At NLab: Amplified Individuals and Business Resilience on 18 June 2009 we broke into small groups to discuss the three key elements of Andrea Saveri's presentation. The resulting notes are summarised below, with the verbatim post-it note comments at the end of this post.
But first, think about this: when we diagnosed our levels of amplification the group was most confident about its skills in Multi-capitalism (Fluency in working with different kinds of capital: natural, intellectual, social, and financial) and Longbroading (The ability to think in terms of higher level systems and cycles. The vision to see the big picture).
The question now is: how can we now get practical and put those skills to work on the following issues?
Much of the conversation around Community-Based Maker Economies seems to have been less around actually making goods and more about what happens afterwards - i.e. selling them, especially with regard to the best kinds of outlets and how to combat foreign competition. There was also a recognition that skills that are dying out should be recaptured if possible, although there is nothing in the notes about why. Is the reason for preservation to store them in a museum? Or so that new generations and learn and adapt them? Might this be an opportunity for some kind of audit?
There was a lot of interest in Regenerative Commerce but uncertainty as to how it might be achieved, along with an awareness of the complexities of introducing barter and gift cultures into an urban society which has long forgotten how to use them. Of course sites like Freecycle are helping to return this kind of ethos into popular culture but the social structure of the city still has difficulties in working with it. There was much talk in this group about the differences between city and village cultures, but it wasn't clear how much of that was evidence-based. It would be interesting to peel away some of the sentimental thinking around traditional village economic structures and find out which elements might realistically be applicable to urban commerce today.
The User-Centred Governance group were cautious about exclusion and about the difficulty of obtaining a fully representative range of views via social media. They discussed the different roles involved - those who create information, those who use it, and those who moderate and manage the resulting relationships. Could lessons be learned from the user-group focus of commercial sites like Amazon, and how might they be applied in a governance situation? There was an awareness that the quality and focus of online discussion can be excellent, but at the same time access to it remains limited. It would be useful to see a resource which aggregates examples of UCG from around the world to show how these issues are being addressed.
Post-it Notes Verbatim >