Global Sensemaking

Tools for Dialogue and Deliberation on Wicked Problems

Issue Map of Paul Krugman OpEd at

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Comment by Mark Szpakowski on May 7, 2008 at 17:09
I'm surprised that futures trading in grains ($3 trillion last year) isn't listed as a factor (I know that Krugman dismisses this, but cf and others).
Comment by Mark Szpakowski on May 7, 2008 at 17:19
In a sense I would visualize a situation room, of which such a dynamic issue map would be a part, presenting all relevant data and interpretation sources, as well as providing simulation and scenario planning capabilities (as in Fuller's World Game). I believe that training of the participating people in discourse and in intention (social technologies for group work and transformation - Otto Scharmer's Theory U is incredibly relevevant here) would also be essential.

Isn't a Manhattan Project type focus, at least, required to meet the climate/energy/earth-care challenge? This is what I would like to help build.
Comment by Jack Park on May 7, 2008 at 17:55
I, too, would like to help build something that has a "Manhattan Project" type focus. Mostly, I'm looking forward to the day when we have a public display something like that Compendium map online where social gestures can add nodes such as the point you make that you suggest Krugman dismisses. My belief is that we need to air all options in a non-judgmental way and let social activity search for truth, whatever that is. DebateGraph might be such an opportunity.

What's equally interesting to me is the fact that different people doing issue mapping on the same OpEd might return different maps; the sensemaking associated with those differences opens doors to insight. The Hypertopic model supports the notion of multiple points of view expressed in topic maps:

I suspect that Dino Karabeg's Polyscopic can provide similar opportunities.

Let me now point out something that animates my thesis project: I just mentioned "hypertopic" and pointed to an occurrence of it. In other posts, I mentioned the name Tom Munnecke, pointed to an occurrence of his paper that names two new-to-most-people concepts: benegnosis and malgnosis, and appreciative inquiry. This website does support full text search (I think) so you have the option of looking them up, but how would you ever know to look them up? There is basically no other navigation means here other than plowing through growing mountains of threads reading everything hoping to find something interesting. That's not how sensemaking should be supported (warning: strongly held opinion). At the very least, something akin to the index in the back of a book should exist for this site, listing every noun or noun phrase and pointing to its occurrences. But then, being as to how this is electronic, bits being free (not really!), we have the option of going beyond a simple subject index to make a full topic map of this site, linking concepts together to give each an appropriate context. Well, we don't have the option to do that here at Ning, but we can run a global topic map elsewhere and find a way to tie it here through REST web services buried in little HREF snippets in our posts. Gak! Let's instead find a platform, or build one, that already knows how to do this.

Think about it this way: my little rant above about supporting sensemaking with topic maps is buried here in a backwater post under the theme about comments about an image. How is anybody going to find it? One approach: add a blog entry out on the front page that advertises it. That, it turns out, is the approach being pioneered under the rubric "Open Notebook Science" (ONS), which is an offshoot of "Open Source Science" due to ambiguities in the latter name. In ONS, they use a Wiki configured with lab notebook templates to "do science" in public, and they use blogs to advertise their work and discuss it. Pretty darn close to a reasonable approach to doing science. Here's a thought: this particular comment I am adding does not, to my present knowledge of Ning, have a direct address, a "permalink". That's a clear opportunity for improvements to Ning right away. Otherwise, how else could I advertise this post in a blog entry on the front page?
Comment by Robert Parks on May 21, 2008 at 1:36
Great map and great post. I heartily endorse your comment: "At the very least, something akin to the index in the back of a book should exist for this site, listing every noun or noun phrase and pointing to its occurrences."

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