“NextNow Collaboratory is an interesting example of a new kind of collective intelligence: an Internet-enabled, portable social network, easily transferable from one social cause to another.”
Thomas W. Malone, Director, MIT Center for Collective Intelligence
“NextNow or Never!”
NextNower Kenny Ausubel, co-Founder, Bioneers
NextNow Collaboratory is a collaboration lab for cultivating connective intelligence for collective action toward a world that works for all. We focus on contributing to social benefit projects emphasizing innovative information visualization and collaboration technologies to benefit the planet.
Making the Invisible Visible™-Our Core Function
Visualizing information is key to discerning the meaning hiding in complexity. Information visualization technologies deepen discovery by communicating layers of information and revealing systems and their interconnections effectively and viscerally. Whether it’s the loss of arable land, the displacement of populations due to conflict, the Pacific Plastic Gyres, or the collective effects of human stress, these technologies illuminate the larger story–and our relationship to it–by making the previously unseen, seen–by making the invisible, visible. This revelation can lead to huge and immediate shifts in awareness. Once awareness shifts, collaboration technologies help enable collective action reflecting the new awareness. This possibility is at the heart of NextNow Collaboratory projects.
NextNow is both a purposeful social network with a social purpose (NextNowNetwork/NNN) and a collaboration laboratory. The social network intends to accelerate the identification of synergies in the web of relationships it represents to help transform our collective present, and began in January of 2003. In September 2006, the collaboratory was established by NNN cofounder Claudia Welss to help tap those synergies for social benefit — to help keep them “on-purpose” and mobilize them for collective action.
NextNow Collaboratory matches needs with resources by mobilizing the social, intellectual, creative and financial capital, energy and good will available in our diverse and growing “network of networks” to co-create selected projects.
Our first big project was to collaborate with the International Society for Digital Earth on producing the 5-day Fifth Annual International Symposium on Digital Earth (the first held in the United States) at the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. Please see NNC page on Digital Earth, and posts here and here. (Photo above by Eileen Clegg, Visual Insight, for NextNow Collab/ISDE5.)
We’re also interested in co-creating the “next now” of collaboratories with others who sense the immense potential in evolving the concept and practice of collaboration towards co-evolving a consciously created future.
NextNow Collaboratory began as a fiscal project of 501(c)(3) Planetwork, whose mission since 1998 has been “Networking a Sustainable Future.” Planetwork was a perfect match for launching us because they’re about networking a sustainable future by exploring how the creative application of digital tools can open new possibilities for positive global change, and we’re about exploring how the conscious, creative leveraging of human networks sharing those tools can create collaborations with the potential to liberate collective wisdom for positive social change. In 2011, NNC joined Community Ventures, a K2 Law Group 501(c)3 specializing in fiscal sponsorship.
Our collab location is in the Strawberry Creek Design Center in Berkeley, CA, USA, with an office in the Sustainable Enterprise Cluster at the David Brower Center, the first LEED Platinum certified building in the East Bay (Berkeley). [Closed as of 2020]
Founder and ED of NextNow Collaboratory/cofounder of NextNowNetwork, Claudia Welss
Working at the intersection of consciousness, technology, human-earth energetics, and large-scale social change since 2000, Claudia spent the previous ten years at the nexus of sustainability and business, including at UC Berkeley. A turning point was being invited by IONS president-emeritus Willis Harman in 1995 to join an international, 5-year inquiry at the Fetzer Institute on Peacebuilding through Business, reporting its results to the United Nations in 2000. This led to her commitment to cultivating both inner and outer technologies — addressing not only symptoms, but cause — for world change. In 2012 she became founding chair of the Invest In Yourself initiative at the Nexus Global Network in Washington, D.C., which is still dedicated to advancing the potential of next-generation leaders by focusing on the inner dimensions of leadership, and exploring the relationship between personal and planetary change. NEXUS is comprised of over 6,000 young global philanthropists, social impact investors, social entrepreneurs and influencers operating in over 40 countries, focused on creating global solutions to our most pressing challenges.
On the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) external research faculty since 2004, she’s currently Chairman of the IONS Board of Directors, also chairing the Board Science committee, and was a funder and an advisor to the IONS Innovation Lab. She’s on the board of Space for Humanity and is a founding director for the Global Coherence Initiative (an effort to scale individual coherence to social and planetary levels), where she funded the prototype magnetometer sensor for the sensor network, and is on the team developing the Global Consciousness Project 2.0 which is leveraging the GCI network and building a new generation of random number generators (RNGs) and tree sensors in an attempt to identify correlations between changes in the sensor networks and critical mass movements of collective attention and emotion within humanity.
Claudia is a contributing author of the 2020 Nautilus Book Award-winning anthology “Our Moment of Choice” (Simon & Schuster) and advises many emergent projects including World Future Coin; she helped to build the field of “subtle activism” as part of the Gaiafield Project and Subtle Activism Network, is a member of Evolutionary Leaders and an advisor to the Plastic Pollution Coalition (itself born of NextNow Collab’s Trash Island project). Her efforts supporting and guiding initiatives that promote transformative awareness leading to collective action have included Techne Verde (now a project of Buckminster Fuller Institute) and the Flow Genome Project’s Flow Dojo. Failure is a regular part of the collaboratory process, for example the digital temple Amplifield. She was a board member of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution where she spent two years working on FCE’s “Synergy Engine” concept, and is founder/executive director of NextNow Collaboratory (NNC), a collaboration lab for supporting social synergy and connective intelligence. NNC co-creates with projects using information-visualization tools (to raise awareness about the relationship between human activity/states of being and Earth/Earth field changes), and collaboration tools to mobilize action aligned with raised awareness. NNC defining project was producing the 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth at UC Berkeley, the only ISDE symposium held in the United States.
Previously, Claudia was director of the Center for Executive Development at the Haas School of Business, University of California Berkeley, developing, directing and delivering programs on strategy for global corporate clients, where her personal mission was to leverage her previous experience with Business for Social Responsibility to pioneer university-based CSR program content. While at Haas (1993-99), she received the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award for programmatic innovations that led to exponential growth and a number-one rating for the Center’s flagship program, the Berkeley Executive Program. Before UC Berkeley, Claudia worked with Business for Social Responsibility in San Francisco.
“My favorite opportunity at UC Berkeley was to establish the need for corporate social responsibility (CSR) was in our month-long programs exploring strategy at the nexus of business, economics, technology, politics, and the natural and socio-cultural environments using scenario planning methodologies. Normally considered irrelevant at best and a threat at worst, business as a catalyst of positive social change and environmental restoration became necessary to consider when using the scenario-planning and strategy development process developed with Peter Schwartz (Global Business Network) and Paul Schoemaker (Wharton). This process allowed for testing usually untested assumptions about the business of wealth-creation (even asking, ‘what IS wealth?’), and raised awareness of the implications of those assumptions for business and the society and environment on which business depends. I brought into the university environment emerging concepts such as the Cultural Creatives subculture, green and alternative economies, and new quality of life indicators as potential harbingers of the reality in which corporate leaders would be asked to lead their organizations. Tools such as new global reference currencies, heart-brain entrainment, environmental dashboards and new paradigms such as the Natural Step became examples of emergent support. My goal was to help transform industry by creating university-based educational opportunities to explicitly consider the role of business as social innovator, encouraging holistic views and practices promoting both commercial success and regenerative personal, social and environmental conditions.”
In the book Informal Learning by NextNow member Jay Cross, there is a paragraph about Claudia’s early experience with HeartMath tools as a director of executive development at Haas School of Business, UCB:
“.. In 1995, Claudia brought Heartmath into the executive program at UC Berkeley. The participating CEO’s and business unit heads were expected to return to their organizations with hard solutions to complex global problems, not theories about ‘soft stuff’ like the role of heart intelligence in decision-making. When the topic was introduced there was a stunned silence and the usual signs of withdrawal—heads turning to look out windows, people suddenly realizing they needed to use the restroom. But when the technique was offered and the biofeedback technology was hooked up to a few willing volunteers, seeing was believing. The implications of the internal coherence they observed were obvious, but what to do with this new awareness given the prevailing paradigm was not.”
-Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Peformance by Jay Cross. Pfeiffer, 2006
Some NNC Memes
“Ideas that spread like wildflower” is a favorite meme creation of NextNowNetwork and Collaboratory member Eileen Clegg of Visual Insight.
“If you can accomplish your dream all alone, your dream is too small.” (Please comment if you know who said this.)
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” Edmund Burke
“I hear and I forget. I see and I believe. I do and I understand.” Confucious (Consider also: “I hear and I forget. I BELIEVE and I SEE. I do and I understand.)
Photo of a stabile exhibit from the UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science. Carl Niederer’s interpretation of the Crab Nebula superimposed upon an X-ray defraction pattern of a crystal lattice is visually suggestive of collaborating nodes, but also, in the words of Mr. Niederer, “suggests the unity of all matter and the continuum of the microscopic and macroscopic.” You can read more about it here.