Saturday, February 13, 2010

New Connections Online Make For New Pathways to New Paradigms

I started this whole web journey from this blog with the intention of doing nothing more than organizing weblinks that I came across on a serial basis. Now that role has evolved into being an activist, OK maybe slacktivist since all of this is still only on the web, regardless I am more linked up than I had ever envisioned. My onlineactivities continue to find synergy between the worlds of Web 2.0 social media technologies and social activism through economic development. When combined together they provide effective tools for change-agents to induce change at a grassroots social level that can then be expanded and linked with other such efforts. During this webtrek, my interests and my connections have linked me with a number of very interesting people across the globe, especially on Facebook.

One such person is Dr. Niki Lambropoulos. She is currently in England but hails from Greece. Her site says that she is an experienced HCI Education e-learning expert, researcher, consultant, HCI designer & researcher, and online communities manager. Her fields of interest include Human-Computer Interaction Education, E-Learning, and Idea Management for Distributed Leadership and User Innovation Networks.

Her specialisation (notice the English spelling, one of the efficiencies of the web is getting others to do the research and writing for you) is in Collective Intelligence theory, design and system development and covers the following fields: collaborative learning, co-creativity and community management in Computer Supported Collaborative eLearning (CSCeL); open innovation and user innovation networks in business strategic development; idea generation and distributed leadership in Project Management; and collective intelligence systems design in Human-Computer Interaction.

If one expected an aloof, computer-oriented egghead they would be very mistaken. She is very approachable online and provides a good deal of useful and interesting information. Where I find it easy to connect is that she collects the same type of links that I do from TED and other sources. She also has a strong interest in innovation. What has fascinated me most in learning about the possiblities of the web is the potential leverage it has in communication and collaboration. Dr. Lambropoulos strikes me as being at the cutting edge of this field.

She gets all of this far better than I do being able to deal with it from a meta-level of analysis. Her work with such efforts as the Special issue of Human Technology: An Interdisciplinary Journal on Humans in ICT Environments: Distributed Leadership & Online Communities for the London South Bank University Centre for Interactive Systems Engineering demonstrates her level of attainment.

One example is her work with Democracy Reloaded a Facebook Group which , an online experiment focused on democracy in Greece, but I believe will have application world wide. She says it is an experiment on Collective Intelligence. The aim is to identify real problems and real solutions by participatory mechanisms. A new platform is going to be released and tested in February 2010.

The difference between our efforts in Democracy Reloaded and other official participatory democracy efforts is that WE ALL produce the ideas and WE ALL make comments/suggestions/corrections.

Democracy Reloaded is a collaborative effort aiming at your immediate participation and involvement at the early stages of governance design even before the decision making. In this way you as a citizen are not reactive but active and proactive in decision making that affects your life. In particular, Democracy Reloaded aims are the following:

  • Development of the Greek citizens' potential via the Democracy Reloaded platform to faciliate your direct involvement in decision planning and design.
  • Focus on the the real causes of the same problems that constantly appear as news however, with different names occuring in different locations in different times.
  • Fill in a gap in contemporary co-governance with the submission and publication of reports that derive from your our articles with your own ideas and comments.

I am waiting with anticipation to find out what she comes up with. I have examined a number of collaborative platforms used by the social development community under my other blog Milestones for a New Millennium but this one interests me because if seems to be a tool for citizen collaboration. If activists are to going to reach a tipping point in bringing about change, they are going to have to go beyond the committed faithful and even the well-meaning slacktivists and engage the general populous. They will need to find means of not only informing them of the issues but also engaging them in the decision process. This might be one tool that could be a help in doing so.

As part of my ever deeper immersion into the Web I am experimenting with Zemanta with this post. Some of the links and the related posts were generated by Zemanta.

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