now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened
e.e. cummings, XAIPE, 65
I returned to Somerset on Tuesday from a memorable journey to New York for the Personal Democracy Forum conference and Berkeley for the DIAC Tools for Participation conference, awestruck and enthused by the social changes unfolding across the web—and convinced that we face a wave of institutional reform in civil society far deeper than we can begin to imagine.
The journey was memorable too, for the multiple meetings it afforded with fellow global sensemakers, and for the dialogue and promise that flowed through those meetings.
To recap, for those new to the endeavour, the twin perceptions underpinning the global sensemaking network are that:
(1) humanity faces an emerging mess of systemic global challenges—such as, climate change, poverty, peak oil, population pressure, water shortages, declining biodiversity, and failing food supply—that are the product of patterns of thinking and behaviour that no longer make sense.
(2) we need new tools of thought if we are to adapt to the scale and complexity of these challenges; tools that augment individual intelligence with the structured insights of many minds.
We are collaborating, with anyone who wants to join us, to accelerate the development and implementation of those tools.
A big idea emerged on Saturday evening from the preceding flow of dialogue with Mark Aakhus, Peter Baldwin, Simon Buckingham Shum, Jeff Conklin, Bob Horn, Luca Iandoli, Mark Klein, Anna De Liddo, George Mobus, Jack Park, Jack Paulus, Al Selvin, Brian Sullivan, Andy Streich, and Mark Szpakowski—the kind of idea that has no single author and that is a product of the co-mindedness and co-presence of all.
In essence, the idea is to:
- Distil and map humanity’s current best understanding (from all sides of the debate) of the problems and potential responses to the social mess of environmental, energy and economic challenges that we face in the build up to the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen in 2009.
- Embody the map of this material in two three-dimensional spaces (off- and on-line) that the relevant political leaders, policy makers, and rest of us can explore in a highly immersive and intellectually and viscerally compelling form. One embodiment will fill a large event arena with the map on the floor forming branching pathways that lead the participants through the problem / solution space supported by a rich array of multimedia exhibits. The second will build on the first in an online, explorable, immersive, and continuously updatable 3D-space akin to Second Life.
- Draw together the leading scientists, stakeholders, politicians, policy makers, mappers, programmers, event managers, artists and funders necessary to deliver on the promise of this idea.
The scale and complexity of the challenges we face require an unprecedented, concentrated, creative response of a kind that lies beyond the scope of conventional policy making approaches and patterns. Work is starting within the group to assemble the necessary talents to realise this ambitious goal: and there is an open invitation to join us.
There is little time to lose.