Sunday, December 07, 2008

Conceptual Models of Collaboration

Researching Web 2.0 concepts and ways of collaborating; some interesting links, hopefully I will get to refine this post.

How People Harness Their Collective Wisdom And Power to Construct the Future

Excellent treatise addressing the problems of interpersonal communication, group collaboration, and the limits of "participative democracy." Most interestingly, the author presents a language-based system (the Structured Design Process, or SDP) for resolving complex problems as a group.

In leading technical teams for various enterprises over the years, I've often thought that one of the single largest barriers was the lack of a set of clear conceptual models: so many issues are caused simply by the fact that people are on different pages. It's why we have the fields of law and mathematics (among others of course), each of which works to express concepts in a concise, well-understood formulation (the "language" of the field).

A few excerpts:

"As human evolution is experiencing the complex challenges of the Information Age, humanity cannot take responsibility for guiding its evolution without the capacity to surface the will and wisdom of the people by engaging them in meaningful dialogue in the context of the emerging Agoras (meeting spaces) of the 21st century Global Village."

"Participative dialogue is the essence of democratic design. Its origin in the Agora of Athens is the iconic forerunner of the Structured Design Process (SDP). SDP is a designing process that updates participative democracy so that it can function in the agoras of the Information Age.

"Governments, corporations, and other groups have failed to master the participative democracy and interdisciplinary dialogue that they espouse. This failure trumpets the need for an effective structured dialogue process that will enable stakeholders to design their futures. The largely unstructured dialogue in the Greek agoras was a wonder for its time, but it had great weaknesses. When we try to guide our Information Age organizations with the same unstructured dialogue, those weaknesses increase exponentially."

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