website

Search Results for "givingspace"

Mar 03 2004

Chaordic, Revisited

Published by under Uncategorized

I visited the Chaordic Commons yesterday in San Raphael. It was interesting to see the evolution of Dee Hock’s ideas from when I met him in 1998 to now. I spent a fair amount with him personally, as well as working with him on the Valeo Initiative for health care reform.

I think Dee had a lot of really good ideas, and presented them with a great deal of personal charisma and conviction. Unfortunately, I don’t think that they had much lasting effect in their current form. Here are some lessons I derive from watching his work:

1. The word “Chaord” may have been too catchy. Everyone resonated with it immediately with a glow of understanding which precluded their deeper understanding of what was behind it (particularly the self-organizing part.) The word just seemed to catch fire as a soundbite and then drift away. As Frederick Turner says in his essay, The Unbearable Lightness of Cyberspace, maybe we need a little more “opacity.” Perhaps a word that required a little more reflection and digging before replicating would have been more sustainable.

2. A key issue to be addressed is the notion of perverse incentives. I think that making organizations more efficient in responding to perverse incentives is likely to result in making the system get worse faster. Talking about improved governance in government agencies, for example, is asking bureaucrats to take action which would likely result in their own decreased salaries or job security. His original example of organization – credit card processing – had very simple and identifiable goals which were self-evident. I think he under estimated the complexity of the health care system.

3. I don’t think that collecting all the stakeholders and asking themselves to figure out who should disintermediate themselves is a viable model for systemic change. Those who are benefiting the most from the perversity of the current system are those who will most powerfully resist any changes. This is what happened with the Valeo Initiative, after which the organization just petered out.

4. I think that there could be a lot of mileage to be derived by rethinking Dee’s ideas in light of our emerging understanding of networks, social networks, the emergence of the web, scale-free networks, self-organizing criticality, and percolation networks.

5. As a student of visionaries, I am interested in how far-sighted individuals succeed or fail in getting their ideas across. One of the patterns I see is the degree to which the visionariers are able to dissociate their own identity from the ideas they are promoting. Sir Tim Berners-Lee did not name it “Tim’s Web” – but rather gave it away to be “the World Wide Web.” However, “Ted Nelson’s Xandu” and “Doug Engelbart’s Augment” and “Dee Hock’s Chaordic thinking” got tangled up in the charisma of the visionary. The really successful visions, I think, embed the charisma in the vision, not the visionary. “Success has many parents, but failures are an orphan.”

I admire Dee Hock’s creativity, determination and vision, and I hope to see his ideas fuel a new generation of thinking…

Share

No responses yet

Nov 30 2003

Uplift Hotline Ideas: 211 Initiative

Published by under Uncategorized

I just discovered what appears to be a very good idea: create a nation-wide dial in number – 211 - which connects people to local services.

Their Standards for Professional Information and referral is a good read, describing (I think) a decentralized member-owned organization not too far removed from the Visa International model made famous by Dee Hock and his Chaordic Thinking.

This is a very interesting model whose propagation would be of great value. As usual, however, I have some “out of the box” suggestions:

  • Does this have to be domestic only? Can we globalize this, allowing anyone, anywhere, to dial 211 to connect? Particularly with GSM phone systems abroad, I suspect that there is a lot of potential (and activity already brewing.
  • Can we expand the hotline to include direct access to volunteer communities? Connect them with Volunteer Match or Idealist, or many others?
  • Rather than only a fixed taxonomy, what about incorporating an adaptive, learn-as-we-go Uplift Pattern Language, which would provide us feedback about what patterns of uplift work in which contexts? These patterns and our knowledge about them could be woven into a (mock up of) an Uplift Tapestry, showing which patterns of uplift are successful.
  • What about “uplift hotline” types of communications, such as been deployed so successfully with Hello Peace : “If you’re in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza, you can pick up the phone and talk to someone on the other side about reconciliation, tolerance, and peace. Call *6345″ Seems like something worthy of scaling up to more communities, as well as connecting world-wide.
  • What about using a reputation system to help determine trustworthiness of referals? eBay does this quite well. It would seem that the 211 system could generate enough interaction to bootstrap a self-organizing feedback system.
  • A Major fly in this ointment is the fact that they are forcing a closed, proprietary taxonomy on the system. Taxonomy of Human Services: A Conceptual Framework With Standardized Terminology and Definitions: “Subscriptions are priced as follows: for nonprofit and government organizations that are AIRS members, $150 for the first year and $100 per year thereafter. Non-AIRS member fees are $200 for the first year and $150 per year thereafter. For-profit organization fees are: $450 for AIRS members for the first year and $400 thereafter; and $600 for non-AIRS members and $550 thereafter. I&R Sofware vendors may purchase a subscription at nonprofit/government rates.”

    We’ve been through this loop in other industries before, Domain Names (ICANN/Network Solutions), Medical Nomenclatures (your disease names are proprietary, by the way), and even building codes. (I can’t get a copy of my local building code from my city, because they are owned by some company in Colorado… yet I am legally bound to them.)

    Their closed, proprietary taxonomy with legal “lock in” (they are seeking federal money to support this) is NOT the way in today’s world of information.

    Continue Reading »

  • Share

    No responses yet

    Nov 29 2003

    Notes from Larry Harvey/Burning Man

    Published by under Uncategorized

    Here are some notes I took during Larry Harvey’s description of BurningMan and the gift economy at my March 2003 workshop…

    “Self-expressive art was its own reward” the power of raising the effigy- “I” comes as individual, “we” raise it, and then “it” becomes the focus…

    the context of the group was that it had no context… the value of greeters to introduce newbies to the community.

    Suggested reading Louis Hyde’s book, “The Gift” — the erotic life of property and its unruly fecundity. ”

    Larry gives an Aha! to Louis – example of Aha! metric…

    “as gifts move through society, decentralized cohesiveness emerges in their wake”

    “the true value of a gift is in its passage.”

    at some point, gifts consume us, oversoul reaches a critical mass

    community starts with survival, moves up from there

    uplift metaphor: transcendance is like a chimney, the hotter the flame, the stronger it becomes.

    value of BurningMan is in the sense of working and doing

    story-telling is an social/community process, not just a transcript

    Share

    No responses yet

    Sep 12 2003

    September 12 web site hits #25 on Popdex after 2 days

    Published by under Uncategorized

    Listed just below Doonesbury, ?The Guide to the Patriot Act, part 1? and ‘I became the profane pervert Arab blogger,’ the September 12 web site hit #25 on the Popdex popularity index this evening, two days after it was announced. Given that there are over 900,000 blogs out there, this is quite a respectable showing. We had inputs from Spain, Lithuania, Portugese, and Kazakhstan within hours after announcing the site.

    We have lots of new stuff on the wiki as well as messages from Sci Fi writer/Optimist David Brin and ?Pay It Forward? author Catherine Ryan Hyde (www.september12.org/uplift)

    Many thanks to Jerry Michalski, Antonio Rodriguez, Jane LaPointe, Heather Wood Ion, and other GivingSpace folks for helping to pull this together.

    Maybe there is something to this notion of scale free networks after all…

    Share

    No responses yet

    Apr 18 2003

    BabyInRoom Pattern illustrates Postive Core Values

    Published by under Uncategorized

    Imagine a mother bringing her newborn baby into a room. People cluster around, and expressions of joy, love, happiness, jubilation, peace, wonder, and hopeabound. This scene could happen in any country, with people from any political, religious, or cultural background. The feelings aroused by a baby in a room reflect the positive core values of humanity which exist in all of us.

    Gary Gunderson has pointed out to me that over the past few centuries, the positive side of human nature has somehow become usurped by religious dogma. Our language for the positive has been inhibited by this, while the language for the cynical and negative has thrived. Trying to reclaim the language of the positive without becoming enmeshed in the language of a specific church is quite a challenge.

    Naming a pattern BabyInRoom is one way of evoking and discussing these positive feelings. Those of any particular faith can still interpret this pattern in their language, but at the same time, those of other faiths, or none at all, can still communicate with each other and have some shared meaning across the various barriers keeping people apart.

    Another pattern might be JubilationOfTheCommons. This is a flip on the Tragedy of the Commons, the typically depressing economist’s view of what happen when the selfish, greedy “homo economicus” approaches a common free resource. A little reflection, however, will discover that most of the most humanity’s progress has come from our ability to band together and work together as a group. The commons should be something to be celebrated, rather than viewed as a looter’s paradise.

    Continue Reading »

    Share

    No responses yet

    Apr 15 2003

    Imagine Iraq Initiative

    Published by under Uncategorized

    I had a wonderful dinner with Mac Odell, Jane LePointe, and Jean LeVaux in Amherst, Ma. last Sunday nite. I wanted to tap Mac’s ideas about how to move forward with the Uplift Academy idea. We spoke of the lessons learned from the Imagine Nepal program, an offshoot of many of the ideas explored in the Imagine Chicago project by Bliss Browne. Jane was also working on an Imagine Boston project, and there were other groups forming around the world, focusing on the use of appreciative inquiry to connect people and communities around the positive.

    Continue Reading »

    Share

    No responses yet

    Apr 15 2003

    Meeting Mac Odell

    Published by under Uncategorized

    I had the pleasure of spending a day with Mac Odell recently. Mac is one of the most cheerful and optimisitic people one could ever hope to meet. Waitresses, hotel clerks, toll booth attendants, and colleagues were all left smiling after meeting him. This is not an affectation, he simply loves the universe and lets it show. I met him at a Fetzer Institute meeting for the Valeo Inititative, a Dee Hock-inspired chaordic approach to health care reform. We were paired with each other in one of my first Appreciative Inquiry group sessions.

    Continue Reading »

    Share

    No responses yet

    Mar 12 2003

    Comments on Dee Hock’s Letter

    Published by under Uncategorized

    Joi Ito recently published a message from Dee Hock about “Chaordic” thinking.  
    I had the pleasure of working with Dee in the early days of his health care reform efforts, with a now-defunct group called the Vvaleo InitiativeHere are some whimsical notes and photos from the 1999 Vvaleo meeting. This was my introduction to the work of David Cooperrider and Appreciative Inquiry, which had a more lasting influence on my thinking.
    Some background: I have been involved in health care information systems for 30 years.  I was one of the original designers of both the VA and the DoD hospital information systems.  About 10 years ago, however, I came to the conclusion that there were so many perverse incentives in our health care system that anything I did with computers to make it more efficient would only make it get worse faster. This lead to a bout of introspection, and my simultaneous discovery of the Santa Fe Institute and Tim Berners-Lee as he was just beginning the rapid growth of the web.
    Dee has many good ideas and a fresh perspective, and I enjoy talking with him, but I am afraid that I was one of those who he called the “Internet Afficiandos” he mentioned in his letter:
    “I have been arguing for a decade that the Internet was fatally
    flawed…I gave up arguing such things with Internet aficionados several
    years ago, for the vast majority were so intoxicated by their new toys that
    they defended its emergence and lack of governance with zealotry bordering
    on religious. Do you think many have sobered up enough to raise their heads
    from computer screens and enlarge their perspective?”

    Calling the Internet “fatally flawed” seems a little harsh. It strikes me that it is one of the defining transformations of the twentieth century. Dee and I clashed on this topic in our health care reform issues. I thought that we needed to start with a concept of an information “space” within which healthy things and organizations would thrive. He wanted to start with governance; the Internet to him was a passing fantasy. The group once produced a two page paper which used the word “governance” seven times, including an annotation that it was not trying to “overgovern.” He wanted to gather stakeholders and do his chaordic thing with them.
    The Vvaleo summit meeting in Cleveland was an example of this approach. nbsp;About 200 folks were there, representing a wide range of stakeholders.  I soon realized that these were the very people we needed to disintermediate.  Asking them to “streamline” themselves and jumping off the gravy train was not going to happen.  Of course, we need new forms of governance as we scale things up, but as our industries are driven by perverse incentives – their metrics collide with their goals – we are only trying to get out of a hole by digging it deeper.
    Tim Berners-Lee started with an entirely different attitude. From his book, “Weaving the Web,”
    What was often difficult for people to understand about the
    design of the web was that there was nothing else beyond URLs, HTTP, and
    HTML.  There was no central computer ?controlling? the web, no single
    network on which these protocols worked, not even an organization anywhere
    that ?ran? the Web. The web was not a physical ?thing? that existed
    in a certain ?place.? It was a ?space? in which information could exist.”

    This idea has lead to billions of pages of information being posted worldwide, and entirely new ways of finding things, buying things, finding people.  It is the simplicity of these initial conditions, not elaborate forms of governance, which made the web the globally transforming technology that it is.  Had Tim gone to world leaders to ask permission to create a world wide web, or to blue ribbon experts to “organize” the web, or to database adminstrators to “normalize” information on the web, it would have never happened.
    Dee has written a book and lectured tirelessly. But after a decade, he has yet to create a successful “chaordic” organization.
    The Commons pours out torrents of words, but where are the actions? Perhaps he should stop throwing rocks at the Internet, come down off his (lonely) pedestal, and use the Internet to his advantage.
    Yes, from his perspective, the Internet is “fatally flawed.” The Internet will never be Dee-centralized. I continue to be an Internet afficiandos, and will continue looking for those simple initial conditions which can trigger beneficial effects for humanity.

    Share

    No responses yet

    Feb 25 2003

    Open Source and Gift Economies

    Published by under Uncategorized

    Business Week Online, Linux Uprising tells of the amazing story of how an open source software effort has changed the computer industry. A Microsoft executive in his retirement letter warns “Microsoft is in danger of being swept away by open source.” How can this happen? What is the energy driving this revolution?

    My friend Mark Watson (I took that picture of him and his wife at the Taj Majal) effused on his blog,

    “Why is the Internet so COOL? One reason is that people help each other. I try to spend about 30 minutes a week answering peoples questions on my favorite Usenet news groups. Today someone helped me! I needed to do an SQL query against a database that I just created with information on board of directors for a sampling of US companies. I am a little rusty on my SQL and was having problems. So, I posted to comp.databases a question and within a few minutes Bob Badour (who I do not know) was kind enough to help me out.”

    Mark is not a newbie to the Internet. He has been publishing software since the Apple II in the late 1970′s, and written 13 technical books.

    But something has changed. We are seeing the emergence of a gift economy, and we have reached a global critical mass within which an entirely new way of thinking is emerging. Two weeks ago, John Graham suggested the notion of using the Aha! as a reputation mechanism. A week ago, I posted a note on Zope.org describing our effort. And yesterday I got a message from Zope Guru Kapil Thangavelu offering to help out with the project. It turns out he has an open source package for rating which looks like it might be a foundation for doing the Aha! rating. This is an amazing sequence of events, and driven by people working out of a sense of generosity, collaboration, and cooperation. These energies are autocatalytic. The more we see them evidenced, the more incentive there will be for others to act the same way.

    Can we channel this kind of energy and connectivity in other ways? Can people work together for humanitarian development, education, health, environmental issues, peace, and many other pressing problems of our times? Can we apply this energy in autocatalytic ways in which everyone is uplifted, and in so doing, uplifts everyone else?

    I think so. Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, thinks so, too. In Business Week Online he said:

    “That’s when it hit me: You know what, people really get a good feeling themselves when they can give praise to people who deserve. That is more powerful than the need to complain about somebody. It was a wonderful revelation.”

    All we need to do is give people the chance to connect at their positive core values. We’ve shown that it works in open source software, now we need to make it work in a cascade of uplift for humanity as a whole.

    Stay tuned…

    Share

    No responses yet

    Feb 20 2003

    Aha! Complementary Currency/reputation tool

    Published by under Uncategorized

    John Graham came up with a neat idea in our GivingSpace conference call this morning for rating objects called the Aha!. Similar in some ways to Friendly Favor’s ThankYou complementary currency, the Aha! would be given by someone who wishes to recognize a person, idea, or other object that has given them an Aha! experience. Objects which collect a lot of Aha!s would bubble up to the top of various listings, allowing future people to find the sites which have been most enlightening to other people.

    This could be used in many different contexts, such as allowing Appreciative Inquiry groups to rate the questions they use for their inquiries. A database of questions could be established, and their effectiveness could be rated as people explored the question and its effect. As questions evolved over time, people could see how an original question got started, and then was changed to meet different contexts… part of an evolutionary attribution thinking of Douglas Engelbart

    Continue Reading »

    Share

    No responses yet

    « Prev - Next »

    Creative Commons License
    Images by Tom Munnecke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
    Based on a work at munnecke.com.
    Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at munnecke.com/license.