new changemaker convo
In this episode of our Changemaker Conversation Ele asked Dr. Joanne Jakovich (Sydney) and tech visionary Gunther Sonnenfeld (L.A.) to share their experiences with design thinking, big data and social innovation in a collaborative times. Joanne comes from an urban development perspective and Gunther brings in a tech and business development stance. One factor that unites them is their constant search for creative ways to changes people’s ways and ethos when working together.
Dr Joanne Jakovich is an architect, facilitator, researcher, educator and exhibiting artist specialising in crowd-share innovation. She is a co-founder of u.lab at UTS and producer of a new generation of urban engagement projects such as Groundbreaker, BikeTank and CitySwitch that embed design-led innovation and entrepreneurship into the city.
Gunther is internationally consulting in social technology and business innovation, running labs in a variety of markets. He has co-developed over a dozen proprietary platforms in the search, social media, business intelligence, digital content and analytics domains, and has won several awards for his innovation work, including a Forrester Groundswell Award in 2010. As a Venture Partner at K5, a startup accelerator based in Southern California, Gunther advises a number of disruptive startups, along with his strategic efforts for the Fortune 1000. He speaks around the world on the topics of digital convergence and emerging markets, and has keynoted alongside of visionaries such as Sir Richard Branson, Guy Kawasaki, Arianna Huffington and Jonathan Harris. He is currently co-writing a book entitled “The Big Pivot”, a blueprint for companies looking to build sustainable customer relationships and sustainable markets within this shifting media and technology landscape.
In their 35-minute conversation, Joanne and Gunther discuss
- public-to-private crowdshare innovation at Sydney’s u.lab
– collaborative decision-making and hierarchies
– coalitions with ownership of domain
– new hybrid of coalition and committee
– multiple stakeholder cooperation
– open design and people sourcing
– bringing big data to physical open design
– network analysis: digital anthropology and the big data value of social media tribes
– socializing intelligence
You can find more on Joanne’s and Gunther’s work here:
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The new edition of Learn do share is now available. This edition is produced in Gothenburg, Sweden, and it is free to download, flip through and share with anyone.
If you want to be part of the next edition, contact us at email@example.com
We start again at diy days New York City, April 27, and finish at re:publica in Berlin, May 4-8.
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new learn do share book
We’re all keen to LEARN, right ?
We love to roll up our sleeves and DO stuff, no ?
And who doesn’t love to SHARE it all ?
That’s how we run diy days, as a gathering for creatives to learn, do and share. It’s a tradition now that we run a booksprint after each event, in which we gather a few volunteers to harness what we learned. After diy days Ghent we ran our 2nd booksprint. The overall topic is purposeful storytelling. We asked speakers, participants and artists to share their big ideas and insights with us. The result is a book with short stories, small manuals and longer reflections.
We had a fantastic team of volunteers contributing their time and love. The design is by talented Ruben Denys (www.brandberries.be) from Ghent, Belgium. Many thanks for the help go out to:
Ruben Denys, Josephine Rydberg Lidén, Jordan Bryon, Sander Spolspoel, Karin Vlietsra, Michael Geidel, Bert Lesaffer, Nick Fortugno
DOWNLOAD BOOK: LEARN DO SHARE #2
The event series is held by Reboot Stories and the gathering in Belgium was organized by MEDIA Desk Belgium and idrops. http://diydays.creativemediadays.be
The next issue from Gothenburg is already in the making and will be released this month.
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Run Your Own Open Design Challenge
We are currently developing a game that is based on our Open Design Sessions. These templates are early prototypes. We share them, so you can test, remix and build your own. It’s for 6 – 30 players. If you are inspired to find better ways, share your stories and insights!
1. Find a wish for the future and us it as a design question or theme for the story.
2. Build 3 groups (storytellers, prototypers (designers), and 100% committee)
3. Use the wheels and the cards to guide you through the session. Assume the wheel to be a clock. (see materials)
4. Use the prototype (solution) to trigger the turning point in your story
5. Write down your story including an explanation of the solution, add photos and sent it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Download materials [14 MB, pdf]
Download creative commons tag [0.6 MB, pdf]
is the crowd a feasible design partner?
At u.lab’s opening session for their 2012 GroundBreaker series in Sydney we asked how collaboration can work best with external stakeholders. In an interactive session I had the honor to stir the crowd with David Gravina (Digital Eskimo) and Eric Folger (AMP). 50+ participants rolled up their sleeves, discussed with us, broke out into groups to assess and evaluate the possibilities and pitfalls of design thinking and collaboration. Organizer Joanne Jakovich and her u.lab team created a productive environment that included everybody in a creative way and facilitated a vibrant discussion. A reprint of this article was also published in GOOD magazine.
They asked us to be provocative. Here’s a transcript of my talk:
Collaboration is a $1 billion industry and is projected to grow to $3.5 billion by 2016, according to an ABI Research study. In its wake, there’s much talk about share culture, much excitement about a rising maker culture, and much hope that design thinking and peer production are panacea to a world in crisis.
Yet still we are a long way from knowing how to harness larger teams effectively. Of the many things that may work, I’d like to suggest four attributes that we should dare more in collaborative design.
Structure is the first. Consider imperfection in your design. We’re so used to everything being packaged so impeccably, even the most eager wouldn’t see how to unwrap and engage with it. My proposition is that if we create loose structures with a clear goal—one that gives direction but doesn’t direct—we might see others take action much quicker. Imperfections are inviting: they help overcome inhibitions, purvey a feeling of being needed and create a sense of belonging. It’s about giving creative freedom and agency to those who are self-propelled and invested.
The second is Understanding. While misunderstandings can spark unexpected discoveries, slack use of words can water down their meaning and purpose. Take ‘innovare,’ for example, the Latin for “renew, restore, change.” Current rhetoric around innovation is that it ‘bubbles up’ when we use the crowd. I disagree. Ideas might bubble up; they’re lighter. They can happen in a flash and pop easily. Change might start with an idea, but real innovation is plain-old hard work. To innovate means to implement ideas in smart ways that are meaningful to many, so they adopt them and change behavioral patterns. An innovation is based on an elaborate process and such endeavors don’t bubble up; they thrive with persistence and diligence and patience—and with a shot of playfulness.
Number three is Attitude. We’re very diplomatic and polite, praising each other’s work more often than being constructive critics. In spite of Americans having a strong debating culture, strategies of positive psychology and ‘looking away’ seem to prevail when it comes to creativity. Collaboration needs conflict to come up with something new. We need controversy to get over a hump, disruption to spark something unexpected. We should try to synergize the counterintuitive and integrate the paradoxical, and that means being candid and sometimes playing the Devil’s Advocate, even if that means stepping out of our comfort zone—which is rather exhilarating, because life really begins at the edge of our comfort zone.
The last one is Education. Many want to use the crowd, but nobody knows how to collaborate properly. d.school, u.lab, and Learn Do Share are initiatives that do research around it. Their how-to guides help spreading techniques. Nonetheless, we’re still just beginning of find out how we can collaborate best. Educational R&D on collaboration is an investment that every corporation—and everybody who wants to use the crowd—needs to make before they start crowdsourcing.
These principles are put into practice in various experimental storytelling workshops run at diy days (www.diydays.com). We call them Wicked Solutions For A Wicked Problem. These sessions invite interdisciplinary teams to work together on finding solutions to local problems using methods that fuse storytelling, speculative scenarios and design thinking to inspire collaborative action and social good. We encourage participants to be absurd, to browse, and build, to teach and be taught, to challenge each other, to shape arguments, to test designs, and to implement them together with those who are affected by the wicked solution: everyone. At the same time, diy days gives participants a firsthand experience of what it means to create a better future with peers that have different horizons and objectives.
My wish for the future is to see crowds a feasible design partner, enabling each other’s passion projects, embracing them as learning experiences, harnessing shared assets to spin off various independent revenue streams, and developing a moral ecology that allows us to trust in circular skill exchange.
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To Design A Purposeful Story By Many
Researching Reboot Stories’ experiments with open design and story I came to think of it as Purposeful Storytelling. Stories have long been used for the purpose to inform, sell or persuade, but we’re onto something that involves story to ignite action and THEN do all of the above. I mean using storytelling to solve problems, to create a fun experiential learning environment and use it as a tool to convey a complex solution.
Lance Weiler, Jorgen van der Sloot and I played a bit with designs and prototyping sessions. Our 60-minute Open Design Challenge (ODC) is a little bit different each time since we’re refining the process with each session. But we always use storytelling, game mechanics and collaboration to design around a Wish for The Future.
The ODC has three purposes.
1. participants experience what agility and collaboration means in today’s global culture industry
2. we R&D a system to solve problems by using collaboration, game mechanics and story
3. we test and refine storytelling as way to transfer knowledge, create empathy for content and call to action
We developed two versions, one to ideate solutions to complex problems and the other one to co-design a transmedia storyworld. Here’s a rundown of how we did the latter – a StorySprint – at DIY Days Ghent.
First, the entire group had 4 minutes to generate 100 wishes around the premise to make the world work for 100% of humanity. Yep. We broke the group down into eight categories (urbanization, economy, education, humanity, culture, health, sustainability, government) to have each group focus on one area. A couple of minute later, we read out the wishes and decided the best wish collectively by cheering. Then – in the same manner – we turned the wish into a design question and a theme for our story.
“Attempting the impossible widens the mind. Lateral thinking happens when you can’t possibly imagine an immediate answer to a question.”
Then we broke out into three groups: one would build a prototype that helps solving the design question; the storytellers craft a hero’s journey; the third group were the story architects. Their task was to communicate between the groups and to converge the outcomes on a storyboard. We gave every group a simple template that explained the basics of storytelling, design thinking and scribing.
“It was paramount that everyone had a task in the process to give a sense of agency and accountability.”
Utilize time pressure.
53 minutes left. Imagine everything happening at the same time: Some story architects started planning their storyboard while others chose a target audience aka stakeholders, which we communicated to the two other groups. Within the first 5 minutes the story architects received the main characters from the storytelling group, which they passed on to the prototypers after they had given their first pitch to the scribes (within first 10 minutes). Generally, nobody was allowed to talk without creating something with their hands at the same time. We provided play-doh, pens, butcher paper, paddlepops and other props. We like doing that because tactile activity enhances creativity by igniting both sides of the brain.
“Mayhem and confusion. The ODC leaves participants partly in the unknown to simulate how reality, too, only unfolds gradually. Chaordic time pressure requires us to adapt to change flexibly and creatively.”
The idea was that prototyping and storytelling group couldn’t communicate directly, only through the story architects. This way we simulated how information gets filtered and re-interpreted – like in a collaboration between various teams in a company or creative collective.
To communicate between groups, we had storytellers and prototypers pitching to the story architects. This was combined with a narrative game, in which the answer could only be ‘yes, no or maybe’. This had the purpose that content had to be anticipated and interpreted: empathy in practice. We made sure that information didn’t always flow clearly in order to imitate real life situations. At certain points we appointed narrators to help clarifying crucial aspects, in case the scribes would get stuck.
“Everyone has to listen closely to the sparse information they get and through anticipation of the other groups’ objectives they would learn to interprete in integrate information in an agile way that leaves room for optimization and spontaneous change.”
The 2nd pitch later on would allow the story architects to ask questions but no answers were allowed. This had the effect that the prototypers went back and refined their work according to what was still too complex for an audience to grasp. After ten more minutes the story architects got another brief to tweak and bend story and prototype into one coherent storyboard.
“The prototype is embedded as the structural bed of the story. It supports the narrative arc that marries content and platforms.”
The storytellers and prototypers explained their approaches while the story architects listened and converged both pitches with annotated drawings on the wall. Then we had the story architects tell how they saw the story play out using what they had gotten from the other groups. They pitched using their storyboard, which was a scripted wall, like an RSAnimate. The outcome was so creative and intriguing that 16 participants signed up to bring the project to life.
“We can simulate collective intelligence by ascribing each group one of the three fundamental human brain functions (cf. Peter Kruse): connect deep knowledge (storytellers) and spontaneous creativity (transmedia prototypers) by building new unexpected synapses (story architects).”
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This session was developed by Ele Jansen (www.learndoshare.net, Sydney), Lance Weiler (www.rebootstories.com, New York) and Jorgen van der Sloot (www.freedomlab.org, Amsterdam). We’re refining the process further to develop a solid rapid prototyping model for experience design but also for kids as a playful approach to collaborate and to learn creative problem solving skills in conjunction with story. Results will be used on two levels: lessons learned about process feed into Ele’s PhD research and into our design for Lance’s Story Design Lab at Columbia University. They will also be published on www.learndoshare.net. The prototypes that are generated throughout each Open Design Challenge will be featured www.wishforthefuture.com for others to pick up on it and develop it further (launch end of October 2012).