Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Saturday, January 10, 2004day link 

 Citizen Science Toolbox
picture Here is an excellent list of principles, tools and strategies for groups of people trying to make decisions together. They're focusing on situations where there's an amorphous group of stakeholders who're working towards consensus on some particular issue. The emphasis is on tools that encourage the results to emerge organically. As an example, picked from the 63 entries, here's an excerpt about the Fishbowl technique:
Description: A technique used to increase participation and understanding of issues. The fishbowl represents an inner group of participants in a roundtable format involved in a decision-making process that is `witnessed` by a larger group who have the opportunity for input and questioning (see also Expert panels and Samoan circles). The fishbowl can be adapted with the use of role-playing techniques to highlight conflicts and alliances, the patterns that connect different points of view and the previously unrecognised linkages between different aspects of issues or problems. The fishbowl process can be modified to allow participants from the wider audience to join the roundtable (Sarkissian, W. et al, 1999).

Objectives: The fishbowl process aims to increase people`s understanding of other people`s perspectives on an issue or proposal, and to allow them to make connections and recognise links that may have been hidden.

Outcomes: Fishbowls can make a large group feel that their viewpoint has been represented in the discussion, even when they have not themselves had any input. Because they hear and see other people`s contributions, they know whether the issue that are important to them have been considered. As well, participants and observers will leave the fishbowl process with a greater understanding of the range of opinions and experiences that exist within their community on a particular issue or proposal. This provides community groups with options for building on commonalities and sharing resources.

There are detailed instructions and references and pros and cons for all those different approaches.
[ | 2004-01-10 10:09 | 7 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 United Transnational Republics
picture I just discovered and joined the First Transnational Republic. It is a proposed way for individuals to organize, so as to express their freedoms, and to safeguard their needs, on equal terms with transnational corporations and other global players. Here is the manifesto:
Here we are citizens, not subjects.

We, the citizens of the First TRansnational Republic, have assembled in order to globally represent our citizenship rights.

Citizens of our TRansnational Republic are not defined through blood or birthplace but through a similarity in their minds. We therefore ask every person who has an affinity to this and the following principles to join our TRansnational Republic as a free citizen.

The citizen rights include in particular the human rights, transnational principles of justice, the protection of our natural environment as well as the democratic rights of the individual.

In times of growing globalisation the problem of global representation has not yet been sufficiently addressed, the way of the world as well as the faith of the individuals are increasingly determined by transnational organisations (corporations, churches, trade organisations…). There is no comparable political representation system of the individual. The countries of this world cannot – under the influence of these transnational organisations – represent the interests of their citizens; nations cannot act transnationally.

Our aim is the recognition of the First TRansnational Republic by the international community

It seems to be originated in Germany, and, well, there's not a lot there yet. Less than 3000 citizens, and not very many ways of interacting, or an organized way of accomplishing its aims. But what is there looks good, and I like the basic ideas and principles outlined, so I hope there will be a way of participating in fleshing it out further.
[ | 2004-01-10 10:28 | 3 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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