The social sector and technological progress

5 Transformational Forces That Should Be Driving The Social Sector (But Aren’t) | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation bookmarked on diigo

The future is already here for the mainstream global economy, built on open data, mobile and social connectivity, and the wisdom of crowds. The social sector, by contrast, is showing few signs of the future, continuing to operate in an increasingly outdated paradigm that places a premium on control; a reliance on experts and one-way communication flows; and exists purely in the physical world.

Are we aware of how we spend our online time?

It is important that we become aware how our micro-decisions affect what we do online. What are we paying really attention to? what are we really focusing on? Are we following a specific direction, contributing to something of value, achieving something or just losing ourselves and out time among all the things one can do, find, share?

Howard Rheingold on how the five web literacies are becoming essential survival skills » Nieman Journalism Lab bookmarked on diigo

Is self-organization or structure better for collaboration?

More structure can be better than more freedom to foster collaboration. Yet, it is not the goals or the processes a team leader needs to define. Rather, the roles of each team member need to be clarified so they are well understood by all.

The Biggest Mistake You (Probably) Make with Teams – Tammy Erickson – Harvard Business Review

Why doesn’t collaboration just work?

At least from my experiences, I believe that most businesses don’t understand collaboration. How many of your colleagues or customers are still emailing Word and Excel documents as attachments? If you are over 30 years old, chances are your business processes are still heavily influenced from the Microsoft dominated days of installed software more than two decades ago. The world is a different place now. There are plenty of examples of dynamic, young companies are prospering even when the partners are global dispersed, but they are still the exception.

Why Collaboration Often Fails and What to Do About It. | IdeaEconomy.Net

What comes after crowdsourcing?

Post on Triple Pundit on online collaboration lists some of the limitations of current crowd-sourcing efforts, and asks:

[H]ow can we use social media not just to inspire more flavor names but more of what matters? How might we leverage the power of the crowd to change what it means to build a brand and be a brand in the wired age?

The author’s conclusion is to build real communities for co-creation:

Based on our experiences to date, we believe private communities like The Collective offer a compelling way to move faster on more substantive issues. And when it comes to sustainability, specifically engaging conscious consumers offers a more effective way to gain perspective, explore new ideas and identify opportunities in any number of mission-critical areas, from supply chain optimization and certification to sustainable design, category growth and positioning strategies.

So for us, the crowd is out. The collective is in. Here’s to putting the “social” back in social media.

Inter-disciplinary collaboration and experiential learning

Interesting podcast on NPR, in which game designer Will Wright interviews Biologist E. O. Wilson about games and collaboration.

Besides encouraging everyone to listen to the entire interview, I want to highlight two points:

The importance of bridging the disciplines to answer fundamental questions about human behavior – is altruism learned or in our genes?

Wilson says that he thinks we can’t have any answers before we’ve done a lot more science to find them. And he believes that the best way to do that is to integrate science with the other great branches of learning — the social sciences and humanities.

The importance of new education standards to prepare young people for life. Experiential learning is how we as a species learn best and games are a risk free way to learn experientially.

“I’ll go to an even more radical position,” Wilson said. “I think games are the future in education. We’re going through a rapid transition now. We’re about to leave print and textbooks behind.”

Tim Hwang’s presentation at Participation Camp 09 adds some more thought to the role of games discussion.

I wonder if games can also play a role to bridge disciplines towards more integrated research.

Rewarding the good better than punishing the bad

On the Origin of Cooperation, by Elizabeth Pennisi
Science 4 September 2009: 1196-1199.
How did cooperation evolve when cheaters—those who benefit without making sacrifices—can threaten its stability? In the ninth essay in Science‘s series in honor of the Year of Darwin, Elizabeth Pennisi discusses the genetic nuts and bolts of cooperation in systems from microbes to humans.

Positive Interactions Promote Public Cooperation, by David G. Rand, Anna Dreber, Tore Ellingsen, Drew Fudenberg, and Martin A. Nowak
Science 4 September 2009: 1272-1275.
Reward is as good as punishment to promote cooperation, costs less, and increases the share out of resources up for grabs.

For those who read German, I found this on Silke Helfrich’s CommonsBlog.

What can we learn from religious practices?

Quaker practices are a great starting point to create an environment, in which true collaboration can thrive:

I have many experiences of sustained decision making in which, in my judgement, collective wisdom prevailed . I shall now examine the practice that supported this and consider whether its preconditions have general application. The practice in question is the Quaker practice of decision making. The fact that it is approached as “a meeting for worship for business,” in particular, raises the question of its more general applicability. Let me anticipate and say that, approached as a meeting for discerning the common good, the practice stands up well in secular contexts.

via Collective Intelligence and Quaker Practice.

Using Social Media to connect organizations

I am involved in an exciting new initiative that works to overcome collaboration problems. This new initiative (that emerged from ParticipationCamp) is called OpenKollab and we set out to providing a space where projects can get support for answering these questions. OpenKollab is both a community and a platform, with a mix of technologist and process oriented people driving it. Check out the wiki and tune into the IRC channel #openkollab and get involved if you believe in openness and want to experiment with new forms of collaboration.

Questions we should ask: How do our projects share data? How do our projects share users? How do our projects share impact? How do our projects connect with other projects? Should we be collaborating on another project rather than inventing another wheel?

via http://www.amysampleward.org/2009/04/22/wiring-the-green-movement-for-earth-day/