Global Sensemaking

Tools for Dialogue and Deliberation on Wicked Problems

There has been a powerful surge of energy in the group over the last few days, suggesting, perhaps, the imminent emergence of a higher degree of complex organisation and purpose.

The energy and activity—distributed across various threads—appears to be building around a group agenda (roughly) along the following lines:

(1) Defining the problems we are addressing—building a definitive, systemic map of the (interrelated) global problems. Focusing initially on the issues rather than the solutions.

(2) Defining and assembling the sensemaking tools necessary to address the problems.

> An audit of the existing tool set
> A wish-list of what's missing from the existing tool set
> A means to federate and build upon the existing tools

(3) Connecting with the wider community

> Other people who are working on similar tools
> Other people who are working to address the problems in different ways
> The practitioners whose work the tools may assist
> People with the resources to catalyse the development of the tools and potential new institutional forms

(4) Defining a charter / ethos of the group. Identifying and exemplifying the patterns of interactions that we aim to encourage more widely in society.

(5) Other items?

> Defining a mission statement to post as a fixed item at the top of the Ning main page for new visitors / members.

> Should we make the group fully open now or continue to grow via invitation?

> Should we federate other tools around Ning (and, if so, which ones) or should we look to move to an alternate platform (e.g. Drupal or Wordpress mu?)

A tool missing from the Ning feature that might help us to flesh out, refine, and coalesce around the agenda is a Wiki. So as an experiment I have posted the agenda above on a Global Sensemaking wiki, created using DekiWiki.


Splitting the locus of the discussion in this way may not be a sensible idea—and if this proves to be case we shouldn't hesitate to abandon the idea (or to build on it in a different direction).

Feel free to add comments on the agenda (and/or on the Wiki idea/experience) here as well.

Once we have fleshed out the agenda, we can focus on an action plan for achieving our goals.

[UPDATE 3rd June 2008: Wiki switched to DekiWiki, which looks like a more promising longer term option for the group. I have changed the links above accordingly].

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In terms of executing this:

Would a good strategy be to appoint a leader to each of the activities, who then creates a DebateGraph or Ning discussion thread to drive that forward, reporting back in N weeks? (N=2?)

Leaders volunteer, and people self-select which activities they contribute to.
Leader's job is to craft a summary.

At that point we have to decide how we make decisions...

eg. A new deadline is then agreed for reactions, after which we go with the leader's recommendation.

or: a steering group makes executive decisions of this sort.

All good ideas, Simon. I've taken on the charter activity (#4 on the agenda).

I think it's really useful to have a steering group to drive things forward and suggest that everyone who's replied to this post so far (as well as its author David P) seed that group, excluding myself.
I'll bite, Andy: why exclude you?
Inquiring minds really want to know...
I thought it would be inappropriate to nominate myself. Not due to false modesty, just as a process point.
Well, consider yourself nominated, if, indeed, nominations are open.
Seconded (if nominations are open) :-)
Thanks for starting the charter activity thread in such fine style, Andy—and looking forward to contributing soon.
Excellent suggestions, Simon.

I'll happily volunteer for item (1) on the agenda.

A steering group is probably a sensible step, and I suggest that we think of it as being open anyone who indicates a desire / willingness here over the next N (=2?) weeks to participate.

If the number increases to a high level, we can interpret this as encouraging sign and address any practical issues that it raises at that point.
1. It's already hard to spot on two pages of threaded replies who owns what, so maybe the simple-to-use Wetpaint wiki David set up can be the "homepage" where we track who owns what, with links to wherever they are doing things:

2. If the wiki itself isn't adequate to support what you want to do in your activity, then suggest that activity Leaders select their tool(s) of choice to coordinate their activity and link to it from the wiki (but you need to help others get into your tools if they have trouble!)

Received an invite to GSm, joined, and was told my page is not editable. Any ideas?

Not sure what the issue is with the editing—it seems to be working fine for me—however, with respect to your password, once you are logged in you should be able to change your password by going to the control panel and selecting the user management option.

I wish!!
Went to the control panel, selected user management option, changed my password and clicked Update User.
Got two messages, one of which is "User Updated"
The second one is this:
"You are logged in as Jack Park. You cannot change your password here, use My Preferences page instead."

I can be terribly dyslexic at times, but darned if I can find the My Preferences page (which is what I went looking for originally).

Ordinarily, I'd think about taking this offline, but others might experience similar problems, or I'll end up with eggs in my face for missing something obvious.

I did manage to do some editing. I changed one of the agenda items to be a link to a new page. It created the new page and tells me it's not editable.





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