture of participatory learning to meet community needs. This can beprophecies" of tomorrow, rather than the self-defeating scenarios that done through community meetings, or interactions during tea/coffeeseem to rule today. breaks. These opportunities can be pursued and developed at the local internet cafe or even during time that is set aside by employers who realize the benefits of supporting a more educated and curious workforce.Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: Steve Hartson Text & Image: Justin Smith
  29. 29. Power of Story (114) Power Research (128)The truth about stories is that!s all we are. — Thomas King Powerful people and organizations tend to abuse their power. WithoutStorytelling, an ancient art, needs to be rediscovered and updated. understanding who has power, how the power is wielded, and how thatStories help humankind to understand, reinterpret, and reframe the power can be kept within legitimate boundaries, people with less powermeanings that undergird their existence. Can we use new can be ignored, swindled, lied to, led into war, or otherwise mistreated.communications technologies to weave together words and images,scientific information and poetic inspiration, and incorporate multiple Research power — what it is, how is it organized and applied, and whovoices (including the larger community of plants, animals, birds, and has it. Although it is important to make the findings freely available, it is atelemental forces) to tell multi-faceted stories of our earth communities? least as important to disseminate the ideas and techniques that helpCan stories help us to weave together the communications and global people initiate their own power research projects. This pattern particularlychallenges that face us as we learn to live co-creatively with each otherand the natural world? applies to government and corporations but other people, institutions, and groups (such as hate groups, militias or organized crime families) need to be thoroughly investigated as well.Text: Rebecca Chamberlain; Image: Public Domain Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: ActionAid
  30. 30. Community Inquiry (122) Retreat and Reflection (136) In "developed" countries the non-stop barrage of mass media promoting a corporately-branded "message" is never far away. How can people even "hear themselves think" under such conditions? How will smaller groups develop deep research or action plans and how will society practice the Communities face a wide variety of challenges in areas of health, "due deliberation" that is necessary for democratic work and progress? education, economic development, sustainable environments, and Without relief from the insidious assault, how will people learn to social order. But regardless of the difficulty of these challenges, a appreciate what has value in life? How can they develop a self-identify necessary condition for addressing them is for communities to find that is truly theirs? The function of these patterns is to acknowledge and ways for members to work together. Too often, community celebrate seeds of life that can be used to generate more life in the face of members work at cross purposes and fail to develop what Jane violence and corruption. Remaining pure or removed, aloof from the Addams called “the capacity for affectionate interpretation." sordidness of the world that has developed over the centuries, is not an Community Inquiry is what Addams and Dewey called their theory option. Nor is it necessarily more admirable than retreating into the vast and practice for reshaping communities and, thus, society at large. media wastelands, work, mysticism, sports, or drugs. Engagement and Community Inquiry provides a theoretical and action framework for retreat together form an eternal cycle that we ignore at our own peril. people to come together to develop shared capacity and work on People need to set up times to think, to step back and to recharge their common problems in an experimental and critical manner. batteries. After this respite, one is more likely to be happy, committed, and ready to re-engage once again. Retreat and reflection are necessary counterparts to engagement and both are necessary in the "fierce struggle to create a better world. Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor Wikimedia Commons Text: Ann Bishop & Chip Bruce; Image: Emily Barney
  31. 31. Reiteration...• Civic intelligence helps describe what we do• Two exhortations: (1) get / stay involved with technology design and implementation — even if it’s not your style; (2) pump up the volume.• Our Liberating Voices project could be usefulDo what you’re already doing — Just more!