Imagine people seated around a table, with some Lego blocks-like pieces of technology scattered on its top. (This is of course a metaphor: CollaboFramework – those “pieces of technology” – resides on a server hosted by our institute at the University of Oslo, which those “people around the table” can access through their PCs, while being physically located anywhere on the globe. I prefer to use the Lego blocks metaphor because the purpose of CollaboFramework is to enable the people to feel as if they were seated together around a table, building together with Lego blocks.) Those people have gathered around the table to co-create an “organisational nervous system” (to use Doug Engelbart’s keyword) or a collective mind (to use our own), by using themselves as material, and those “Lego blocks” as tools and connecting tissues. And if CollaboFramework might not have some of the ‘Lego block’ that are needed, the CollaboFramework design team is present at the table, ready to create them.
The scenario I have just outlined is not only a metaphor; it describes also a real event, which took place recently in Oslo. This event was created for the “Digital Humanities in the North” (DHN) academic community, in occasion of their first meeting, to enable them to initiate a collective mind re-evolution in their community.
Before we gathered in the scenic Old University Library in downtown Oslo, we shared with the DHN community members the links to some documents explaining what Knowledge Federation is and how we work, including A collective mind – Part One blog post, which was created for a related purpose. So Sasha and Sinisha Rudan, who coordinated our DHN workshop, only needed to remind the participants of them. And to introduce CollaboFramework.
To put the ball in play (why should we care to engage in a “collective mind re-evolution”?) I gave a concise, 15-minute recapitulation of “Eight vignettes to evangelise a paradigm” (hear this one-hour recording of my presentation to Isis Frisch, while viewing these slides; at the end you will hear also a discussion of a single project, Collaborology, which will illustrate how a collective mind is being developed in education, and discuss the potential benefits thereof).
I am calling this blog post “Eight vignettes” and not “CollaboFramework” to highlight the message of those vignettes – we simply must find a way to begin collective mind – style re-evolution in knowledge work!
The CollaboFramework, and the related technological and social-systemic developments, will then make sense as the steps that are logically needed to enable this sort of re-evolution.
Later, the Rudan brothers instructed the participants in the use of CollaboFramework.
As they began to use it, this collective mind was already beginning to evolve.
At the time of this writing, the Rudan brothers are already in the midst of their next adventure – at the Balance – Unbalance 2016 conference in Colombia, which by focusing on a concrete and typical contemporary impasse (discovery of oil reserves in a site that is a nature reserve, and a home to indigenous people) will be creating general new pathways for handling contemporary impasses. The CollaboFramework is being used there to enable the communication and collaboration across traditional divides: the business and the humanistic or environmentalist viewpoints and interests; scientific data collection and governmental policy; the scientists’ insights into what must be done, and the artists’ ability to communicate and mobilise the public.