Lessons from RTVC: Realtime Virtual Collaboration Workshop

I just realized that I never posted a summary and the lessons learned from the Realtime Virtual Collaboration Workshop I helped organize.

Here is the main summary in form of a presentation we prepared.

Important to note that the organizing group is continuing to work together and will soon give birth to a new enterprise called Radical Inclusion. Radical Inclusion focuses on inter- and intraorganizational collaboration as well as online conference and seminar services to bridge online and offline conversations to create value for organizations and communities.

Read more about Radical Inclusion at http://radical-inclusion.com and follow us on twitter.

Citizenship, communication and politics

Interesting talk in the face of the ongoing events in Iran:

Clay Shirky shows how Facebook, Twitter and TXTs help citizens in repressive regimes to report on real news, bypassing censors however briefly. The end of top-down control of news is changing the nature of politics.

via Clay Shirky: How cellphones, Twitter, Facebook can make history | Video on TED.com.

Information privacy as a responsibility?

A post by Joshua-Michéle Ross asks the question how we can benefit from the digital age without compromising our information privacy:

So why is it that we seem to have more comfort when the capacity for total information awareness lies with corporations as opposed to government? Experience shows that there is a very thin barrier between the two.

His conclusion:

The true work of the 21st century lies not in refining our technology – this we will achieve without any political will. The work lies in re-imagining our institutions.

via Captivity of the Commons – O’Reilly Radar.

Can we direct slow unconscious change processes?

In his TED talk, Seth Godin defines change leaders as heretics looking at the status quo and deciding that it is not for them. He is talking about consciously choosing to change something and doing it.

There is also another type of change that happens without realizing it, sometimes without wanting it.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Inhotim, a contemporary art museum and beautiful garden. If you ever are near Belo Horizonte, do visit this small park, it is amazing!

To be honest I am not a big fan of contemporary art, but one of the art pieces there that spoke to me was Samson (1985) by Chris Burden.

Samson (1985) by Chris Burden

Samson (1985) by Chris Burden

From the explanatory sign:

Samson (1985) consists of a 100 ton jack connected to a gear box and a turnstile. The jack pushes two large timbers against the walls of the gallery. Each visitor to the exhibition must pass through the turnstile and each input on the turnstile ever so slightly expands the jack, and ultimately, if enough people visit the exhibition, Samson (1985) could, theoretically, destroy the building. (…) The institutional critique in Samson (1985) is brutal and subtle simultaneously: by forcing spectators to pass through the turnstile in order to satisfy their curiosity, Burden assigns them equal culpability in the potential destruction of the gallery space.

A couple of parallels from life outside the museum come to mind immediately: we are slowly destroying our basis of living. It is not the single act of driving 500 meters to get milk or buying a new cellphone every 6 months, but the sum of all these small things that add up to destroy the natural resources we depend on.

Another example is social media: Tweet by tweet, share by share, wall comment by wall comment, digg by digg, we are changing the way we communicate and work with each other and this already has profound implications for the way organizations and governments work, hire, and communicate.

Can Seth’s heretics give this unconscious change direction so we create value for each other instead of destroying it? What do you think?

RTVC Workshop and New Post on WebTastings

We just finished the Realtime Virtual Collaboration Workshop. It was a great experience and though it initially seemed very chaotic, turned into some fruitful conversation. Kudos to the participants for self-organizing so well. We will definitely share summaries and lessons learned.

On a related note, I just posted a new post to WebTastings about the lessons we learned from social reporting of a Conference on Rights and Climate Change.

Realtime virtual collaboration for change

I recently joined a group of change facilitators and social media enthusiasts in organizing an online conference on the question What tools and principles do we need to help change to unfold? Social and technological development as means for better organizations, and a better world:

The development of the World Wide Web as a tool for global connectivity has given rise to a participatory culture, opening new possibilities for communication and collaboration to effect and facilitate change.

There are plenty of examples that show the ease with which people actually link up with each other and coordinate complex projects as well as social and political change, including the wikipedia, coordination of aid efforts after natural disasters such as fires, and earthquakes through twitter or tools such as ushahidi, but also recent events such as the “Moldava Twitter Revolution”.

These tools, also called social media, are complementing an already existing large toolbox of methods for facilitation of whole systems change such as Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, Theory U, just to name a few. All these tools are means to an end, which is to change organizations, societies, or communities.

The conference will discuss how the different tools available can be used to foster collaboration that goes beyond mere sharing of information to create action. How can we combine social media tools with real time facilitation to address the essential questions and challenges arising in organizational and social change? Which tools support which kind of collaboration needs? What are the underlying principles that need to be observed to ensure that collaboration effects change?

Go to the Change Management Toolbook to register and to find out how to participate. Another way to get news and follow the conference is to tune into twitter hashtag #rtvc.

Governance 2.0 to Improve Life in Brazilian Cities

A new internet platform is trying to connect citizen’s, politicians, public officials and NGOs to improve life in Brazilian cities. The portal allows users to highlight problems, make proposals and support or comment on problems or proposals made by others.

As of this writing there is not much activity on the portal, but it will be interesting to see if it takes off and who will use the platform.

Check it out at http://www.cidadedemocratica.org.br/.

HT to Henrique.

Is “Sustainable” overused jargon?

As companies and individuals are becoming more aware of the fact that green is sexy it becomes more and more difficult to distinguish between real and fake:

Travelling aluminum projection screens and plastic tubs of shredded chicken parts do not meet [the definition of sustainability].

In the end, this is not about words but about actions. I believe we have to give people more information at hand they can understand and use to make better choices or as Wired puts it To Save the Earth, Start with Data.

Sustainable = resilient?

Are these the essential elements of a sustainable system of the future: diversity, transparency and decentralized collaboration? Great thinking piece by Jamais Cascio:

Resilient flexibility means avoiding situations where components of a 
system are “too big to fail”–that is, where the failure of a single 
part can bring the whole thing crashing down. The alternative comes 
from the combination of diversity (lots of different parts), 
collaboration (able to work together), and decentralization (organized 
from the bottom-up). The result is a system that can more effectively 
respond to rapid changes in conditions, and including the unexpected 
loss of components.

via Resilience in the Face of Crisis: Why the Future will be Flexible | Open The Future | Fast Company.

Incidentally, these basic principles are the same that need to be established for web 2.0 tools to boost collaboration and creativity. Judging from the resistance these changes provoke in organizations, it is only fair to agree with Jamais that many more crises will come until these principles are mainstream.

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Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media: A Networked Approach to Social Media: Strategy and Learning Are Key

The following advice from Iavor Ivanov can be applied to any networking attempt:

Finally, Iavor offered some advice for those looking to roll out a networked approach to social media strategy:

  • Understand where your community is and what they are ready to learn or do and start there
  • Understand what they are doing in the social space and their comfort level
  • Facilitate the content creation, you can’t control it, but make sure you have a solid overarching strategy
  • Guidelines or best practices that are flexible are important

via Beth’s Blog: How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media: A Networked Approach to Social Media: Strategy and Learning Are Key.