New publication: Creativity Meets Rationale – Collaboration Patterns for Social Innovation

collaboration pattern

My book chapter “Creativity Meets Rationale – Collaboration Patterns for Social Innovation” was recently published in J. Carroll (ed.), Creativity and Rationale: Enhancing Human Experience by Design, Springer, Berlin. ISBN 978-1-4471-4110-5.

Abstract

Collaborative communities require a wide range of face-to-face and online communication tools. Their socio-technical systems continuously grow, driven by evolving stakeholder requirements and newly available technologies. Designing tool systems that (continue to) match authentic community needs is not trivial. Collaboration patterns can help community members specify customized systems that capture their unique requirements, while reusing lessons learnt by other communnities. Such patterns are an excellent example of combining the strengths of creativity and rationale. In this chapter, we explore the role that collaboration patterns can play in designing the socio-technical infrastructure for collaborative communities. We do so via a cross-case analysis of three Dutch social innovation communities simultaneously being set-up. Our goal with this case study is two-fold: (1) understanding what social innovation is from a socio-technical lens and (2) exploring how the rationale of collaboration patterns can be used to develop creative socio-technical solutions for working communities.

Moving Community Informatics Research Forward

091001_movingCIThe latest issue of the Journal of Community Informatics contains my point of view on “Moving Community Informatics Research Forward”. In it, I argue that at least four aspects need to be taken into account when researching the interplay of communities and their technologies: contexts/values, cases, process/methodology, and systems. Furthermore, in order to move our research field forward, more systematic attention needs to be paid to the role of definitions, the identification of lessons learnt and the development of testbeds and collaboratories. The point of view is based on my conference summing up of the Prato 2008 Community Informatics & Development Informatics conference.

Liberating Voices book published

A while ago, I posted some ideas on the socio-technical infrastructure needed to create a network of “thinking communities”. I was then contacted by Doug Schuler, coordinator of the Public Sphere Project, who asked me to create a Thinking Communities Pattern  for their Liberating Voices: a Pattern Language for Communication Revolution project.

081208_schuler_liberating_voices_front_coverA selection of patterns, including the Thinking Communities Pattern, has now been edited and published as a book by The MIT Press (ISBN 0-262-69366-6). See also the book flyer. To get an idea of how these patterns could be used, see, for instance, the post by Justin Smith, who lists some requirements for a pattern-based knowledge system.

The best way to introduce the book is by using Doug’s own words:

After eight years of work, the book on our information and communication pattern language project, “Liberating Voices: A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution,” is finally available. Liberating Voices brings together a multitude of ideas and suggestions from a variety of perspectives including activism and social change, education, community informatics, governance, media, development, information science, economics, journalism, arts and culture.

We believe that this book can be used by researchers, by practitioners in a variety of fields including teachers in the classroom, by activists, and by citizens and community members throughout the world.

I’m writing to you as a colleague or, in some cases, as a person whom I’ve never met but whose work I admire. In either case I’m hopeful that you’d find this work compelling. If you do, please read this note and send it along to friends and colleagues who might also be interested.

I believe that this book is particularly relevant at this time in history. It is a holistic call to arms for social change based on a revolution in grassroots information and communication. It takes the form of a pattern language that contains 136 patterns. Each pattern is a template for research as well as social critique and action. And each pattern is linked to other patterns into a single coherent whole. We (myself and 85 co-authors) have tried to show that the struggle for liberatory information and communication systems is absolutely critical.

In recent decades we have witnessed the creation of communication systems that promise unparalleled connectedness. Now is the time to unleash our collective creativity—social as well as technological—and develop the communication systems that promote community and civic innovation and engagement to address serious challenges like climate change and environmental degradation.

Inspired by the vision and framework outlined in Christopher Alexander’s classic 1977 book, A Pattern Language, the book presents a pattern language containing 136 patterns designed to meet these challenges. We are proposing a new model of social change that integrates theory and practice by showing how diverse information and communication based approaches can be used to address local as well as global problems.

The pattern language was developed collaboratively with nearly 100 co-authors using an online pattern language management system. The patterns from the book are all online as are approximately 300 other patterns in work. We are treating the publishing of the book as an important milestone rather than the culmination of the project. While we are very enthusiastic about what we’ve produced so far we realize that people and organizations who use the patterns will often need to adapt the pattern language to their specific needs which may even include developing new patterns. For this reason and others we are revamping our web site to encourage collaborative pattern language construction and allow people to readily share ideas and experiences with others.

Our goal was to create an intriguing and informative catalog of intellectual, social, and technological innovations, a practical manual for citizen activism, and a compelling manifesto for creating a more intelligent, sustainable, and equitable world.

Researching with Communities

Researching with Communities: Grounded perspectives on engaging communities in research

Edited by Andy Williamson and Ruth DeSouza

Researching with communities presents a range of personal and grounded perspectives from academics, researchers and practitioners on undertaking research in ways that promote and privilege the voice of the community, is respectful of local or indigenous practices and is culturally safe.

Most definitely not a ‘tick list’ for approaching community-inclusive research, this book provides grounded exemplars, guides and discussion about the experiences of doing research respectfully and inclusively. It does this by drawing on the perspectives of researchers and community practitioners and by providing a range of reflective chapters that explore what community-based research means in a range of settings and for a range of people. Like the communities in which they are grounded, undertaking research in this way is always a unique experience.

This book is a valuable resource for researchers, evaluators, students, community practitioners and policy makers. The international authors cover disciplines from community ICT to health and refugee and asylum seekers to community development.

The book can be ordered online, priced at £24.95. For more information and to order your copy, please visit http://www.lulu.com/content/1550518.

ALOIS 2008 conference

VeniceOn May 5-6, I will be attending, as an invited speaker, the ALOIS (Action in Language, Organisations, and Information Systems) conference in Venice. Apart from the wonderful venue, it is going be a very interesting conference, in the best tradition of the Language/Action Perspective and Pragmatic Web conferences.

Here is the abstract of my talk and paper:

Activating Online Collaborative Communities

Collaborative communities often make use of complex tool systems. In these systems, work gets fragmented over many tools, often halting communication. We discuss online community activation in terms of the Language/Action Perspective, and its more recent offshoot, the Pragmatic Web. We propose collaboration patterns for defining high-level socio-technical design solutions for activation problems. We illustrate the approach using examples from a digital tutorial case.

Understanding Design: 150 Reflections on Being a Designer

Understanding DesignI recently finished “Understanding Design: 150 Reflections on Being a Designer“, by Kees Dorst. It’s a delightful book with 150 single page stories that you can’t stop reading. The stories have been organized in four main themes (Inside Design, About Design, Being a Designer, Around Design), and cover everything from the philosophy and morality of design to very practical guidelines on how to do and teach design. A must for everybody remotely interested in this complex but so intriguing field.

Virtual Teams and Collaborative Environments – book

CALL FOR CHAPTERS
Proposals Submission Deadline: 3/31/2008
Full Chapters Due: 7/31/2008
Virtual Teams and Collaborative Environments:
Knowledge-Driven Creativity

A book edited by A book edited by Aggelos Liapis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
Julian Malins, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland UK
Stijn Christiaens, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
Pieter De Leenheer, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium

http://www.igi-pub.com/requests/details.asp?ID=371

OBJECTIVES
One of the principal objectives of this new book is to suggest improved tools and methodologies for CSCW which can be applied in a variety of disciplines and professional contexts. The book will explore the nature of creativity and how this relates to CSCW. In particular this book will identify the factors that limit creativity in virtual teams when using online collaborative environments.

The overall objectives of the book are as follows:

  • To develop a clear understanding of the use of ontologies as an approach to developing computer supported collaborative working systems within the areas of creativity and design.
  • To identify creative approaches for supporting ontology engineering.
  • To develop the possible uses for collaborative environments that can be used to assist creative communities.
  • To provide insights that support virtual teams, communities and associated ontologies.
  • To examine the future developments in CSCW, focusing on collaborative environments.
  • To demonstrate the advantages of using collaborative environments in order to increase productivity.
  • Ontology Management book

    M. Hepp, P. De Leenheer, A. de Moor, Y. Sure, eds. (2008). Ontology Management: Semantic Web, Semantic Web Services, and Business Applications, Semantic Web and Beyond: Computing for Human Experience series, Springer Verlag, Berlin, ISBN 978-0-387-69899-1

    has just been published. It contains a set of state-of-the-art chapters of ontology management. An interesting observation is that concepts like evolution and communities are starting to be seen as core elements of successful ontology management. The very formal and informal semantic worlds are finally starting to meet.

    Besides having been a co-editor, I have also been a co-author of one of the book chapters:

    S. Christiaens, P. De Leenheer, A. de Moor, and R. Meersman (2008). Ontologising Competencies in an Interorganisational Setting. In M. Hepp, P. De Leenheer, A. de Moor, and Y. Sure (eds.), Ontology Management: Semantic Web, Semantic Web Services, and Business Applications, Springer, Berlin, pp.265-288. ISBN 978-0-387-69899-1.

    It contains a description of the DOGMA-MESS (Meaning Evolution Support System) I worked on while at STARLab, and is all about the interaction between formal semantics and the living communities of human beings involved in their definition and use. Good stuff :-)