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 >
Community-Based Maker Economies
- organic and trusted networks established over time
- awareness of inclusion and exclusion issues
- Uk is dominated by large retailers. How can we encourage people to shop at independents?
- other buy local campaigns exist e.g. http://www.madeinleicestershire.org.uk
- Derby based community writers group were invited to do an event at Derby Quad via Twitter
- online/local networks are growing e.g. Gumtree and ?VivaStreet?
- could be a modern western village mud-hut culture
- when will imported goods no longer be cheaper than home-made?
- lots of skills in Leicester re garment manufacture - we need to recapture them soon before that generation dies out.
- if people are going to talk about us we may as well be involved in it
- user communities
- open source
- bringing something back - renewal of energy and ability but not the same as it was before
- communities have regenerated e.g. the telephone has changed the way community works. what are the commerical implications?
- what works for the people or the community? City people have access to a lot of resources, country people have less
- community bartering - how does everyone benefit?
- shared information
- encourage a culture of no internal barriers - give things away for nothing - do things for nothing
- habits of city / country dwellers very different
- social media brings habits of village to everybody but it is big enough to get things done
- can social media bring back 'village' connectedness?
- can exclude people due to technology barriers
- political change via social media
- who moderates the content in UCG?
- open source as an example of UCG
- technology and social media are just a part of what certain people do
- adopting a different way of behaviour using social media
- the capacity to have a targeted discussion is good
- representation - are those voices which are heard really representative?
- product user groups give direct feedback using social media eg amazon
- some people will generate information, some will only want access to information - who will bridge the gap?
Photo by Vermin Inc http://www.flickr.com/photos/vermininc/2337307518/