Archive for the ‘tools’ Category

We’re live, and starting to build the teams… Join us!

ESSENCE [E-Science/Sensemaking/Climate Change] is the world’s first global climate collective intelligence event — designed to bring together scientists, industrialists, campaigners and policy makers, and the emerging set of web-based sensemaking tools, to pool and deepen our understanding of the issues and options facing the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.

The event, starts online in January 2009 and culminates in a conference at the National e-Science Institute in Edinburgh, in April 2009.

During the pre-launch phase, we are beginning to identify and assemble teams of scientists, industrialists, campaigners and policy makers to work with the tool developers on specific aspects of the complex set of issues around climate change.

The aim is to develop a comprehensive, distilled, visual map of the issues, evidence, arguments and options facing the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, that will be available for all to explore and enrich across the web.

The project is founded on principles of openness, transparency, and discovery; with no preconceptions about the conclusions that will emerge from the event.

If you are scientist, industrialist, campaigner, policy maker, tool maker — or someone with other ideas and resources to contribute — and are interested in learning more about and participating in ESSENCE, please get in touch.

Ready?… / …Engage


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Building on Tim Bonnemann’s excellent Wordle, and Mark Szpakowski’s suggestion, here’s a first pass at mapping Barack Obama’s speech in Berlin.

The snapshot below displays the top layer of the map. Click anywhere on the image to open and explore the underlying structure—and feel free to log-in and improve the first draft.

In preparing the first draft it has been fascinating to compare the different senses, dimensions and saliencies of the speech that emerge via the different forms and interpretations: video, transcript, Wordle, and map. Let me know what you think below…

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Over here Al Selvin links to several related blog posts which I find particularly interesting. Read them all (they’re short). In this post I address just one part.

In It’s about the experience, Al says,

Ultimately what matters for approaches like Compendium is not the notation, the software, or the theory; it’s the experience they make possible for people participating in them. The technical or procedural components are enablers but not determiners. It’s what can (but doesn’t always) happen in actual practice, in real sessions, between the people that is the real essence.


Practitioner skill, in one form or another, is often what makes the difference.

When it comes to face-to-face sessions I couldn’t agree more. A skilled facilitator can be effective with no technology at all, especially so if a few participants are themselves skilled in group interaction. And some technology has the opposite of the desired effect. Put a screen at the front of the room and arrange everyone in standard theater-style seating (rows of chairs) and you risk turning a room full of people who might have been interested in engaging with each other into an audience engaged with the screen.


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