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Technologies as Tools for
Engagement
Some thoughts on civic intelligence and
engagement


Douglas Schuler, douglas@publics...
•   Liberal arts college founded in 1969; focus on teaching, mostly under-graduate
•   Integrates theory and practice
•   ...
•   Help create and support equitable and effective
    public spheres all over the world.

•   Home of Liberating Voices ...
Researchers ask questions.....


(In my opinion) the most timely,
interesting, challenging, and
important question we coul...
Will we be smart enough,
soon enough?
That question captures...
 • The fact that success shouldn’t be
   taken for granted;
 • that we are all in this together;...
What is Civic Intelligence?
What is Civic Intelligence?

Informally, civic intelligence refers to how smart
society is as-a-whole in relation to its p...
What is Civic Intelligence?

Informally, civic intelligence refers to how smart
society is as-a-whole in relation to its p...
What is Civic Intelligence?

Informally, civic intelligence refers to how smart
society is as-a-whole in relation to its p...
Problems seem to be growing
    faster than solutions.
A few more shortcomings
of our civic intelligence
Civic Intelligence efficiently and creatively employs:
    Civic means towards civic ends

Civic Intelligence integrates:
 ...
Different Names for Similar Concepts
                 Social Inquiry (John Dewey)

    Community Inquiry (Ann Bishop & Ber...
From the Bookshelf...                                  Some pieces of the puzzle




Democracy as Problem Solving         ...
Adopting a Civic Intelligence
Orientation Means....


• Integrating diverse disciplines
• Identifying and understanding cu...
How Do We Recognize
                 Civic Intelligence?
    At a minimum an action or project that demonstrates
    civic...
Generic Civic Intelligence Examples
•   Transforming schools and other institutions devoted to public problem
    solving ...
Assertion 1. The entire academic community — not just the
computer science department — should prioritize the development
...
Assertion 2. Engaged scholarship, community — academy partnerships,
etc. must compete for the future



  •   strong resea...
Civic Intelligence
 Four Perspectives

      Civic intelligence as Social Science
             Let's study it!

      Civi...
Example
The Liberating Voices project which I coordinated is one
attempt at trying to cultivate civic intelligence.
I’ve i...
Civic Intelligence (1)                                                           Opportunity Spaces (33)




Our physical,...
Citizen Science (37)
Participatory Design (36)




Many artifacts that we use are ill designed and do not appropriately
ad...
World Citizen Parliament (40)                                                   Techno-Criticism (39)




The United Natio...
Open Action and                                                              Meaningful Maps (47)
Research Network (45)


...
Online Deliberation (52)                                                  Voices of the Unheard (83)




People working to...
Future Design (88)                                                            Informal Learning Groups (98)




          ...
Power of Story (114)                                                        Power Research (128)




The truth about stori...
Community Inquiry (122)                                                  Retreat and Reflection (136)




                ...
Reiteration...
•   Civic intelligence helps describe what we do
•   Two exhortations: (1) get / stay involved with
    tec...
Technologies as tools for engagement
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Technologies as tools for engagement

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Here are my slides (slightly modified) from my presentation at the National Outreach Scholarship Conference at Michigan State University on October 3, 2011.

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Technologies as tools for engagement

  1. 1. Technologies as Tools for Engagement Some thoughts on civic intelligence and engagement Douglas Schuler, douglas@publicsphereproject.org The Evergreen State College The Public Sphere Project
  2. 2. • Liberal arts college founded in 1969; focus on teaching, mostly under-graduate • Integrates theory and practice • Team-taught, interdisciplinary • One of the 41 U.S. “Colleges that Change Lives” • Narrative evaluations (no grades); Planning units (no departments); Student determines learning (no required courses) • The Sierra Club 2010 top 20 “Cool Schools” rated Evergreen for their efforts to stop global warming and to operate sustainability • Gateways program for incarcerated youth, MPA in Tribal Administration, Sustainable prisons project, Center for Community Based Learning and Action, etc.
  3. 3. • Help create and support equitable and effective public spheres all over the world. • Home of Liberating Voices patterns (http:// publicsphereproject/patterns) • Activist Mirror Facebook game (http:// apps.facebook.com/activistmirror) • e-Liberate, for distributed online meetings using Roberts Rules of Order
  4. 4. Researchers ask questions..... (In my opinion) the most timely, interesting, challenging, and important question we could be asking ourselves right now is the following:
  5. 5. Will we be smart enough, soon enough?
  6. 6. That question captures... • The fact that success shouldn’t be taken for granted; • that we are all in this together; • that intelligence is necessary; and • that the situation is urgent.
  7. 7. What is Civic Intelligence?
  8. 8. What is Civic Intelligence? Informally, civic intelligence refers to how smart society is as-a-whole in relation to its problems.
  9. 9. What is Civic Intelligence? Informally, civic intelligence refers to how smart society is as-a-whole in relation to its problems. Civic intelligence is a form of collective intelligence that focuses on shared problems.
  10. 10. What is Civic Intelligence? Informally, civic intelligence refers to how smart society is as-a-whole in relation to its problems. Civic intelligence is a form of collective intelligence that focuses on shared problems. Although we know that civic intelligence exists, it’s not explicitly acknowledged and hence not something that we can readily examine or improve.
  11. 11. Problems seem to be growing faster than solutions.
  12. 12. A few more shortcomings of our civic intelligence
  13. 13. Civic Intelligence efficiently and creatively employs: Civic means towards civic ends Civic Intelligence integrates: Thinking and Action
  14. 14. Different Names for Similar Concepts Social Inquiry (John Dewey) Community Inquiry (Ann Bishop & Bertram Bruce) Social Learning (many authors) Civic Community (Jane Addams) Civic Capacity (Harry Boyte, Xavier Briggs) Public Work Politics (Center for Democracy & Citizenship) Civic Innovation (Carmen Sirianni & Lew Friedman) Open Source Intelligence (Robert Steele) World Brain (H.G. Wells) Civilizational Competence (Piotr Sztompka)
  15. 15. From the Bookshelf... Some pieces of the puzzle Democracy as Problem Solving How People Learn Activists Beyond Borders Learning to Manage Global Environmental Risks Environmental Regime Effectiveness
  16. 16. Adopting a Civic Intelligence Orientation Means.... • Integrating diverse disciplines • Identifying and understanding current examples — and counter-examples — and encouraging new ones
  17. 17. How Do We Recognize Civic Intelligence? At a minimum an action or project that demonstrates civic intelligence contains several necessary features: • The organization and its products and projects have civic orientations and work in civic ways • The organization and its products and projects mobilizes around shared challenges • The organization learns over time • The organization does things effectively and in novel ways when appropriate • The organization thinks and acts • The organization performs metacognition; i.e. it thinks about its thinking • The organization and its products and projects promote this orientation in itself and others
  18. 18. Generic Civic Intelligence Examples • Transforming schools and other institutions devoted to public problem solving — or, even, starting new ones • Developing policy that improves civic intelligence • Organizing workshops or conferences where people develop skills or learn new knowledge • Developing software that improves civic engagement (e.g. collaboration, information sharing, deliberation) • Developing new incentives and making resources (such as information) available for people who are doing this work • Increasing public consciousness about public problems • Developing new ways to think about public problems or to address new challenges • Hosting public demonstrations or otherwise making public statements • Using collaborative and other participatory techniques to create actionable knowledge
  19. 19. Assertion 1. The entire academic community — not just the computer science department — should prioritize the development of online applications and other resources. It must also become a major player in developing policies regarding the Internet. • History of media suggests that colonization of the Internet is not impossible. • The speed of technological change is very fast and the speed of scholarly and other less selfishly motivated approaches are lagging behind. • It’s not enough to study information and communication technologies — or, even, to use them. • The opportunities are gigantic and the window is still somewhat open. • Facebook and Twitter don’t exhaust the range of options.
  20. 20. Assertion 2. Engaged scholarship, community — academy partnerships, etc. must compete for the future • strong research • interesting & compelling projects (sustaining — not just proof-of- concepts) • assertiveness • develop new networks & transform existing ones We need to ensure our work is seen as vital, challenging, creative, legitimate, and cool.
  21. 21. Civic Intelligence Four Perspectives Civic intelligence as Social Science Let's study it! Civic intelligence as Policy Let's support it! Civic intelligence as Organizational Self-Reflection Let's use it! Civic intelligence as Social Movement Each perspective related to the general concept (and to each other) but each has different Goals, Activities, Strategies, Norms, Social Actors, Resources, and Slogans.
  22. 22. Example The Liberating Voices project which I coordinated is one attempt at trying to cultivate civic intelligence. I’ve included cards of several “patterns” that we’ve developed that are particularly relevant to this audience.
  23. 23. Civic Intelligence (1) Opportunity Spaces (33) Our physical, social and knowledge worlds are changing rapidly. Intelligence, more than anything else, describes the capacity to influence and to adapt to a changing environment. Civic Intelligence describes how well groups of people address civic ends through civic means. Civic intelligence raises the critical question: Is society smart enough to meet the challenges it faces? Opportunities help determine the possible paths to the future that are available to people. Hence the opportunities that society offers are of Organizations with civic missions have the responsibility to keep their critical importance. An Opportunity Space presents possible steps that principles intact while interacting effectively with other organizations, both people might take as they plan for, and move into, the future. aligned with and opposed to, their own beliefs and objectives. Civic intelligence requires learning and teaching. It also requires meta- Opportunities can include classes and seminars, volunteer positions, cognition; analyzing patterns of thinking in order to improve them. jobs, contests, access to the media, timely announcements, mentoring, scholarships, grants and others. Effective and principled civic intelligence is necessary to help humankind deal collectively with its collective challenges. People need to develop A number of questions came up in our exploration of opportunity theories, models and tools of civic intelligence that can help integrate spaces. What opportunities exist? Do they exist for all citizens or just thought and action more effectively. And, of course, this work is an expression of civic intelligence. privileged ones? How are these opportunities developed? Do people know about them? How are they publicized? It is important to devote Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: Stewart Dutfield attention and resources (including policy, services, media and technological systems) to help create new (and improve existing) "opportunity spaces" for people and communities who need them. Text & image: Douglas Schuler
  24. 24. Citizen Science (37) Participatory Design (36) Many artifacts that we use are ill designed and do not appropriately address the needs of the people for whom they are designed and produced. The problems include the inconvenient and the dangerous. And in the design of policy or any systems that facilitate group interaction, developers can create systems that embed users in a The role of science in the modern world will become increasingly system like cogs in a machine in situations where a more human- critical in the years ahead, as health care, energy, resources and the centered approach that encouraged our humanity could also be global environment become ever more problematic. Science can developed. John Dewey has written that "The very fact of exclusion appear to serve powerful institutions, such as stock markets and the from participation is a subtle form of suppression." This can be avoided weapons industry, more that it serves the people most affected by if the users of any designed system (software, information and these problems. Meanwhile, the resources of society's professional communication systems, administrative services and processes, art, city scientists are overtaxed by the amount of data to be collected and the plans, architecture, education, governance, and others) are brought into need to distribute expertise over a wide area. Science needs greater its design process in an open, authentic, and uncoerced fashion. participation from people at large, and people need a greater voice in Participatory Design is the philosophical and practical approach to science. We need to develop new approaches to collaboration design in which people who will use the designed result and those who between science and communities. Citizens, policymakers and will be affected by it should be included in the process of creating it. professional scientists all benefit by bringing both scientific knowledge and local knowledge to bear on the problems that they experience. Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishing, Inc. Text & Image: Stewart Dutfield
  25. 25. World Citizen Parliament (40) Techno-Criticism (39) The United Nations is an assembly for the governments of the world's nations. Business, likewise, has an incredible assortment of institutions such as the Chamber of Commerce and events such as the World Because technology and technological systems can play out in so many Economics Forum that cultivate and propagate its prerogatives. Civil ways, the motivation and practice of Techno-Criticism can be complicated. society is obligated to create institutions that are strong enough to An unquestioning reliance on technology can result in a technocratic challenge other organizations — governments, businesses, criminal culture where people come to expect technological solutions. Technology groups, extremists — and not strictly on their terms. Richard Falk and can put major decisions in the hands of the technologists, degrade public Andrew Strauss proposed the possibility of a "Global Parliament" that discussion, and divert attention, discussion, and funds. Technology often inspired this pattern. alters power relations between people, generally amplifying the power for some and not for others. The development of new military technology How do we about developing this assembly? Launch a non-centralized, through history dramatically illustrates this phenomenon. The distribution heterogeneous, loosely-linked network of people, online and offline of computers in society is yet another example. Generally, rich people resources, institutions, deliberative and other collaborative settings. have them and poor people don't. If computers enable people to be more Develop articles, scholarly papers, opinion papers, manifestos, research productive (as computer related companies assert) then economic findings, and anything else that is relevant to this effort. Develop concepts, benefits would obviously accrue to those that have them. People need to design principles, and experiments that lay the groundwork. The new understand or at least anticipate to some degree not only the effects of deliberative bodies that we develop over the next few years are likely to specific technological artifacts (RFID in running shoes, for example) but be advisory at the onset but hopefully will lay the groundwork for more the broader socio-technological systems that they support or destabilize. integrated and influential involvement as time goes on. Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: Big Glass, Marcel Duchamp, Wikimedia Commons Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: James Love
  26. 26. Open Action and Meaningful Maps (47) Research Network (45) As problems become more numerous and intractable, more and more people and groups of diverse people are working together to address them. While diversity is a necessity and can potentially be a source of strength, it introduces vexing problems that are likely to grow worse over time if we don't learn how to manage them effectively. Each person and organization working on the problem has a unique orientation that is People are often unaware of the state of the world around them, important to the overall effort but can conflict with others. These conflict especially when the relationships are "invisible", second-order, or can take many forms including reward structures; goals, tactics, and abstract. Many of the important issues for the community, the strategies; areas of interests; obligations and allegiances; values and environment and for humanity are difficult to see. norms, status, legitimacy, and power. Potential conflicts also include practical issues such as time-management and work habits, as well as ultimately, the very language that the community uses to discuss the To improve the world, we must understand the current situation, issues. We must acknowledge the importance of networks that highlight the important factors, and help others to understand the incorporate both action and research and are open to the admission of issues. Meaningful Maps can provide a focus for relevant information new members. At the same time we must work consciously to identify the and present it in a way that it easy to understand. Groups need to target inherent dilemmas of the situation as well as the emerging wisdom that is to be learned from the practice. We must then take note of the avenues their resources carefully to achieve the maximum impact. They also that are likely to yield important and useful insights about working want to communicate their concerns and encourage others to support together as we move forward. their work. To be effective the maps often need to reveal hidden relationships. Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: Simon Kneebone Text: Andy Dearden & Scot Fletcher; Image: Green Maps, New York
  27. 27. Online Deliberation (52) Voices of the Unheard (83) People working together to conduct business as a group are often plagued by the clash of personalities and shifting rivalries within the Despite the significant effort and thought that goes into decision making group. Also, without structure, a discussion can become random and and design, bad decisions and designs are frequently conceived and rambling. And it can be dominated by powerful individuals. Other factors, such as distance to the meeting, inconvenient scheduling, or implemented primarily because a critical and relevant perspective was costs of getting to the meeting can obstruct effective and inclusive not brought to bear. This is especially true if the missing perspective participation. To overcome the unpredictability of informal human represents that of someone who holds a stake in the outcome. As a interaction, systematic rules have been created to facilitate variant of this, a prototype creativity tool has been created. The idea is purposeful group meetings and encourage collective decisions. It's to have a "board of directors" consisting of famous people. When you time to develop Online Deliberation applications that provide organizations with the technology they need to conduct effective have a problem to solve, you are supposed to be reminded of, and think deliberative meetings when members can't easily get together in- about, how various people would approach this problem. Ask yourself, person. Ideally the tools would increase their effectiveness while "What would Einstein have said?" "How would Gandhi have requiring less time and money to conduct the meetings. approached this problem?" Provide ways to remind people of stakeholders who are not present. These methods could be procedural (certain Native Americans always ask, "Who speaks for Wolf"), visual (e.g., diagrams, lists) or auditory (e.g., songs). Text: Matt Powell & Douglas Schuler; Image: Fiorella De Cindio Text & Image: John Thomas
  28. 28. Future Design (88) Informal Learning Groups (98) Overemphasis on formal education can overshadow alternative learning methods that could be more appropriate. Particularly for adults looking to By acting as though the future will never arrive and things never change, increase their understanding on relevant subjects, pursuing formal training we are subconsciously creating the future with the seeds that we are is often not plausible due to the investment in time and money. As a result, sowing today. Whether by actively embracing the conventional "wisdom" people find it difficult to acquire the skills necessary for them to address a that has created these socially and environmentally precarious times or radically changing global economy. In spite of that, learning can and does by succumbing to the dictates of habit, instinct or necessity, humankind take place in a multitude of settings. Informal learning groups can provide seems to sleepwalking into the future. Indeed it is quite plausible that we an alternative avenue for supporting life-long learning spurring individual are creating the ideal conditions today for unspeakable disasters curiosities, and acquiring new skills. tomorrow. The purpose of this pattern is to get people actively engaged envisioning better futures and making plans on how to get there. Community leaders, self-help groups, development agencies and local Through "rehearsing for the future" we hope to create a wealth of employers can all help launch informal learning groups and encourage a possible scenarios that could become the positive "self-fulfilling culture of participatory learning to meet community needs. This can be prophecies" of tomorrow, rather than the self-defeating scenarios that done through community meetings, or interactions during tea/coffee seem to rule today. breaks. These opportunities can be pursued and developed at the local internet cafe or even during time that is set aside by employers who realize the benefits of supporting a more educated and curious workforce. Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: Steve Hartson Text & Image: Justin Smith
  29. 29. Power of Story (114) Power Research (128) The truth about stories is that!s all we are. — Thomas King Powerful people and organizations tend to abuse their power. Without Storytelling, an ancient art, needs to be rediscovered and updated. understanding who has power, how the power is wielded, and how that Stories help humankind to understand, reinterpret, and reframe the power can be kept within legitimate boundaries, people with less power meanings that undergird their existence. Can we use new can be ignored, swindled, lied to, led into war, or otherwise mistreated. communications technologies to weave together words and images, scientific information and poetic inspiration, and incorporate multiple Research power — what it is, how is it organized and applied, and who voices (including the larger community of plants, animals, birds, and has it. Although it is important to make the findings freely available, it is at elemental forces) to tell multi-faceted stories of our earth communities? least as important to disseminate the ideas and techniques that help Can stories help us to weave together the communications and global people initiate their own power research projects. This pattern particularly challenges that face us as we learn to live co-creatively with each other and the natural world? applies to government and corporations but other people, institutions, and groups (such as hate groups, militias or organized crime families) need to be thoroughly investigated as well. Text: Rebecca Chamberlain; Image: Public Domain Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: ActionAid
  30. 30. Community Inquiry (122) Retreat and Reflection (136) In "developed" countries the non-stop barrage of mass media promoting a corporately-branded "message" is never far away. How can people even "hear themselves think" under such conditions? How will smaller groups develop deep research or action plans and how will society practice the Communities face a wide variety of challenges in areas of health, "due deliberation" that is necessary for democratic work and progress? education, economic development, sustainable environments, and Without relief from the insidious assault, how will people learn to social order. But regardless of the difficulty of these challenges, a appreciate what has value in life? How can they develop a self-identify necessary condition for addressing them is for communities to find that is truly theirs? The function of these patterns is to acknowledge and ways for members to work together. Too often, community celebrate seeds of life that can be used to generate more life in the face of members work at cross purposes and fail to develop what Jane violence and corruption. Remaining pure or removed, aloof from the Addams called “the capacity for affectionate interpretation." sordidness of the world that has developed over the centuries, is not an Community Inquiry is what Addams and Dewey called their theory option. Nor is it necessarily more admirable than retreating into the vast and practice for reshaping communities and, thus, society at large. media wastelands, work, mysticism, sports, or drugs. Engagement and Community Inquiry provides a theoretical and action framework for retreat together form an eternal cycle that we ignore at our own peril. people to come together to develop shared capacity and work on People need to set up times to think, to step back and to recharge their common problems in an experimental and critical manner. batteries. After this respite, one is more likely to be happy, committed, and ready to re-engage once again. Retreat and reflection are necessary counterparts to engagement and both are necessary in the "fierce struggle to create a better world. Text: Douglas Schuler; Image: Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor Wikimedia Commons Text: Ann Bishop & Chip Bruce; Image: Emily Barney
  31. 31. Reiteration... • Civic intelligence helps describe what we do • Two exhortations: (1) get / stay involved with technology design and implementation — even if it’s not your style; (2) pump up the volume. • Our Liberating Voices project could be useful Do what you’re already doing — Just more!
  • hertzel

    Aug. 24, 2012

Here are my slides (slightly modified) from my presentation at the National Outreach Scholarship Conference at Michigan State University on October 3, 2011.

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