Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Towards Smarter Activism: Working Together Without Even Knowing it.

The question of how to work towards positive social change is not easily answered. There is no silver bullet and one size does not fit all. Local contexts vary as do the people and the issues they face within those contexts. The fact that there will be a multiplicity of efforts is obvious. What is not obvious is how those efforts work together and leverage each other — or don't. Clearly the possibility of success will depend on how well these efforts coordinate with each other — intentionally, of course, but implicitly as well because direct communication is often impossible. But how does that happen?

Explicit and Implicit Coordination

The idea of integrating various tools and systems is central to our vision of collective intelligence for the common good (CI4CG) / civic intelligence. One core idea involves developing a framework of coordination that would encourage planned and unplanned cooperation among people who may or may not be working together directly. The latest incarnation of this work is developing a broad cognitive map of civic intelligence which was initiated at our workshop at the Community and Technology 2015 conference in Troyes, France. Ideally this map will be used for characterizing, comparing, and cultivating CI4CG efforts. One of our main chores is helping to uncover and encourage synergy and to help nudge "individual" projects into broader, more integrated and mutually supporting hyper-projects.

The following list of various "sharables" provides a fairly extensive list of ways to coordinate and support this mutual work:

  • shared themes or challenge focus (not necessarily determined via specific grant programs);
  • shared methodology, vocabulary, models;
  • shared aspirations, goals, manifestos;
  • shared codes of ethics;
  • shared plans;
  • data interchange, APIs, taxonomy, ontology;
  • shared projects;
  • shared research agendas;
  • shared project members;
  • shared awareness;
  • shared communicative venues (structured and unstructured; virtual, in-person, and hybrid);
  • shared commitments;
  • shared online repositories, portals, test-beds;
  • shared services; and
  • shared knowledge of community roles.

We expect to pursue a variety of activities including events such as workshops at appropriate venues and more collaborative research and action projects. We will expand and publicize projects and opportunities and lobby for more. Generally we will help with connections — tools, venues, framework, methodologies.

These steps include developing and improving our community / network, pursuing and refining our research agenda, carrying out various experiments, documenting our work and ensuring ready access to the results, understanding challenges and opportunities, cultivating fruitful community partnerships, and generally construing this enterprise as an ongoing and perpetual project. Because the enterprise is so broad a continuing learning cycle based on the enterprise as a whole — its effectiveness, reach, and influence — should be embedded in our processes in what could be called collaborative meta-cognition.

This work includes products such as deliberative systems, research enterprises and case studies, think tanks, model policy documents, curricula, ruminations and epistles, thought experiments, art works, and many others. While this work continues to promote rigorous research, it consciously seeks to integrate and build upon other perspectives. We hope to transcend the constraints of many dominant habits, institutions, and norms, especially when their strict obedience compels us to work in ways that are likely to be ineffective in addressing the common good of the planet and its inhabitants.

We hope that by modeling the world we’d like to see we can obtain insights that would be difficult to acquire through other means. Beyond conducting research and developing tools, services, policy, and the like, we are hoping to build the circumstances that help promote this work and the orientation in the world. To these ends we are especially eager to work with the people worldwide who share this vision and with those who are already conducting this critical work.

Intelligence collective, intelligence civique et langage par patterns

Dans mon quotidien et ma vie professionnelle, je m’appuie sur l’intelligence collective, l’intelligence civique et le langage par patterns. Ces approches représentent une opportunité importante de pouvoir nous aider à nous sortir d’un bourbier que nous avons créé. Bien qu’il m’ait fallu du temps pour les identifier et les utiliser, ces concepts m’ont bien rendu service : ils m’ont aidé à nourrir et former ma façon d’enseigner avec une perspective et une méthode que je pense utiles, riches et responsabilisantes. Ils m’ont aidé à donner un sens au monde qui m’entoure et d’en apercevoir les améliorations possibles.

Mon hypothèse de travail est que l’un des problèmes les plus importants que nous rencontrons est notre incapacité à résoudre des problèmes importants. Nos outils ne semblent pas adaptés à cette tâche. Nous n’avons pas les bons paradigmes, les bonnes théories ou le bon vocabulaire pour réfléchir à ce problème de manière globale. Nous n’avons pas les facultés adéquates pour reconnaitre collectivement les problèmes, les comprendre et nous mobiliser pour les contourner. C’est la question que j’ai choisi de cibler : Que ferions-nous pour développer l’intelligence civique dont nous avons besoin dans notre vie au XXIème siècle ? 
Cibler cette question a permis de déboucher vers d’autres questions, d’autres chemins et d’autres opportunités. Elles nous mènent vers une interprétation qui n’aurait pas été révélée sans ce focus.

Intelligence collective

Pour comprendre l’intelligence collective et civique, il semble judicieux de définir l’intelligence en général : « un processus intégré qui permet à un agent, dans un environnement qu’il perçoit, d’agir de manière appropriée à l’accomplissement de ces objectifs. En particulier, dans des zones qui présentent un enjeu concret ou une opportunité ». 
J’utilise cette définition de l’intelligence car elle nous permet de voir ce phénomène de manière scientifique. Elle met également en avant l’idée que l’intelligence est un procédé dynamique et flexible (ou plutôt, un ensemble de procédés), et non un simple phénomène existant, ou une caractéristique qui se résume par une simple valeur numérique. L’intelligence collective (parfois appelé intelligence distribuée) met en lumière le fait que des personnes au sein d’un groupe emploient et exposent leurs intelligences. Après tout, comme Roy Pea (1993) le souligne « Chaque personne ayant observé de près les pratiques de la cognition reste bloquée face au fait que l’esprit ne fonctionne pas tout seul. Les intelligences révélées à travers ces pratiques sont distribuées par les esprits, les personnes et des environnements (symboliques et physiques) naturels et artificiels ».

Un simple exemple : je travaillais chez Boeing, une entreprise qui dessine et fabrique des avions (entre autres choses). L’entreprise détermine à intervalles réguliers, qu’il faut réfléchir au prochain avion. Un petit groupe de personnes va alors dessiner un concept d’avion qui n’existe pas encore ; réfléchir à combien de kilomètres il peut parcourir sans refaire le plein de carburant, quels types d’économies de carburant, combien de sièges, etc. Ainsi, quelques années plus tard, un de ces avions vole concrètement et le cycle continue. Cet accomplissement sous-entend une série de process impliquant des dizaines de milliers de personnes. Cet ensemble appréhende son environnement, mobilise ses ressources, coordonne ses activités avec succès et apprend un volume important d’informations. Clairement il se comporte comme un agent intelligent. Un groupe d’individus non coordonnés ne pourrait pas réussir à concevoir et fabriquer un avion moderne. Et lorsqu’on parle d’intelligence individuelle, en réalité il est pratiquement impossible de parler « d’intelligence » personnelle (qui n’est pas mesurable par un test de QI) comme une intelligence séparée de celle d’autres individus.

Des circonstances complexes nous obligent à penser plus sérieusement à notre intelligence collective. Il y a deux raisons primaires à cela : la première, c’est parce que l’intelligence collective définit la réalité sociale dans laquelle nous vivons. La seconde, c’est parce que nous en dépendons totalement. L’intelligence collective est une nécessité pour notre survie. Mais pas n’importe quel type d’intelligence collective.

L’intelligence civique

L’intelligence civique peut être vue comme un type d’intelligence collective mais les deux ne sont pas identiques. L’intelligence civique décrit ce qui se passe lorsque les gens travaillent ensemble pour traiter un problème significatif et partagé de manière équitable et efficace. Il ne s’agit pas de résoudre un puzzle ayant une solution définie. Nous utilisons le terme « équitable » car c’est ce le terme approprié pour cette forme d’intelligence. C’est un non-sens de considérer l’intelligence comme un exercice déconnecté, purement « rationnel », qui a lieu en l’absence de valeurs, de justice, de respect et de tout autre critère inhérents à la civilisation humaine. L’intelligence civique diffère également de l’intelligence collective par sa volonté essentielle d’action. L’intelligence civique soulève une question critique : Est-ce que notre société est suffisamment intelligente pour affronter les enjeux auxquels elle fait face ?

L’intelligence civique décrit comment des groupes de personne arrivent à des fins civiques grâce à des moyens civiques. C’est donc une perspective indispensable pour notre progrès social et environnemental. Il est également important de noter que l’intelligence civique prend différentes formes à différentes échelles. Elle peut exister à un niveau mondial (le climat discuté à Paris en 2015 par exemple) et exister à l’intérieur de groupes, de communautés, de nations et même à l’échelle d’un individu. L’intelligence civique nécessite apprentissage et enseignement. Dans mes recherches à Evergreen, les étudiants travaillent ensemble pour utiliser et promouvoir l’intelligence civique à travers des projets liés au « monde réel ». Il semblerait que la pratiquer est l’une des meilleures manières pour apprendre en la matière.

Si l’intelligence civique est ce dont nous avons besoin, pourquoi ne l’affrontons-nous pas directement et explicitement ? Curieusement beaucoup de recherches sur l’intelligence collective nous empêchent d’en avoir conscience ou en organisent le phénomène. En d’autres termes, des abeilles, des fourmis, et même des moules visqueuses, peuvent démontrer une intelligence collective alors que les êtres humains, qui sont capables de refléter leur pensée (métacognition) et même de les changer s’ils le veulent, y apportent peu de considération.

Le langage par patterns

L’intelligence est le produit de la coadaptation dans l’environnement dans lequel elle existe. Plus l’agent observe un grand nombre de facteurs dans son environnement, plus l’intelligence doit être complexe. En d’autres termes, l’intelligence et l’ensemble des process qui la régissent, reflètent dans une large mesure l’environnement dans laquelle elle existe. Les patterns d’un langage sont créés pour attester de la complexité du monde dans lequel nous vivons en fournissant des composants appréhendables de notre « réalité » collective. Les caractéristiques de cet environnement sont ce qui nous importe. Les patterns peuvent nous aider à avoir une meilleure manière de penser et d’agir sans perdre de vue l’environnement qui le borde. Par conséquent, ils peuvent être perçus comme des outils pour faire avancer l’intelligence.

Mais qu’est-ce un langage par patterns ? C’est un concept qui fut introduit dans les années 1970, à travers un livre révolutionnaire sur l’architecture appelé « A Pattern Language » (Alexander et al, 1977). Le livre inclus 253 patterns qui pourraient aider les gens à construire des chambres, des maisons, des immeubles et des villes qui seraient plus belles et plus axées sur la vie. Chaque pattern décrit une relation entre les gens et l’architecture et aiderait à résoudre un problème qui résulterait de cet environnement. L’idée était de fournir des patterns que les gens pourraient utiliser pour jouer un rôle fort dans le design de l’environnement physique dans lequel ils vivent. Qu’est-ce qu’un pattern ? En général, un pattern est quelque chose qui se répète. Nous pensons généralement au pattern visuel. Le genre précis de patterns auxquels Alexander se réfère est une généralisation de moyens par lesquels les gens ont historiquement abordé un problème. Un pattern peut être imaginé comme des graines pour la réflexion. Cela ne vous dit pas comment penser ou faire, mais cela vous aide ainsi que les personnes avec lesquelles vous travaillez à identifier les opportunités utiles. Un pattern contient une description d’une situation donnée qui a besoin d’évoluer. Alexander l’exprime de la manière suivante : « Chaque pattern décrit à la fois un problème qui se répète encore et encore dans notre environnement et à la fois le cœur de sa solution. Ainsi, vous pouvez utiliser cette solution un million de fois, sans jamais que ce soit deux fois la même chose ».

Un langage par patterns est simplement une collection organisée de patterns. Ils travaillent ensemble afin de fournir un large éventail d’idées que les gens peuvent utiliser (et ont déjà utilisés) pour résoudre leurs problèmes. C’est un cadre qui permet d’intégrer des idées hétérogènes mais interdépendantes.

Capture d’écran du site Public Sphere Project.
 Exemple de patterns choisis et mis en liens pour répondre à une problématique donnée.

Je promeus et j’utilise le langage par patterns car il est utile pour représenter la complexité des enjeux que nous rencontrons et il nous aide à appréhender les actions à mettre en place.
Les patterns sont pensés pour fournir un langage commun et être applicables dans les diagnostics et les prescriptions.

En travaillant avec 85 contributeurs, nous avons développés Liberating Voices, A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution qui contient 136 patterns tel que « les voix inaudibles », « le voyage des activistes », « le cadre stratégique ».

Pattern 123 : Théâtre illégitime. 
Photographie du groupe punk-rock Pussy Riot, protestataire et féministe russe

Ils fournissent des idées pour s’émanciper du courant dominant qui supporte les inégalités et les dégradations environnementales. Ce travail s’est cristallisé dans un livre (Schuller 2008) où l’information et la communication sont utilisées à des fins positives. Idéalement, les gens et les groupes peuvent utiliser ces patterns pour transformer leurs idées ou aspirations en action afin de produire un changement social positif. L’espoir est que ces modèles puissent armer les gens pour les aider à créer un futur qui soit inclusif, sain, respectueux et plus équitable.

Pour aller plus loin

Les problèmes que nous affrontons sont incroyablement complexes et interconnectés. On ne peut pas espérer qu’ils disparaissent sans un travail intense et une imagination collective sans limite.
Adhérer à l’intelligence civique en tant que perspective peut aider à motiver et informer sur une nouvelle façon de résoudre les problèmes et ce, de façon collaborative. Cette approche ne résout bien évidemment pas tous les problèmes mais elle peut nous permettre de développer une nouvelle recherche collaborative et des projets d’action. En particulier pour s’émanciper des limites qui bordent notre quête pour une vie meilleure.

* Tous les patterns présents dans Liberating Voices sont disponibles en ligne dans une version courte, en anglais, sur le site Public Sphere Project (http://www.publicsphereproject.org)et 42 des patterns en francais. Ces patterns existent également en cartes physiques afin d’être utilisés en face à face durant des ateliers. Sur un autre plan, quelques années après la publication du livre, mes étudiants et moi avons développés un ensemble de 40 anti-patterns. Cette exploration du « côté obscur » nous a aidé à mieux comprendre comment fonctionnent les forces oppressives avec des objectifs négatifs (Schuler and Wagaman 2013). Ceci s’est ironiquement révélé une expérience positive pour nous tous.

References

Alexander, C. (1977). A Pattern Language: towns, buildings, construction. New York: Oxford University Press.
Alexander, C. (1979). The timeless way of building. New York: Oxford University Press.
Pea, R. D. (1993). Practices of distributed intelligence and designs for education. Distributed cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations, 11.
Schuler, D. (2001). Cultivating Society's Civic Intelligence: Patterns for a New "World Brain", Journal of Society, Information and Communication, Vol 4 No. 2
Schuler, D. (2008). Liberating Voices: A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution. MIT Press. Schuler, D., and Wagaman, J. The Surprising Power, Vitality, and Potentiality of Examining the “Dark Side:" 
The Collaborative Production of the Restraining Voices Anti-Pattern Language in an Educational Setting. In Fall 2013 International PUARL Conference: Generative Processes, Patterns and the Urban Challenge. Neis H. (ed.). PUARL Press, Portland, OR, 2013.

Douglas Schuler est professeur à l’université Evergreen State College, ancien Président de « Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) », et membre fondateur du Seattle Community Network (SCN). Il est également corédacteur de plusieurs livres, dont « Shaping the Network Society: The New Role of Civic Society in Cyberspace » (MIT Press, 2004) et auteur de “New Community Networks: Wired for Change ». Ceci est la préface d’un livre écrit dans le cadre d’un groupe de travail à l’université nationale autonome de Mexico (UNAM), intitulé « Seminario Visiones sobre las Mediaciones Tecnológicas de la Educación ».

Monday, May 1, 2017

Inteligencia Colectiva, Inteligencia Cívica y 
Lenguaje de Patrones


Confío en la inteligencia colectiva, la inteligencia cívica y los lenguajes de patrones en mi vida cotidiana y profesional. Más allá de eso, esos enfoques representan oportunidades importantes que pueden ayudarnos a medida que tratamos de cavar a nosotros mismos fuera del lodazal que hemos creado para nosotros mismos. Aunque me tomó un tiempo identificarlos y ponerlos en práctica, estos conceptos me han servido bien: me han ayudado a informar ya dar forma a mi enseñanza con una perspectiva y práctica que creo útiles, ricas y empoderadoras. Y me han ayudado a hacer algo de sentido del mundo y ver posibilidades para mejorarlo.


Mi hipótesis de trabajo es que uno de los problemas más importantes que enfrentamos es que nuestra incapacidad para enfrentar problemas significativos. Nuestras herramientas no parecen ser adecuadas para la tarea. No tenemos los paradigmas, teorías o vocabulario adecuados para pensar holísticamente este problema. No tenemos las instalaciones adecuadas para reconocer colectivamente los problemas, entenderlos y movilizarnos para sortearlos. Este es el tema que he elegido enfocar: ¿qué debemos hacer para desarrollar la inteligencia cívica que necesitamos para la vida en el siglo XXI? Enfocarse en este tema ha ayudado a abrir nuevas preguntas, avenidas y oportunidades que condujeron a entendimientos que no se habrían revelado sin ese enfoque.


Inteligencia colectiva


Para entender la inteligencia colectiva y cívica, es lógico establecer primero una definición de inteligencia en general: Un conjunto integrado de procesos que permiten que un agente actúe de manera apropiada a los objetivos del agente y al ambiente que percibe y actúa dentro - en particular las áreas que presentan retos o oportunidades reales o potenciales. Yo uso esa definición de inteligencia porque nos ayuda a ver el fenómeno de una manera que es consistente con la ciencia. También pone de relieve la idea de que la inteligencia es un proceso dinámico y flexible (o, más exactamente, un conjunto de procesos), no un fenómeno que simplemente existe o es una característica que puede resumirse utilizando un valor numérico simple.


La inteligencia colectiva (a veces llamada inteligencia distribuida) pone el foco en el hecho de que grupos de personas -no sólo individuos- emplean y exhiben inteligencia. La inteligencia colectiva pone un nombre en este fenómeno extremadamente importante. Después de todo, como señala Roy Pea (1993): "Cualquiera que haya observado de cerca las prácticas de la cognición se sorprende con el hecho de que la" mente "nunca trabaja sola, las inteligencias reveladas a través de estas prácticas se distribuyen entre las mentes, Y los ambientes simbólicos y físicos, tanto naturales como artificiales ".


Un ejemplo sencillo: yo solía trabajar en Boeing, una corporación que diseña y construye aviones (y otras cosas también). A intervalos regulares la corporación determina que necesita pensar en su próximo avión. Un pequeño grupo de personas esbozaría un concepto para un avión que aún no existía: ¿cuántas millas podría volar sin recargar combustible, cuántos asientos tendría, qué tipo de economía de combustible tendría, etc. Pocos años más tarde uno volaría realmente, seguido generalmente por mucho más. Este logro implica un conjunto integrado de procesos que involucran a decenas de miles de personas; El colectivo percibió su entorno, reunió recursos, coordinó con éxito sus actividades y aprendió información importante durante todo el proceso. Claramente actúa como un agente inteligente. Un montón de gente descoordinada no podía diseñar y construir un avión moderno. Y mientras hablamos de la inteligencia de los individuos, en realidad es casi imposible pensar en la inteligencia de una persona (que no es lo que se mide por las pruebas de CI) como separada de otras personas.


Nuestras circunstancias complejas nos obligan a pensar más seriamente en nuestra inteligencia colectiva. Hay dos razones principales: la primera es que porque la inteligencia colectiva define la realidad social en la que vivimos; La segunda es porque dependemos absolutamente de ella. La inteligencia colectiva es un requisito para la supervivencia, pero no cualquier tipo de inteligencia colectiva.



Inteligencia cívica


La inteligencia cívica puede ser pensada como un tipo de inteligencia colectiva, pero los dos no son idénticos. La inteligencia cívica describe lo que sucede cuando las personas trabajan juntas para abordar los problemas compartidos significativos de manera equitativa y eficiente. No se trata de resolver puzzles con soluciones claramente definidas. Usamos el término "equitativamente" porque eso es lo que es apropiado para este tipo de inteligencia. No tiene sentido considerar la inteligencia tal como está puesta en el mundo social como un ejercicio puramente "racional" que tiene lugar en ausencia de valores, justicia, respeto y otros rasgos importantes que son inherentes a la civilización humana. La inteligencia cívica también difiere de la inteligencia colectiva debido al papel esencial de la acción en la inteligencia cívica. La Inteligencia Cívica plantea la pregunta crítica: ¿Es la sociedad lo suficientemente inteligente como para enfrentar los desafíos que enfrenta?


La Inteligencia Cívica describe la forma en que los grupos de personas se dirigen a fines cívicos a través de medios cívicos. Como tal, es una perspectiva indispensable para el progreso social y ambiental. También es importante señalar que la inteligencia cívica toma diferentes formas a diferentes escalas. Puede existir a nivel global -las conversaciones sobre el clima en París en 2015, por ejemplo- y puede existir dentro de grupos, comunidades, una nación o, incluso, un solo individuo. La inteligencia cívica requiere aprendizaje y enseñanza. En mi Laboratorio de Investigación y Acción de Inteligencia Cívica en Evergreen los estudiantes trabajan juntos para usar y promover la inteligencia cívica a través de proyectos del "mundo real". Parece que la práctica de la inteligencia cívica es una de las mejores maneras de aprender sobre ella.


Si la inteligencia cívica es lo que necesitamos, ¿por qué no lo enfrentamos directa y explícitamente? Curiosamente muchas exploraciones en la inteligencia colectiva desautorizan el pensamiento consciente o la agencia del fenómeno. En otras palabras, las abejas o las hormigas, o incluso los moldes de limo pueden exhibir inteligencia colectiva, mientras que los seres humanos, que son capaces de reflexionar conscientemente sobre su pensamiento (metacognición) e incluso cambiarlo si quieren-no son dignos de consideración.


Lenguaje de patrones


La inteligencia es un producto de la co-adaptación al entorno en el que existe. Cuantos más factores en el entorno un agente debe atender, más compleja debe ser la inteligencia. En otras palabras, la inteligencia -el conjunto de procesos- refleja en gran medida su entorno. Los lenguajes de patrones están diseñados para explicar la complejidad del mundo en el que vivimos, proporcionando componentes comprensibles de nuestra "realidad" colectiva, las características del entorno que son importantes para nosotros. Los lenguajes de patrones pueden ayudar a situarnos en una mejor posición para pensar y actuar sin perder de vista el entorno más amplio. Por lo tanto, pueden ser vistos como herramientas para avanzar la inteligencia cívica.


Pero, ¿qué es exactamente un lenguaje de patrones? El concepto fue introducido en la década de 1970 a través de un libro revolucionario sobre el entorno construido llamado A Pattern Language (Alexander et al, 1977). El libro incluía 253 patrones que podrían ayudar a las personas a construir habitaciones, casas, edificios y ciudades que eran más hermosas y que afirmaban la vida. Cada patrón describe una relación entre las personas y el entorno construido que les ayudaría a resolver un problema que era el resultado del entorno construido. La idea era proporcionar patrones que las personas pudieran utilizar para desempeñar un papel más fuerte en el diseño del entorno físico en el que viven.


¿Qué es un patrón? En general, un patrón es algo que se repite. Generalmente pensamos en patrones visuales cuando pensamos en patrones. El tipo específico de patrones a que se refiere Alexander son generalizaciones de formas en las que la gente ha tratado históricamente los problemas con el tiempo. Un patrón puede ser pensado como una semilla para pensar. No le dice qué pensar o hacer, pero puede ayudarle a usted ya las personas con las que está trabajando para identificar oportunidades útiles. Un patrón contiene una descripción de una situación actual que necesita cambiar. También contiene una visión de un futuro más deseable, que el uso del patrón puede ayudar a crear. Alexander lo expresó de esta manera: "Cada patrón describe un problema que ocurre una y otra vez en nuestro entorno, y luego describe el núcleo de la solución a ese problema, de tal manera que usted puede usar esta solución un millón de veces, sin Siempre haciéndolo de la misma manera dos veces ".


Un lenguaje de patrones es simplemente una colección organizada de patrones. Los patrones de un lenguaje de patrones trabajan juntos para proporcionar una amplia gama de ideas que las personas pueden usar y han utilizado para ayudarles a resolver los problemas que les gustaría abordar. Los lenguajes de patrones proporcionan un marco para integrar ideas dispares pero interdependientes. Promuevo y uso lenguajes de patrones porque son útiles para representar la complejidad de los desafíos que enfrentamos y nos ayudan a considerar acciones. Se pretende que sean útiles en el diagnóstico y la prescripción y para proporcionar un lenguaje común.


Trabajando con un grupo de otros 85 colaboradores, desarrollamos el lenguaje de patrones de Voz Liberadora que contenía 136 patrones *, tales como Voces de los no escuchados, Viaje por carretera activista y Marco Estratégico. Proporcionan ideas para el cambio de las tendencias a menudo dominantes que sostienen la desigualdad y la degradación ambiental. Ese trabajo culminó en un libro (Schuler 2008) que contiene patrones para trabajar hacia metas positivas a través de un enfoque en la información y la comunicación. Idealmente, las personas y los grupos pueden usar estos patrones para convertir sus ideas y aspiraciones en acciones para un cambio social positivo. La esperanza es que los patrones pueden empoderar a la gente para ayudar a crear un futuro que sea inclusivo, saludable, respetuoso y más equitativo.


Avanzando


Los problemas que enfrentamos son increíblemente complejos e interconectados. Esperar que se derretirá sin imaginación colectiva, transfronteriza y trabajo duro no es una estrategia razonable. Abrazar la inteligencia cívica como una perspectiva puede ayudar a motivar e informar a la próxima generación de colaboración en la resolución de problemas. Por supuesto, la inteligencia cívica y el lenguaje de patrones no responden a todos nuestros problemas. Sin embargo, la esperanza es que puedan ayudarnos a reformular la naturaleza del enfoque colaborativo que necesitamos para abordar estos problemas con mayor eficacia. Con la perspectiva de la inteligencia cívica y con enfoques innovadores como los lenguajes de patrones podemos desarrollar nuevos proyectos cooperativos de investigación y acción, especialmente a través de los límites que son esenciales en nuestra búsqueda de una vida mejor para los habitantes de la tierra.



* Todos los patrones de Liberating Voices están disponibles en línea en inglés (http://www.publicsphereproject.org). Las versiones cortas de los patrones están disponibles en línea y en las tarjetas físicas que se pueden utilizar en talleres cara a cara. Estas versiones cortas de "tarjetas" ya están disponibles en línea en cinco idiomas además del inglés: árabe (http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns_arabic), chino (http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns_chinese), español (http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns_spanish(y vietnamita (http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns_vietnamese). En otra nota, varios años después de que el libro fue publicado mis estudiantes y yo desarrollamos un conjunto de 40 anti-patrones. Esta exploración en el "lado oscuro" ayudó a documentar formas en que las fuerzas opresoras trabajan hacia objetivos negativos (Schuler y Wagaman, 2013) y algo irónicamente fue una experiencia positiva para todos nosotros.

Referencias

Alexander, C. (1977). A Pattern Language: towns, buildings, construction. New York: Oxford University Press.
Alexander, C. (1979). The timeless way of building. New York: Oxford University Press.
Pea, R. D. (1993). Practices of distributed intelligence and designs for education. Distributed cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations, 11.
Schuler, D. (2001). Cultivating Society's Civic Intelligence: Patterns for a New "World Brain", Journal of Society, Information and Communication, Vol 4 No. 2
Schuler, D. (2008). Liberating Voices: A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution. MIT Press.
Schuler, D., and Wagaman, J. The Surprising Power, Vitality, and Potentiality of Examining the “Dark Side:" The Collaborative Production of the Restraining Voices Anti-Pattern Language in an Educational Setting. In Fall 2013 International PUARL Conference: Generative Processes, Patterns and the Urban Challenge. Neis H. (ed.). PUARL Press, Portland, OR, 2013. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Mobilization Story: Patterns for the Impending Emergency

Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017

The ascension of a TV personality with no governmental experience and a despotic and impulsive temperament to the presidency of the United States is not funny any more. His looming presence on the international stage can no longer be seen as the amusing if embarrassing distraction that it seemed—at least in the beginning—to provide to the nominating process. Unfortunately, it is now an emergency.

Any attempt to catalog the ways in which Trump has—and continues to—demonstrate his unsuitability is doomed to failure. The evidence seems to be mounting too quickly — and he has not yet been inaugurated. His nominations for cabinet posts tell quite a bit: for Education, he proposes a candidate who opposes public education; for State, he puts forward an executive in the oil industry; for Environmental Protection, a climate change denier; for Labor a fast food magnate.

Maddeningly, he is unwilling or unable to provide evidence or logical support for his many curious views. These include the fundamental benevolence of Russia and the fundamental malevolence of China among countless others. This is alarming of course but the fact that his followers and many elected officials of the Republican party do not seem to care or to ask for more explanation may be even more so.

 Is this the end of America's democratic experiment as many contemporary authors are speculating? The rejection of civic intelligence seems palpable and endemic. Yet, hopefully, the descent into chaos or worse is not inevitable. But if it is not, there must be very powerful counter currents. Therefore we must ask how quickly can a credible and peaceful — but forceful—resistance to his actions materialize? What form might it take? What roles should individuals and groups assume? What are their objectives?

 In my book, Liberating Voices: A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution I (and 85 contributors) presented 136 "patterns" for civic engagement. Each pattern acts as a seed for thought. The patterns are open-ended so groups can use them to develop ideas and actions that meet their specific needs.

 For the impending emergency that truly begins today, inauguration day, I have selected fourteen patterns that seem to be most relevant. I have put aside another thirty (listed below) which could help strengthen and build on the first set.

With these fourteen patterns as the base I have developed a narrative that weaves them together. (The pattern names are shown LIKE THIS.) The narrative describes one way that we collectively could use the patterns for thinking and acting in these strange times. But it is not the only one that can be developed. The patterns are intentionally open-ended and there are millions of ways they can be woven together to tell stories.

~~~~~

First and foremost, the election of Trump represents an enormous challenge to CIVIC INTELLIGENCE. The fact that Trump was elected demonstrates that our CIVIC INTELLIGENCE is currently deficient. To resist his policies it must be re-energized. And in the long run it must be inclusive and sustained if it is to equal to the challenges that we will inevitably be faced with in the future.

The mobilization should help prevent many of the oppressive intentions of Trump, his supporters, and the legislative bodies under his party's control. At the same time, ideally, the circumstances that gave rise to Trump's support—the anxiety, mistrust, anger, frustration, and fears of many Americans—should be addressed. Moreover, the general CIVIC INTELLIGENCE of the citizenry should be strengthened and institutionalized so as to avoid this type of emergency in the future.

It is absolutely vital not to succumb to hopelessness or cynicism. Instead, it is crucial that a SENSE OF STRUGGLE emerges that acknowledges the magnitude of the challenge while also providing motivation to persevere and to build community. This pattern was demonstrated within days after the election when PEACEFUL PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS sprouted up all over the country including one at the middle school in our neighborhood. These help show the size and strength of the rejection of the policies proposed by the president-elect to the world and also, significantly, to the participants themselves.

But proclaiming dissatisfaction is not enough. Many groups were vilified and threatened during the campaign and after. Accommodating the broad diversity of concerns and those who have those concerns will require a BIG TENT FOR SOCIAL CHANGE. And, at the same time, COMMUNITY NETWORKS must be animated to help ignite and perpetuate a sense of enduring solidarity. We are seeing this with neighborhood meetups and dinners and a lots and lots of new groups and projects that are helping to create new occasions for meaningful action.

Thinking about our actions and making meaning out of our situation is critical and everybody can participate. Why are we doing this? What do we expect to achieve? How do we describe our hopes and fears to others? How do we describe our connections to each other? This where THE POWER OF STORY comes in. From the times before the advent of writing to the present we conveyed meaning to each other with the stories we tell each other. One of the ways that the pattern can be used is through another pattern, VOICES OF THE UNHEARD, which reminds us that some voices have more access to the microphones and helps us work to ensure that these unheard voices are heard. This pattern in turn helps to support another pattern, ANTI-RACISM. During the campaign racism was employed overtly (immigrants from Latin America are rapists, Muslims are terrorists) and implicitly ("Make America Great Again"). To fight this we must from the beginning adopt an ANTI-RACISM approach.

Although our CIVIC CAPABILITIES always existed to some degree, they have been undervalued and underused by the citizenry. This has helped usher in these new unfortunate realities. On the other hand, with strengthened CIVIC CAPABILITIES we can better fight the damaging program of Trump and his allies. We can also reclaim and reconstitute a new PUBLIC AGENDA which must also be defended now and in the future. Although we have known for a long time that helping to define and enact the PUBLIC AGENDA is not the sole province of government it too has been neglected. And when citizens withdraw, corporations and other moneyed interests fill the gap. This new PUBLIC AGENDA reaffirms that the United States exists for the general welfare of its inhabitants, not for the private strip mining of its assets.

Many of the actions to counter the new types of oppression and ignorance seem to be organic and natural—and they are. We have done much of this before. Positive social change has been won before. But it is not won via a steady or predictable route. For that reason we must seriously evaluate and build our STRATEGIC CAPACITY. This means that examining the threats, the actions we need to take, the resources that we need, and look ahead, consciously building ideas that will allow modern day Davids to defeat modern day Goliaths. Goliaths notwithstanding, we are likely to find ourselves outside of our comfort zone as we move forward. EVERYDAY HEROISM describes the necessity of making this work somewhat routine. People who risk their life for a noble cause are heroes, but people who face smaller challenges, sometimes daily, are also heroes although their work is less commonly heralded.

As we all know, this election has exposed a great chasm of attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives. For that reason CONVERSATIONAL SUPPORT ACROSS BOUNDARIES becomes extremely important. Ideally the people who supported Trump are open to discussion to some degree; important discussions about the situations affecting families, jobs, health, and education must be had. And they must be open and direct, not circumvented via ideologically dictated media such as Fox News. Many other patterns in our library of patterns are directed towards reconciliation, some directly and some indirectly, and these also need to be consulted, customized, and deployed.

This is not a test. We now live in under emergency situations in which decisions are being made daily that affect the health, safety, and well-being of people everywhere. Democracy, human rights, and the rule of law are all imperiled, in the United States obviously, but around the world, indeed, in any place that is affected by actions of the US—everywhere, in other words.

Emergencies call for EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION SYSTEMS. But what is different about communication systems now, during this emergency? Although mainstream media is not entirely unreliable it probably is not adequate for our current needs. And, of course, historically around the world mainstream media has become compromised. A variety of other patterns in the pattern language provide some ideas as to what directions we can take.

The narrative described above is only one way to weave a story using the patterns. I encourage others to weave their own. Unfortunately, the patterns do not come with a guarantee. The hope is that is they can help unlock the ideas and aspirations that we need to help create a better world. The work is important and vast. Today is the day!


~~~~ Appendix ~~~~

All of the 136 Liberating Voices patterns can be found at http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns/lv. We also have cards (both physical and in paper form) that contain short versions of the patterns that are available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese. There are many other translations underway and we're always looking for translators.

The 14 Patterns selected for the mobilization story above are below:



The 31 additional patterns to be employed soon are below: 






Friday, January 6, 2017

Collective Intelligence, Civic Intelligence, and Pattern Languages


Preface to a book by the Seminario Visiones sobre las Mediaciones Tecnológicas de la Educación group at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

I rely on collective intelligence, civic intelligence, and pattern languages in my everyday and professional life. Beyond that those approaches represent important opportunities that can help us as we attempt to dig ourselves out of the quagmire we've created for ourselves. Although it took awhile to identify them and put them to use, these concepts have served me well: they have helped me to inform and shape my teaching with a perspective and practice that I believe is useful, rich, and empowering. And they have helped me make some sense of the world and see possibilities for improving it.My working hypothesis is that one of the most significant problems we face is that our inability to face significant problems. Our tools do not seem to be adequate for the task. We do not have the right paradigms, theories, or vocabulary to think about this problem holistically. We do not have the adequate facilities to collectively recognize problems, understand them, and mobilize to circumvent them. This is the issue that I have chosen to focus on: what should we do to develop the civic intelligence that we need for life in the 21st century? Focusing on this issue has helped open up new questions, avenues, and opportunities that led to understandings that would not have been revealed without that focus.

Collective Intelligence

To understand collective and civic intelligence, it makes sense to first establish a definition of intelligence in general: An integrated set of processes that enable an agent to act in ways that are appropriate to the agent's goals and to the environment that it perceives and acts within — particularly areas that present actual or potential challenges or opportunities. I use that definition of intelligence because it helps us see the phenomenon in a way that is consistent with science. It also highlights the idea that intelligence is a dynamic and flexible process (or, more accurately, a set of processes), not a phenomenon that simply exists, or is a characteristic that can be summed up using a simple numeric value.

Collective intelligence (sometimes called distributed intelligence) places the focus on the fact that groups of people—not only individuals—employ and exhibit intelligence. Collective intelligence puts a name on this extremely important phenomenon. After all, as Roy Pea (1993) points out, "Anyone who has closely observed the practices of cognition is struck with the fact that the ‘mind” never works alone. The intelligences revealed through these practices are distributed – across minds, persons, and the symbolic and physical environments, both natural and artificial."

A simple example: I used to work at Boeing, a corporation that designs and builds airplanes (and other things too). At fairly regular intervals the corporation determines that it needs to think about their next airplane. A small group of people would sketch out a concept for an airplane that did not yet exist— how many miles could it would fly without refueling, how many seats it would have, what type of fuel economy would it have, etc. — and a few years later one would actually fly, generally followed by a lot more. This achievement involves an integrated set of processes involving tens of thousands of people; the collective perceived its environment, marshaled resources, successfully coordinated its activities, and learned important information throughout the process. Clearly it acts as an intelligent agent. A bunch of uncoordinated people could not design and build a modern airplane. And while we do talk about the intelligence of individuals, in reality it is nearly impossible to think of a person's intelligence (which is not what's measured by IQ tests) as being separate from other people.

Our complex circumstances force us to think more seriously about our collective intelligence. There are two primary reasons: The first is that because collective intelligence defines the social reality that we live within; the second is because we absolutely depend on it. Collective intelligence is a requirement for survival but not just any type of collective intelligence.

Civic Intelligence

Civic intelligence can be thought of as a type of collective intelligence but the two are not identical. Civic intelligence describes what happens when people work together to address significant shared problems equitably as well as efficiently. It is not about solving puzzles with clearly defined solutions. We use the term "equitably" because that is what is appropriate for this type of intelligence. It makes no sense to consider intelligence as it is enacted in the social world as a purely "rational" exercise that takes place in the absence of values, justice, respect, and other important features that are inherent in human civilization. Civic intelligence also differs from collective intelligence because of the essential role of action in civic intelligence. Civic Intelligence raises the critical question: Is society smart enough to meet the challenges it faces? 


Civic Intelligence describes how well groups of people address civic ends through civic means. As such it is an indispensable perspective for social and environmental progress. It is also important to note that civic intelligence takes different forms at different scales. It can exist at the global level—the climate talks in Paris in 2015, for example—and it can exist within groups, communities, a nation, or, even, a single individual. Civic intelligence requires learning and teaching. In my ongoing Civic Intelligence Research and Action Laboratory at Evergreen students work together to use and promote civic intelligence through "real world" projects. It seems that practicing civic intelligence is one of the best ways to learn about it.


If civic intelligence is what we need then why do not we face it directly and explicitly? Curiously many explorations in collective intelligence disallow conscious thought or agency from the phenomenon. In other words, bees or ants, Or even slime molds can exhibit collective intelligence while humans, who are able to consciously reflect on their thinking (metacognition) and even change it if they want—are not worthy of consideration. 

Pattern Languages

Intelligence is a product of co-adaptation to the environment in which it exists. The more factors in the environment that an agent must attend to, the more complex the intelligence must be. In other words, the intelligence – the set of processes– reflects its environment to a large degree. Pattern languages are designed to account for the complexity of the world that we live in by providing comprehensible components of our collective ”reality,” the features in the environment that are important to us. Pattern languages can help put us in a better position to think and act without losing sight of the broader environment. Hence, they can be seen as tools for advancing civic intelligence.

But what exactly is a pattern language? The concept was introduced in the 1970s through a revolutionary book about the built environment called A Pattern Language (Alexander et al, 1977). The book included 253 patterns that could help people build rooms, houses, buildings, and towns that were more beautiful and life-affirming. Each pattern describes a relationship between people and the built environment that would help them solve a problem that was a result of the built environment. The idea was to provide patterns that people could use to play a stronger role in the design of the physical environment in which they live. 

What's a pattern? In general, a pattern is something that repeats.  We generally think about visual patterns when we think about patterns. The specific kind of patterns that Alexander refers to are generalizations of ways in which people have historically addressed problems over time. A pattern can be thought of as a seed for thinking. It does not tell you what to think or do, but it can help you and the people you are working with to identify useful opportunities. A pattern contains a description of a current situation that needs to change. It also contains a vision of a more desirable future, one that using the pattern can help create. Alexander expressed it this way: “Each pattern describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.”

A pattern language is simply an organized collection of patterns. The patterns in a pattern language work together to provide a wide range of ideas that people can use — and have used — to help them address the problems that they'd like to address. Pattern languages provide a framework for integrating disparate but interdependent ideas together. I promote and use pattern languages because they are useful for representing the complexity of the challenges we face and help us consider actions. They are intended to be useful in diagnosis and prescription and to provide a common language. 
 
Working with a group of 85 other contributors we developed the Liberating Voices pattern language that contained 136 patterns*, such as Voices of the Unheard, Activist Road Trip, and Strategic Frame. They provide ideas for shifting out of the often dominant trends that sustain inequality and environmental degradation. That work culminated in a book (Schuler 2008) containing patterns for working toward positive goals through a focus on information and communication. Ideally people and groups can use these patterns to turn their ideas and aspirations into actions for positive social change. The hope is that the patterns can empower people to help create a future that is inclusive, healthy, respectful, and more equitable. 

Moving Forward 

The problems we face are incredibly complex and interconnected. Hoping that they will melt away without collective, cross-border imagination and hard work is not a reasonable strategy. Embracing civic intelligence as a perspective can help motivate and inform the next generation of collaborative problem-solving. Civic intelligence and the pattern language approach will of course not answer all of our problems. The hope is, however, that they can help us reformulate the nature of the collaborative approach we need to address these problems more effectively. With the civic intelligence perspective and with innovative approaches such as the pattern languages we can develop new cooperative research and action projects, especially across boundaries that are essential in our quest for a better life for the earth's inhabitants.

* All of the patterns in Liberating Voices are available online in English (http://www.publicsphereproject.org/patterns/lv). Short versions of the patterns are available online and in physical cards that can be used in face-to-face workshops. These short "card" versions are now available online in five languages in addition to English: Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese. On another note, several years after the book was published my students and I developed a set of 40 anti-patterns. This exploration into the "dark side" helped document ways in which oppressive forces work toward negative goals (Schuler and Wagaman 2013) and somewhat ironically was a positive experience for all of us.

References

Alexander, C. (1977). A Pattern Language: towns, buildings, construction. New York: Oxford University Press.
Alexander, C. (1979). The timeless way of building. New York: Oxford University Press.
Pea, R. D. (1993). Practices of distributed intelligence and designs for education. Distributed cognitions: Psychological and educational considerations, 11.
Schuler, D. (2001). Cultivating Society's Civic Intelligence: Patterns for a New "World Brain", Journal of Society, Information and Communication, Vol 4 No. 2
Schuler, D. (2008). Liberating Voices: A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution. MIT Press.

Schuler, D., and Wagaman, J. The Surprising Power, Vitality, and Potentiality of Examining the “Dark Side:" The Collaborative Production of the Restraining Voices Anti-Pattern Language in an Educational Setting. In Fall 2013 International PUARL Conference: Generative Processes, Patterns and the Urban Challenge. Neis H. (ed.). PUARL Press, Portland, OR, 2013. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

How civic intelligence can teach what it means to be a citizen

Douglas Schuler, Evergreen State College

This political season, citizens will be determining who will represent them in the government. This, of course, includes deciding who will be the next president, but also who will serve in thousands of less prominent positions.

But is voting the only job of a citizen? And if there are others, what are they? Who decides who will do the other jobs – and how they should be done?

The concept of “civic intelligence” tries to address such questions.

I’ve been researching and teaching the concept of “civic intelligence” for over 15 years. Civic intelligence can help us understand how decisions in democratic societies are made now and, more importantly, how they could be made in the future.

For example, my students and I used civic intelligence as the focus for comparing colleges and universities. We wanted to see how well schools helped educate their students for civic engagement and social innovation and how well the schools themselves supported this work within the broader community.

My students also practiced civic intelligence, as the best way of learning it is through “real world” projects such as developing a community garden at a high school for incarcerated youth.

So what is civic intelligence? And why does it matter?

Understanding civic intelligence

Civic intelligence describes what happens when people work together to address problems efficiently and equitably. It’s a wide-ranging concept that shows how positive change happens. It can be applied anywhere – from the local to the global – and could take many forms.

For example, civic intelligence was seen in practice when representatives of the world’s governments created and unanimously approved a global action plan last year in Paris. While climate change remains an immense threat, this global cooperation involving years of dedicated debate and discussion produced a common framework for action for worldwide reduction of greenhouse gases.

Civic intelligence describes when people work together to address problems. Takver, CC BY-SA

Another example is that of mayors around the world establishing networks such as the Global Parliament of Mayors to bring elected officials together on a regular basis to discuss issues facing cities, such as housing, transportation and air quality. One of these networks, the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, was launched when representatives of the world’s 40 largest cities wanted to collaborate to address climate change.

Similarly, millions of researchers, teachers, artists, other individuals and NGOs worldwide are working to improve their cities and communities. These efforts are amazingly diverse.

In one such case, groups of church members and others from the community in Olympia, Washington, worked for several years with homeless people and families to develop affordable housing solutions. And in Brooklyn, a group of young people started an experimental School of the Future to develop their ideas on what schools could or should be.

What’s the history?

The term “civic intelligence” was first used in English in 1898 by an American clergyman Josiah Strong in his book “The Twentieth Century City” when he wrote of a “dawning social self-consciousness.”

Untold numbers of people have been thinking and practicing civic intelligence without using the term. A brief look at some notable efforts reveals some historic approaches to its broader vision. Let’s take a few:

Laurie Chipps, CC BY-ND
  • John Dewey, the prominent social scientist, educator and public intellectual, was absorbed for much of his long professional life with understanding how people pool their knowledge to address the issues facing them.

  • The American activist and reformer Jane Addams, who in 1889 cofounded the Hull House in Chicago, which housed recent immigrants from Europe, pioneered scores of civically intelligent efforts. These included free lectures on current events, Chicago’s first public playground and a wide range of cultural, political and community research activities.

Civic intelligence today

There are more contemporary approaches as well. These include:

  • Sociologist Xavier de Souza Briggs’ research on how people from around the world have integrated the efforts of civil society, grassroots organizations and government to create sustainable communities.

  • With a slightly different lens, researcher Jason Corburn has examined how “ordinary” people in economically underprivileged neighborhoods have used “Street Science” to understand and reduce disease and environmental degradation in their communities.

  • Elinor Ostrom, recently awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, has studied how groups of people from various times and places managed resources such as fishing grounds, woodlots and pastures by working together collectively to preserve the livelihoods’ sources for future generations.

Making use of civic intelligence

Civic intelligence is generally an attribute of groups. It’s a collective capability to think and work together.

Advocates and practitioners of civic intelligence (as well as many others) note that the risks of the 21st century, which include climate change, environmental destruction and overpopulation, are quantitatively and qualitatively unlike the risks of prior times. They hypothesize that these risks are unlikely to be addressed satisfactorily by government and other leaders without substantial citizen engagement.

Civic intelligence reminds us that citizens assume responsibility. Gonzale, CC BY-NC

They argue that with or without formal invitations, the citizen must assume more responsibility for the state of the world, especially since in some cases the leaders themselves are part of the problem.

“Ordinary” people could bring many civic skills to the public sphere, such as innovation, compassion and heroism that are indispensable to the decision-making processes.

That is what brought about changes such as human rights, overturning slavery and the environmental movement. These were initiated not by businesses or governments, but by ordinary people.

Twenty-first century civics

The civics classes that are required in the public schools mostly focus on conventional political processes. They might teach about governance in a more conventional way, such as how many senators there are (100) or how long their terms are (six years). But self-governance needs more than that.

At a basic level, “governance” happens when neighborhood groups, nonprofit organizations or a few friends come together to help address a shared concern.

Their work can take many forms, including writing, developing websites, organizing events or demonstrations, petitioning, starting organizations and, even, performing tasks that are usually thought of as “jobs for the government.”

And sometimes “governance” could even mean breaking some rules, possibly leading to far-reaching reforms. For example, without civil disobedience, the U.S. might still be a British colony. And African-Americans might still be forced to ride in the back of the bus.

As a discipline, civic intelligence provides a broad focus that incorporates ideas and findings from many fields of study. It involves people from all walks of life, different cultures and circumstances.

A focus on civic intelligence could lead directly to social engagement. I believe understanding civic intelligence could help address the challenges we must face today and tomorrow.

The Conversation

Douglas Schuler, Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies, Evergreen State College

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.