N e x t N o w Collaboratory

Connective Intelligence for Collective Action

Archive for May, 2009

NextNow Collaboratory and “Summer of Peace” Initiative: Attend “Cities of Peace” June 10

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on May 27, 2009

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NextNow Collab is exploring collaboration with Summer of Peace, a 501(c)3 project of the Tides Foundation.  (I’m leading the collaboration with sponsor organization Global Coherence Initiative and part of the science team).  This is a comprehensive initiative that will start in San Francisco as the first city/first summer of peace in 2010, and Cities of Peace is the first event of several leading up to that summer.  It’s a free event with opportunity to make a voluntary contribution.  From the website:

Imagine… gathering the most inspirational peacemakers and the most effective peace-building programs from around the world to light up the San Francisco Bay Area for a celebratory summer that creates measurable reductions in crime and violence.

Imagine… whole cities making a commitment to peace that addresses the root causes of violence, harnesses the creativity of citizens, and strengthens cross-sector alliances.

Imagine… the passion of activism married with the pragmatism of science and the wisdom of spiritual practice, working in concert with proven educational and grassroots programs to create lasting change.

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In the city that birthed the United Nations, helped launch the International Day of Peace, and was named for the peaceful St. Francis, we invite you to an important new event that addresses how the Bay Area can lead the way in reducing rates of violence in our nation. We’ll explore creating a movement in which citizens, non-profits, government and business can work together to create a powerful shift to a more creative and collaborative culture of peace.

Get involved in making the Bay Area a pioneer in peace-building and a shining
example of collaborative community!

Co-sponsors: The Peace Alliance, Urban Peace Movement, Change SF, Pathways to Peace, Institute of Noetic Sciences, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Global Coherence Initiative.

Host Committee: Josh Becker, Krishanti Dharmaraj, Urusa Fahim, James Hanusa, Dorka Keehn, Regina Kulik Scully, Avon Mattison, Bonny Meyer, Devaa Haley Mitchell, Lora O’Connor, Rachel Pfeffer, Adrienne Pon, Sudeep Motupalli Rao, Lateefah Simon, Maya Dillard Smith, Claudia Welss.

RSVP: The main public event is free, but you will need to RSVP in order to guarantee your seat. We expect a full house.  RSVP at www.sopjune.eventbrite.com Everyone who attends will be invited (and hopefully inspired!) to make a financial contribution but it is not required.

Posted in Member Event | 3 Comments »

Brower Center Community Event: The Economics of Happiness

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on May 26, 2009

In an earlier post we announced that NextNow Collab is part of the Sustainable Enterprise Cluster at the new David Brower Center in Berkeley.

Part of the Brower Center’s mission is to foster community and collaboration including through the offering of informative and inspiring events on site.  On June 3 Helena Nordberg-Hodge will be presenting a free talk, screening and reception based on her new documentary film, “The Economics of Happiness.”  I know some of our NextNowers support the Dalai Lama Foundation’s Project Happiness (including Jim Schuyler, who is the their CTO–his latest blog post features the Study Guide for Ethics for the New Millenium).  Please come.

You can follow the schedule of upcoming programs here.

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NextNow’s Zann Gill on Evolution, Sustainability, and Collaboration

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on May 25, 2009

Our own Zann Gill recently recorded this video preview of her book, What Daedalus Told Darwin:  Darwin’s Dilemma and Designing Intelligence.

Zann was exploring evolution as a way to help understand the creative process, and ultimately was led to flip her inquiry:  might an understanding of design help shed light on the process of evolution?  Asking this question instead eventually helped her build on the case that Darwinism may have misrepresented Darwin (by attributing to him an extreme view–that all evolutionary change was a product of “survival of the fittest,”–which he apparently never held), that socioeconomic paradigms can and sometimes do shape the interpretation of scientific findings (and not just vice versa), and that if we dare question the logic of “survival of the fittest” (and examine its relationship to the tragedy of the commons,) we may find that elevating the status of collaboration to equal competition is as natural as accepting the importance of a balance between left and right brains–and as critical to our survival.  My favorite phrase for this balance is Elisabet’s Sahtouris’ “negotiated self-interest,” which she coined more than ten years ago to describe the need for self-interest to be tempered by a recognition of and respect for the common interest.  As obvious as this idea seems today, as a society we have still not embraced it–evidence of this is everywhere–which is likely a reason why Zann wrote this book.

The following 10 minute clip captures key ideas from recent talks at Google, NASA Ames Research Center, Stanford University Media X & SRI Artificial Intelligence Center. More at http://zanngill.com and http://desyn.com; also, see the 48 minute video from her November 2009 presentation on the Google Tech Talks Channel (abstract included below).

Here’s a description of the talk she gave earlier this year at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at National University of Ireland:

social nets, semantic webs & evolving systems

Researchers have analyzed how social networks operate, from small organizations to nations and networks of people connected by similar values and objectives. But insufficient attention has been paid to harnessing social networks for cross-disciplinary, collaborative problem-solving. 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth and 150th anniversary of his publication of Origin of Species. The theory of evolution is seen by many as the greatest theoretical breakthrough of all time.

Zann Gill will introduce findings that call for a more complete interpretation of Darwin’s theory (Stephen Jay Gould thought “Darwinism” misrepresented Darwin) and argue that this more complete interpretation of Darwin’s theory would drive sustainable development and offer a model for seeding and evolving “innovation networks” to develop smart systems for eco-sustainability at the intersection of ICT and green tech.
Here’s the abstract from Google Tech Talk:

Google Tech Talks
November 20, 2008


Highly innovative organizations face a constant challenge to process a flood of good ideas, both generated by employees and submitted from outside. In the wake of Google’s Tenth Birthday Competition, this talk describes how innovation networks apply principles found in life’s origins and evolution to “processing innovation.” Debates about how novelty emerged in the origin of life and its evolution toward complexity demand revising assumptions that we’ve taken for granted. Steven Jay Gould said that “Darwinism” misrepresents Darwin.

A more complete interpretation of Darwin’s theory of evolution could inspire new problem-solving methods with a range of practical applications, from multi-agent systems able to learn and improve their performance to cross-disciplinary decision support systems designed to address environmental sustainability challenges. Objective. To discuss nine principles of innovation networks and the problem-solving method they support.

Posted in Social Tech, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

NextNow Collab Visualization Expert Bonnie DeVarco at Stanford Media X May 18, 2009

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on May 10, 2009

Bonnie DeVarco, co-founder of NextNowNetwork and the collaboratory’s visualization technology guru has worked with Dr. Katy Börner, Elisha F. Hardy and others to co-create an experience at Stanford that inspires cross-disciplinary discussion on how best to track and communicate human activity and scientific progress on a global scale. The exhibit tour and discussion will be at Stanford’s Media X on May 18; the exhibit remains until December 31, 2009.

The Stanford Press Release and a description of Bonnie’s discussion follows.  Also see Bonnie’s blog, Scale Independent Thought, for her deep reflections on the topic.

Image courtesy www.abeautifulwww.com.  Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge. Science Related Wikipedian Activity map featured in the Third Iteration of Places & Spaces by Bruce W. Herr II, Todd Holloway, Katy Börner, Elisha F. Hardy, Kevin Boyack (2007). Image courtesy http://www.abeautifulwww.com.


May 8, 2009
Contact: Martha Russell, Associate Director, Media X at Stanford University: 650-723-1616.  martha.russell@stanford.edu

Art And Technology Of Science Visualizations Celebrated On May 18th At Wallenberg Hall By Media X At Stanford University

STANFORD, CALIFORNIA, May 8, 2009 — Media X at Stanford University is pleased to announce that the broadly praised international exhibition, Places & Spaces – Mapping Science, will be exhibited in Wallenberg Hall from April 20 to December 31, 2009 with a seminar, an opening reception, discussion and tour on Monday May 18th from 4 pm to 6:30 pm.

Places & Spaces highlights the rapidly growing genre of science maps based on large scale data sets. “The art, science and understanding of visualization technologies and their application have enabled new insights about complex issues to be shared with broad communities,” states Media X Executive Director Charles House.  “This new exhibit has turned Wallenberg Hall into a gallery setting that complements the world class visualization work on the Stanford campus in campus labs such as the Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCI) and the Spatial History Project.” http://hci.stanford.edu/people/  http://spatialhistory.stanford.edu/

Curated by Dr. Katy Börner, director of the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center at Indiana University and her colleague, Elisha F. Hardy, Places & Spaces was created to inspire cross-disciplinary discussion on how best to track and communicate human activity and scientific progress on a global scale.  According to Börner “This exhibit introduces people to the power of maps to navigate physical spaces as well as abstract spaces of our collective scholarly knowledge.”

The exhibition has two components. The physical component allows close visual inspection through high-quality prints. The online counterpart at http://scimaps.org/ provides links to a selected series of maps and their makers along with detailed explanations of why these maps work.

Each year 10 new maps are added, which will result in 100 maps total by 2014. Marking its fifth year traveling around the world, the 40 maps will be joined by the “Fifth Iteration” of the Places & Spaces exhibit. Media X at Stanford University is proud to sponsor and debut 10 new maps based on this year’s theme, “Science Maps for Science Policy Makers,” on May 18.

Media X will host a reception and tour of the Places & Spaces exhibition in Wallenberg Hall from 5 pm to 6:30 pm, immediately following a seminar on Visualization Convergence for Collective, Connective and Distributed Intelligence by Bonnie DeVarco, Media X Distinguished Visiting Scholar.  The seminar is part of the 2009 Media X Sun Microsystems Spring Seminar Series, http://mediax.stanford.edu/spring09_seminar_series.html.  Both the seminar and the reception are open to the Stanford academic community and the general public.

The reception will include a description by Stanford Computer Science Assistant Professor Jeffrey Heer of new visualization initiatives underway at Stanford, and his graduate students will present excerpts of their exciting new work in data visualization in a featured poster session.

Live teleconferences with Dr. Börner and several of the mapmakers themselves will introduce the new iteration, “Science Maps for Science Policy Makers.” The physical exhibit is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm. The full schedule of Media X Spring Seminars and workshops offered in the Summer Institute at Wallenberg Hall can be seen here:

Relevant Web URLs:
•    Media X http://mediax.stanford.edu
•    Places & Spaces Exhibition http://www.scimaps.org

About Media X
Media X is a membership program of the HSTAR Institute – Human Sciences Technology Advanced Research – at Stanford University. Programs and activities of Media X bridge academic and industrial research at the intersection of people and information technologies. The Wallenberg Learning Center is the premiere international teaching facility on the Stanford campus. Housed in the Main Quad, it is equipped with multiple high-tech classrooms and lecture halls.

Directions to Wallenberg Hall: http://wallenberg.stanford.edu/top/location.html

Visualization Convergence for Collective, Connective, and Distributed  Intelligence
Bonnie DeVarco

Today’s leading edge information and  geographic visualization technologies are rapidly becoming  instruments for connective intelligence on the World Wide Web.  People can now easily travel around Earth and through space on their  computers and mobile devices with the ubiquitous tool Google Earth.  At the same time, new data visualization tools allow us  to travel through the patterns of shared knowledge and scholarship using new mapping methods that are both pragmatic and  illuminating.  Whether tracking and predicting epidemics,  making national policy decisions, or identifying emerging scientific  paradigms, these new maps and visualization methodologies are  effective tools for clear thinking and collective action.   Bonnie will survey the recent history of these tools, their networks  of users, and their current state-of-practice.  She will also  present and discuss new trends, showing how these technologies are  converging and amplifying their importance for global communication  and collaboration.

Posted in Collective Intelligence, Digital Earth, Member Event, Sustainability | 4 Comments »

NextNow Collab Joins Sustainability Cluster in the New David Brower Center

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on May 10, 2009

Picture 43NextNow Collaboratory adds a second office by joining the Sustainable Enterprise Cluster at the new David Brower Center, one of the Bay Area’s most advanced green buildings.  The building developers, Equity Community Builders, also developed San Francisco’s Thoreau Center for Sustainability.  Situated right across the street from the University of California, Berkeley, the DBC considers itself the region’s hub for environmental and social action.  It was conceived as a physical space that will foster collaboration among tenants and with the larger community, help catalyze a broader population in advocacy, and facilitate cross-sector communication and solutions. 

We’re thrilled to be part of this community that includes Earth Island Institute, The Center for Ecoliteracy, and The Redford Center, as well as several for-profit companies dedicated to facilitating the shift.

Picture 44We went to the (sold out) Housewarming Benefit Party last night, and made a short film right before leaving when the crowd had thinned and it was possible to get a bit of a view of the interior.  My favorite parts are the courtyard, the atrium (which has great gallery space for which we’ve already submitted a proposal for a mapping science exhibit), and the Goldman Theatre.  There’s a slight lack of uniformity among the color of the theatre seats–a few different shades of red, which actually looks fantastic)–because the fabric is all recycled.

When you come to visit, put this in the category of “Don’t Miss” (and still “Coming Soon”):  Building Dashboard: Our interactive Building Dashboard will make the Brower Center’s energy consumption transparent by allowing the Center, our tenants and our visitors to monitor the building’s energy “vital signs” in real time right from this site. Check out our consumption right now, or look at consumption patterns over time. Compare our building’s usage with another monitored building. And get an in-depth look at the green design features that help reduce our impact on the planet.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Update and Save the Date: State of the World Forum in Washington D.C.

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on May 6, 2009

NextNow Collab is joined by Club of Budapest, CSR Wire, Earth Policy Institute, EnlightenNext, EthicalMarkets, Friends of the Earth, GaiaSoft, Integral Institute, New York Open Center, Ode Magazine, Pachamama Alliance, Presidential Climate Action Project, Resilient Cities Initiative and a growing host of others in partnering to convene the 2009 State of the World Forum.  This is the launch of a 10-year plan of committed action to transform our economy, our world, and ourselves in relation to each other and the natural world.  To register, visit the website; to explore collaboration, please contact me at cwelssatnextnowdotnet.  Watch for our announcement in the upcoming issue of NextNow Collab partner Imaging Notes:

This SWF announcement will appear in the upcoming issue of NextNow Collab partner Imaging Notes

This SWF announcement will appear in the upcoming issue of NextNow Collab partner Imaging Notes

Posted in Democracy, Digital Earth, Economic Justice, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »


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