Think of the unemployed workers during depression who crowded against the gates to the docks and at factories, and being chosen for the day. It’s a bit like that, but more proactive. What if the hub was a space where clients came, engaged over a period of time, and left with the team assembled to achieve a specific objective, traditionally understood as a project? That is, the client leaves with the contract for a first iteration from people who assemble uniquely at that time. That is, there was no company to start with and participants self-organise to converge and align towards a specific target.
Which means we are breaking down the notion of a company. The way to enable this space is to have certain enabling “mechanics” or “articulations” which facilitate the quick alignment of individuals to put forward a proposal, or indeed create a prototype. An action cycle does this (action cycle transform), which is conducted at the boundary of a traditional company. A purely networked version of this is what we are talking about here, with only self-selecting diagonal players crystalising around a single player’s intention. What are the “ligaments”, or “weak attractive forces”, that enable this kind of social manifestation, specifically a client being happy with the team assembled to create the prototype?
- high degree of opportunistic mindset of participants: open-mindedness
- contracted to be “open” for 30% of their time, devoting 70% of their time to their own projects
- open meetings where clients are invited, and they co-create with the available hub members to scope a gem
The objective of the hub is that it is primarily a social space where business is conducted at a deeper level than we are accustomed to in a market. Markets are loud as participants compete to attract attention to themselves, creating a pulling-apart or taking energy. The articulations provided by the members of the hub (financial protocols, social ligaments, physical mechanisms, mindful practices) enable a high-trust framework, where people pull together, the energy being informed by generosity and giving, evolving a truly collaborative space.
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.
Before a gathering, participants record what their intentions are and make this available to other members. These intentions may or may not be viewed before the gathering by other parties. After the gathering, participants may then compare what the intentions of the participants were with what actually happened. This allows all participants to evaluate personally how they fared and reflect upon why participants behaved in the way they did.
The objective is to develop a sensitivity to the effects of social dynamics upon participants, with the express aim to include all perspectives which may have been excluded or disturbed due to the conditional mis-management during the gathering.
Think of g+ circles, and each individual is in different circles, effectively in multiple teams. What needs to be done is contextualised by which team is relevant. For example in the g+ maths circle, all members have relative positions of respect, which will be different than in the g+ design circle. A certain context arises, such as the creation of an algorithm to map subjective enumeration, and thus the rankings in the g+ math circle are more significant, and people align to help the most able to achieve the best result collectively.
The Action Cycle is a surprisingly simple tool that helps us get beyond many of the classic obstacles and shortcomings that plug our meetings. A few, clarity-inducing applications – render them inspiring and effective.
In just 1 hour, the selected group is asked the question: “What can be done by next week?” and then led through the process of discovering a) consensus on a “just-beyond achievable” goal, and b) what each person in the group can do to help achieve this goal. In one week, it will become a reality.
Most meetings are hampered by a combination of individual egos, preset assumptions about how issues are resolved, unnecessary role delineations and a lack of inspiring objectives to keep people motivated. The Action Cycle begins to break all of these barriers down, emphasising some of the profound human strengths that are often buried by/in organisations, such as passion, resilience and creativity, while focusing the group on a task collectively deemed important.
More at the archived actioncycle blog.
The simple use of traffic lights, using red, orange (or yellow) and green, to indicate our current social state. This is used at different levels of scale, from the individual, to meetings, to collective projects. In a shared business space, it is often difficult to determine what state people are in, or the openness of a meeting, and the social traffic lights offer a way to avoid needless interruptions and establish a working environment that is receptive and friendly.
A general rule of thumb is to recognise the traffic lights are not to indicate the internal state of the organism, but an outward declaration to others of their social openness. That is, although implemented by the individual, it serves a social purpose, hence it is a social ligament. Red means closed, and it is not advised to engage for whatever reason. Green means open, and engagement is welcome. Orange means engage, but do not interfere or contribute unless asked.
People indicate the state they are in using coloured badges, the traffic lights. When people gather, and are forming some kind of decision space, their individual colours will determine the state of the collective. And the social traffic lights could indicate various projects are underway at different periods of completion. It is important to emphasise the colours do not indicate the health of the project, or how far along it is in its process, but simply how open it is to others to contribute.