Toronto 2.0 – Becoming a wired participatory polity

Peter Jones Wu Wei

Today’s Globe & Mail reports on ChangeCamp. What is ChangeCamp? It is the application of ‘the long tail’ to public policy. It is a long-held and false assumption that ordinary citizens don’t care about public policy. The statement isn’t, of itself, false. Many, many, many people truly don’t care that much. They want to live their lives focusing on other things – pursuing other hobbies or interests. But there are many of us who do care: Public-policy geeks, fans, followers, advocates, etc… We are everywhere, we’ve just been hidden in a long tail that saw the marketplace and capacity for developing and delivering public policy restricted to a few large institutions. We’re in the midst of the kind of change we have been seeking and organizing for years. Society appears ready to recognize the vision of activists, citizens, new media folks, and democracy philosophers. But now in our own terms of engagement. ChangeCamp is about identifying our own “user needs” for government and for creating openings and listening for our participation to matter. What happens here may happen anywhere, but …

Is Online Civil Participation Sufficient to the Institutional Crisis?

Peter Jones Civil media, Social Innovation, Transformation Design

My last post left off with “We have experience and world-class methods that reliably achieve consensus in social systems to organize stakeholder commitment. The next missing step then is the courage and ambition to reach through the benign neglect, the cynical stalling, the aligned interests in current economies, and to help stakeholders move forward on a chosen strategic path that best reaches our societal, human, and developmental visions.” Financier, socialist former punker, and Bond-style playboy Matthieu Pigasse comes forward with as much in his new book, R√©volutions.¬† He relates a European view of the need for democratic action to re-envision institutions, if not civilization. We are living through a turning point, in great confusion. Nothing of what seemed obvious yesterday is evident today. Nor are there any signs to tell us what future certainties will be. The great points of reference — the Nation, the State, Morality — seem to have disappeared. The great hopes of tomorrow remain invisible. He shares with the Occupy movement the urgency of engaging citizens in the public sphere to re-envision his culture and nation …

Dialogue as unmediated design

Peter Jones Dialogic Design

Or at least, less-mediated design. A goal and an inherent value of participatory design is that of engaging users directly in a design processes, to minimize the translation of features by designers. The goal of direct participation is not to reduce the cycle time incurred between cycles of user-centered design, prototyping, and user assessment, although that happens. The goal is to maximize user ownership of the design for their own work practices, and to minimize the influence designers have in articulating the significant features in the application space. Participatory design has a values orientation that respects the intelligence and autonomy of participants in their own work practices. Dialogic design also aims to minimize designer mediation, even if through a facilitated process. By enabling participation of all stakeholders in a design dialogue – aspires to immediacy. The principle of requisite autonomy is honored in all SDD sessions, which requires the autonomy and authenticity of all individual stakeholders to be preserved. Nobody can alter a contribution made by a participants in structured dialogue. Dialogue happens with a committed group of people, during …

Tao of Dialogue

Peter Jones Dialogic Design

Lao Tze imagined a way of serving others and giving up your own ideas: In caring for others and serving heaven, There is nothing like using restraint. Restraint begins with giving up one’s own ideas. This depends on Virtue gathered in the past. If there is a good store of Virtue, then nothing is impossible. If nothing is impossible, then there are no limits. If a man knows no limits, then he is fit to be a ruler. The mother principle of ruling holds good for a long time. This is called having deep roots and a firm foundation, The Tao of long life and eternal vision. Working in Dialogue means giving up your role as expert and engaging with all others as if they were the only voices that matter. Dialogic design is our process of designing social systems and complex services in participatory design dialogue. Dialogue enables people to listen to each other on issues of common concern, going beyond what they personally think is important, to find common roots the deep issues that dynamically influence their situation. …