The latest iteration, with a call to action: join ChangeCamp and help restore community. The ChangeCamp community seeks to encourage non-partisan public participation enabled by new forms of communication.
By way of introducing myself, I want to share a bit of my story. This story is mine, but I think it mirrors that of many many people. On September 11th, 2001 I was working for an institutional bank. My office was at First Canadian Place on Bay Street, which looks like this. I experienced what I now call my WTF moment. I thought to myself &#x201C;WTF is going on in the world, and WTF is my role in it&#x201D;.
So I went to a place of higher learning, looking for answers. I studied International Relations and International Political Economy at U of T. After doing a qualifying year for a PhD program, I realized that I didn&#x2019;t have a PhD in me. I realized my path was elsewhere. So after a discarded attempt at a PhD, the most natural thing of course was to start a technology company...
I joined with friends in a self-funded tech startup. Our attempt ended after we ran out of runway and had to get day jobs. I had learned a lot from the experience: about venture capital, about technology, about entrepreneurship and about the policy environment for tech startups in Canada. Then two things happened: the first barcamp in Toronto. Barcamp is an unconference for people who have a passion for technology. An unconference is a participatory face-to-face event where the participants create the content of the event. Here were people, finding each other online, coming together face-to-face to build relationships, share knowledge and create content and create new value. BarCamp communities exists in 100s of cities around the world. Here was a signal for me of the future, where technology enables community.
In 2005 I attended the first BarCamp unconference in Toronto. The following year I attended Burning Man in the Nevada desert. These two experiences showed me how people, connected by the web, could come together in physical place to co-create amazing feats of community, culture and value. This networked form of self-organizing community could scale from 60 people gathering on the weekend in an office building to 50,000 people in the Nevada desert.
Eventually, some of my BarCamp friends and I decided to apply what we learned from BarCamp to a public service context. TransitCamp February 2007...
We find ourselves in a world of accelerating change and increasing complexity facing problems that are truly global in scale. We need innovation in our systems of collective action in order to better respond to crises - energy, financial, economic, environmental and social crises - and our existing systems are not keeping up. Our solutions appear increasingly to be Band-Aids.
We are in the midst of a shift in the underpinnings of society. In the 19th and 20th centuries we organized our communities, our institutions, our public services and our economies on the frame of the industrial production line. Today the industrial core of our social structures is in long-term decline. But the systems and institutions we created to support that core are entrenched and deeply embedded.
We are moving towards a networked society. Web technology has led to profound shifts in how we organize production, knowledge, content and public discourse. Today an individual&#x2019;s community can be socially and spatially diversified in a way never before possible. This changes everything.
Clay Shirky talks about how this shift in human technosocial behaviour is profound and unprecedented. Shirky talks about how this massive and accelerating increase in expressive capability is creating entirely new capabilities and potentialities for collective action.
Shirky talks about cognitive surplus, the amount of time we have previously devoted to passively consuming broadcast media which is now being made accessible to more productive uses by the shift to the web. Everyday people can pool their time and resources together in order to accomplish remarkable acts of creative citizenship.
We need a new framework to connect this amazing collective action potential to the needs of our time and to institutions that can scale solutions for the future. We need a framework to connect the hubs and spokes of the network society to the state. What is that framework?
In our cities, our politics, our places of work we observe that we are missing community. We don&#x2019;t know each other. We need the village square but the 20th century took it away from us. We need to restore community and build social capital if we&#x2019;re going to have a resilient society prepared to adapt to accelerating change.
So how do we restore community? We need to reinvent how we gather, how we talk and how we create value and to connect these things we&#x2019;re going to need a new kind of leadership.
Peter Block said that the small group is the unit of transformation. The Open Space method was adapted by the BarCamp unconference movement. Open Space is a very powerful method to gather large groups into small self-organizing units around a central question. It provides people with a context for possibility and a platform for self-expression and creativity.
Social Media is changing how we have conversations. We are no longer restricted to watercooler talk based on traditional media as the sole means of public discourse. The social web provides many new possibilities for citizens to find their voice, declare themselves to the rest of the world and connect with each other around the things they are passionate about.
Another set of ideas are linked together under the broad rubric of Open Innovation. These new capabilities and new norms of sharing are enabled and accelerated by the social web. The web is changing how we can create value outside and between organizations.
These new forms of gathering and conversation and value creation need a new kind of leadership. These are not generals on the battlefield. They are community organizers and stewards who can inspire and model behaviour for others. This is Harvey Milk, a legendary community organizer. In the new world enabled by the social web, leadership is not just for the rare few. In the future we can all be Harvey Milks.
At my first BarCamp in 2005 I had my first experience of genuine community and I was changed. I felt listened to and engaged for the first time in creating a shared and hopeful future with like-minded others. If we can all have that experience, then we can transform communities. We can transform a country.
My name is not Harvey Milk, and I&#x2019;m here to recruit you! Everyone in this room can be part of this movement. You are leaders in your communities of interest, practice, values or geography. You can help others learn about and build the institutions of the network society. You can join us. Thank you.
ChangeCamp: How the Social Web is Restoring Community
How the Social Web is
Where were you when the world changed?
Seeking answers to the big questions...
Life in a Tech Startup
Everything I learned
about the future
I learned at Camp
“Not a complaints department,
a solutions playground”
ChangeCampTO by Numbers
• 140 participants
• 60 face-to-face conversations
• 100 wiki pages of notes
• 450 Flickr photos
• 40 YouTube videos
• 96 blog posts
• thousands of tweets (#1 trending)
• 6 major media stories
Twitter did this...
Open Creative Communities
any group of individuals who interact and share
some common characteristics
(interest, practice, geography, values)
production of ideas and inventions that are
personal, original & meaningful
no artiﬁcial barriers to entry, membership comes
from creative citizenship, both professional and
Crises and Responses
Web 2.0 = Social Web
Information Source Participation Platform
• Static • Dynamic
• Reading • Writing
• Organization centric • Community centric
• E-business / E-services • Peer production
• Central control • Reciprocal control
• One-to-many • Many-to-many
The Web is Rewiring Society
“We are living in the middle of the
largest increase in expressive
capability in the history of the
human race.” - Clay Shirky
Rise of the Citizen Hero
• Millions of people are
• Revealing a collective
• Citizenship and responsibility
Leader of the Social
“We Are the Change We Are Waiting For”
The Web didn’t invent
The question is how
do we restore
“The essential challenge is to transform
the isolation and self-interest within our
communities into connectedness and
caring for the whole.”
“Freedom is the choice to be a creator
of our own experience and accept the
unbearable responsibility that goes
“perhaps the real task of leadership is
to confront people with their freedom.”
We need a new framework
Community is the framework