Category: methodology

experiential iterations and social niches

The word ‘iteration’ has been used to describe the different attempts to put the financial protocols into practice, the fourth of which is the happening-hangout. Let’s reformulate this language.

iterative experiences relative to self

I, David Pinto, have been using the term iteration in relation to my own personal experience. After the first attempt, the birthing of the economic entity in 2012, the team wanted to continue with regular meetings at the Hub. I did not see much future in these, but attended a few. I am not into community building just for the sake of community building. I see this as one of the errors of how we self-organise; before you know it, we are supporting the continuance of social entities that have long-ago surpassed their use-by-date. Most of our social institutions, and indeed cities, suffer from this.

From birthing, I went ahead alone by approaching advertising agencies, and when personal issues intervened later in the year, I delimited my efforts to writing a book, which I have termed the third iteration. As you can tell, this is a personally relative sequence. However, what becomes clear is that different scales of social niche emerge, and it is these that may constitute our collective self-organised strategy.

social niches

The following modes of social experience, or social niches, may help map out the self-organised strategy involved:

  • information: this website, blog, explanatory videos and prezi’s, the book
  • synchronous pairing: tango, textango, MTTP, gems
  • dynamic network alignment: action-cycle, happening-hangouts, SEA

There is a tendency for all initial business engagements to collapse back into an information-exchange. As we know, MTTP departs from the notion of exchange at source and is primarily based on setting up a scalable, synchronous, social experience: money-flow and co-creation first, then evaluation, information etc based on shared experience. MTTP is a financial protocol which embodies the new methodology.

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The new methodology is based on social risk, on play, on not-knowing, on trust. By aligning to a future goal, even if it is as short as an hour or a week, we have something concrete to talk about: to iterate experientially, socially. Otherwise, we fall back into the attractor of what we know, what we can reason, what we think is possible, and so our current system of social paralysis continues.

alone, paired, and collectively

We will go into some detail regarding these three in subsequent posts, suffice to delineate the various scaled ‘projections’ in our ecological economy, as they map to the ‘social niches’ described above, from individual, paired, to small teams:

  • writing fictional narratives (to embody ecosquared financial protocols and their underlying methodology based on giving)
  • engaging the front-line of business (gifting companies, advertising or otherwise, with ‘gems’)
  • opportunistic and receptive meetings (the ‘water-cooler’ effect expanded into all social spheres, to realise social serendipity)
  • birthing the ecosquared entity (attracting a seed fund of around £10k per person in order to play at the ‘organisational’ level)
  • hosting happening-hangouts (monetising social media by actuating the latent potential in our networked relationships)
  • conducting action-cycles (to increase permeability across businesses, government, educational boundaries)

 

fourth iteration — a viable hangout

Coming to the end of the book, and I am fairly certain it is not going to be a big page-turner. I have started to pull together ideas for generating a hangout game show which crosses crowd-sourcing with social impact. Like a social version of kickstarter.

the niche

Currently, someone comes up with an idea or a prototype and they find partners, form a company, seek funding from start-up capital or angel investors or crowd-funding. This fits the competitive model of development.

Many people who are into world change use various online services to gather and share information, from dedicated website, newsletter posts and social media sites. A rising phenomena are ‘conversations’, g+ communities or fb groups curated by a suitably enlightened instigator. Some contributors use the space to connect people, to learn, and then use this information in their offline work, such as consultants. They value these communities, most in the same way we had the ‘water-cooler’ effect in businesses. There is no moneyflow, and yet the space is considered very valuable.

How about producing a hangout show that does both? Here’s a mock-up. An engagement so rich that participants not only reach consensus but commitment to produce a social impact within a short period of time. Social impact is the means by which the hangout is evaluated, and money follows. It allows a network of strangers to make decisions as if they were in charge of a company. It is active use of trust.

the hangout game

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Appropriate a crowd-funding WP site, like the one above. By investing say £10, participants are invited to a hangout game. There are a number of games run at different times and facilitated by different people with different flavours of activity.

The hangout game itself consists of a few facilitators and everyone else watching live. Imagine this is running successfully with 100 people. The name of the game is answering the following question (which is similar to the question in action cycles):

What is the greatest social impact that up to 100 of us do with up to £1000 in the following week?

Participants use quora.com to put in their submissions, and everyone votes up and down the best options. The facilitator’s job is draw attention to those suggestions that may be added late or simply deserve more attention; namely to avoid that phenomenon where the top few listings end up escalating simply because they are highlighted (you know, top videos or articles put at the front of a website like youtube, evident in comments in youtube for example). The trick of the game is to reach consensus and commitment within the hour.

For example, someone may have an idea that could be converted into a kickstarter with a few people’s help. Perhaps within that week a handful of people help turn an idea, or a prototype, into a kick-starter programme and everyone else of the 100 people are the seed funders and recommenders of the project. Perhaps at the end of the following week, the project is funded $80,000. Some of this money is redistributed back to the ‘marketing’ team, the 100 people who participated, say $100 each. That’s a conversion of £10 for entry to $100 return.

Not all projects will have a financial return, but it depends very much on the ‘flavour’ of the hangout game show. Some will be more oriented to getting a financial return, but what matters is how people respond to suggestions that catch their attention enough to add to it, offering their skills, and helping it become a more realistic venture. The point is, we are realising the power of the collective to overcome what halts most of our open source projects — the difficulty of finding followers and securing marketing. Collectively, we have the resources to produce incredible results socially on a regular basis, if we are freed from the usual constraints imposed by company boundaries. Networks working with money flow.

deepening hangouts and ecosquared protocols

Not all the hangouts are in the form of this game. There are others which have a flavour of deepening engagement, learning how to reach consensus faster, how to confront differences and arrive at consilience. These hangouts are run along similar principles, where people who are interested fund the hangout and watch and perhaps participate, from one-to-ones to one-to-many’s, and ideally we will work out protocols to have many-to-many. The objective of these deepening hangouts is to learn what are the protocols which we need to adopt to make best use of our time when we meet collectively on line. Think intense and meaningful. Think of the equivalent to global summits, when potentates meet and need to make decisions about the direction of their governments, or CEOs making decisions as to the direction of their company.

As the fourth iteration of ecosquared, this is an attempt to get real results in the real world. With all our virtuality, our obsession with information and opinion, we do tend to lose the substance. The intention of these hangouts is to bring to the fore what we really value. The ecosquared protocols set up a game where money becomes ‘well-behaved’ mathematically speaking (MTTP), while opening up an economy that is based on subjective enumeration (SEA).

The direction of money is interesting. It appears that participants are paying for a ticket to be able to play the game and the money is going towards the centre, collecting as a ‘capital’. It would be nice to have a gift-it-forward in action, where the money generated from one hangout-game actually is carried over to another. One option is to initiate the Invitation-Protocol where the direction of the moneyflow is outwards. People are invited to play. People are showing trust by inviting people they know to the game-show, and even when they suggest activities to perform over the week, the decision actually hangs on those they have invited. That is, the centre is financially powerless, and the periphery is the collective decision-maker. A good thing for communities.

This may constitute the minimal set-up for us to test the protocols, including SEA, once the system gets up and running. The money that is attracted to the value the network produce, $10k in the example, is distributed by the values that people give one another. Those who contribute more actively are recognised by their peers collectively, and thus end up with more moneyflow. In our example, the team of which produced the video and wrote up the copy for the prototype pitch will naturally end up with more money-flow.

invitation for partners

I am looking for partners to set up the technical system, which looks relatively easy since there are templates for crowd-funding already available, and more importantly seed the game-show with their communities. That is, I am looking for people who would like to host one of these shows.

As a team, our collective input will produce a comprehensively appealing design, as we cover for each other’s blindspots. A team effort will produce a better invitation than this.

Auditions are now open 🙂

heather from ushahidi

Heather came along to a hack day eco^2 set up at the Hub Westminster. She comes from ushahidi, and she is quite a remarkable person.

If one does not have judgement, it only takes a second to tell how judgemental a person is when they engage — it is as if they introduce the division of mind, the fine line of distinction which cuts value, and thus separate you from them. And though Heather was quite pro-active, and has a decisive manner of engagement, she had no hint of this at a deeper level of being. She is remarkably patient, a rare thing for the kind of person who likes to get things done. At least, that’s my perception.

The hack day was part of mozilla’s attempt to outreach, to get kids to learn coding, for people to become more aware of what the internet can offer, as well as inform them as to its current state. Although many of us now using the internet are taking it for granted, and although the pioneering days of the net are far from over, the explosive power of the internet over the last decade has reached its limit and is now falling back into the orbit of traditional geo-politico-economics. Consider the replication of the chinese firewall by different countries seeking ways to regulate the internet, various international attempts to regulate like SOPA et al, and the domestication of the wild days of the net to the walled gardens of facebook, the compartmentalisation of OSX and the shrink-wrapped comfort of the world of apps. Like the european “pioneers” who reached the west coast of north america, coders have met met the boundaries of http. There will continue to be open source spaces, but the wild-lands will be shrunk, just like they are in the natural habitats we have in the world.

We were joined by a few hackers, Slayer from Taiwan, Nico who works in city finance and a copyright lawyer Betty, but the conversation regarding economic ecology did not catch their attention. Only Heather with her experience in crisis relief, where the crowdmapping software of ushahidi was found to be the most efficient way to align efforts in disasters such as at Haiti (check out this ny times article), whose work has brought her in contact with some of the largest global players, government bodies, ngos, csr, has had time to reflect upon and appreciate the big picture. These are critical times, and we are aware of the decisions being made. The difference between us, Heather and I, is that Heather is actively involved in attempting to engage the powers that be, whereas I wish to approach them with a methodology which converts their system to open source and the commons. To do so, I need as much proof and evidence as the crowdmapping software has had in crisis points globally, where results count way more than words, models, theories, and talk talk talk.

So, we now have eco^crowdmap though I am not sure how to integrate this with the google forms I am currently using to track mttp and see contracts. And though we had a good engagement, we chose to take a deep strategic path rather than getting down to coding anything concrete. Strategic engagement between doers requires greater presence of mind, deeper trust, and protocols of engagement that fully realises the potential between people through deep trust, despite not knowing one another personally.

Did we manage it, Heather and I? I do not know. Certainly, to produce results with companies on their leading edge of marketing and sales, will prove or not the efficacy of the eco^2 methodology.

methodology^eco

Eco^2 embodies an alternative business methodology. Remember that the fundamental protocol, mttp, is not based on exchange, and this means that everything which is related to it is different from current practice, including business methodology. Imagine, a world where the fundamental economic social contract is not based on exchange. What does this mean? Well, it takes many forms, and anyone who begins using mttp will notice some of the consequences.

Having engaged Mathew at Jump Marketing and Ken at Newhaven Agency, who gave high scores at the end of the first meeting and said they would invite me the next time I was in Edinburgh, have slid back into traditional methodologies. They begin to treat me^eco as a normal person, perhaps as a potential employee or as a saleman from another company. They want me^eco to put something in writing. This is a bad idea, since writing is a poor means of communication. I wish to give something freely to them, gems which may result in their improvement with their current clients or indeed attracting new clients. Since we^eco are not contractually obligated, and it is about person-to-person trust, then it is imperative that we engage in person. That is, there is a personal relationship which they may choose to honour or not. A faceless email, a bunch of letters on a page, just don’t work.

We^eco are not offering a thing like a salesman does, nor do we^eco wish to be employed. There is nothing to do but to engage, give what we^eco can, and should this be of value, to re-engage. It is not complicated. It is simple, genuine, no-strings attached, not even any contract — beyond what mttp and dmp induce. By entering into the writing game, into persuasion and conviction, we enter into sales, as if there is an exchange. Or, like a prospective employee or partner, a test of whether I^eco will conform to the regulations, the system which they employ. And, clearly, that is not what we^eco offer. We^eco offer liberation from the current system and structures. We^eco offer a new methodology which once they experience it, and put it into practice, will result in new clients, as well as a means of engaging “consumers” in a new way.

Basically, if the social contract is not based on exchange, how can we^eco stop ourselves sliding into the behavioural patterns that people in companies fall back into?

Only two answers have come to me so far. The first: the first engagement I must be ready to offer specific gems so that they are in a position to go with them. The danger is that because in the first engagement they have not really invited me knowingly, they may not appreciate the immediacy of the gift and the necessity for securing my future engagement. By offering me a contract, eg a single £100-day per week or per season, I shall not share that gem with others, thus providing them with the edge. Eg, if I offer them the Levi’s gem, I shall not share that gem with other marketing companies so that they have an exclusive approach to Levi’s.

The second: invite them to a meeting with others in the second engagement. That is, an action cycle. That is, introduce them to potential “clients”.

I had thought that the process is lean enough. That after the first engagement, there is an optional second scoping session where we offer gems and they open the potential for co-creation, and once there is proof in terms of moneyflow, new clients, implementation of a gem or adoption of eco^2 methodology, then we can move ahead with a convergence across different sectors. I still think this is just about the minimum. To cleave closer to the bone as suggested above, either with offering gems in the first engagement or inviting them to an action cycle without “evidence”, seem premature.

Once eco^2 is up and running, with some clout behind it, then this should be fast enough and real enough to work. But at this so early of stages, I am suffering from not having enough momentuum. Not enough capital, financial or social, to carry the process through. The sliding to a traditional methodology, to ask for things in writing, to attempt to grasp with understanding, or to check the web for historical validation, has occurred. Mathew and Ken are good people, there is no denying this. They have high quality of engagement and they are on their game. But they suffer from the methodological problems which nearly all people in companies do, which essentially comes down to distrust.

And trust is the operating system for anyone who is adopting eco^2 principles and practices. Trust is how we^eco roll. That’s how we^eco get results, that’s how we^eco get more trust to go further, and faster. eco^2: trust begets trust through results.

Please remember, I am learning the methodology as I go along. And the openness of the experience, the process, at all levels, is part of the eco^2 methodology. Again, this compares favourably to the traditional methodology where we have salesmen and proposals that are masked with confidence and false figures — just consider the traditional “business plan” and how spurious that process is. With eco^2, it is a process of co-creation. No matter how far down the line we go, how “successful” or “established” the protocols and our experience becomes, we are learning at the very edge of engagement with each and every new person. There is always the opportunity to learn. This is the source of innovation with eco^2, at it’s edge.