This blog is part of an online learning platform which includes the Pathways to New Community Paradigms Wiki and a number of other Internet based resources to explore what is termed here 'new community paradigms' which are a transformational change brought about by members of a community.

It is intended to offer resources and explore ideas with the potential of purposefully directing the momentum needed for communities to create their own new community paradigms.

It seeks to help those interested in becoming active participants in the governance of their local communities rather than merely passive consumers of government service output. This blog seeks to assist individuals wanting to redefine their role in producing a more direct democratic form of governance by participating both in defining the political body and establishing the policies that will have an impact their community so that new paradigms for their community can be chosen rather than imposed.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Catching Up - Community Engagement, Complexity and Other Issues to Contemplate

It has been more than a month since the last post was uploaded on to this blog. There was some vacation time around the Baltic Sea included in there, but the primary excuse is that it takes awhile to get my head around some of the concepts with which this blog addresses and then tie them all together.  So most of the online activities have been quick, short posting through Twitter, the Facebook page or interacting through LinkedIn with the more in depth contemplations stewing in the draft folder of my Mac. 

One of the concepts being wrestled with is complexity.  It has been alluded to or briefly addressed in past posts but not as fully as needed.  There is an extensive discussion of management and complexity on the Harvard Business Review LinkedIn group which provided a diversity of perspectives.  Insights derived from that discussion and past posts will be posted here in the next week of two.  Complexity is inherent not only in the challenges facing communities but in the solutions as well.  The presumption of using a word like paradigm in the title of this effort is based on the perspective that we not only need to change what we do, but also how and why we do it at a fundamental or radical level.  

In the last published post I wrote about, “Community governance as an arena for community engagement”.  This sounds a bit like a tautology.  What else would community governance be about if not community engagement?  The reality is quite different though with many existing city governments as has been discussed in previous posts.  You can insert ‘community engagement’ into the new search app to find them.  The truth is that achieving a high level of community engagement both in numbers and in level of participation will invariably bring about a greater degree of complexity into a system of community governance.

The primary practical problem is getting enough people to reach some determined tipping point to meet at the community hall first. In other words, getting the community engaged enough to come together to cause the new community paradigms to be established.  

It is not enough though just to get everybody into the same room and allow everybody to have their three to five minute speeches.  We also need to have a process of working together collaboratively to bring about innovative and viable solutions to complex and ‘wicked’ problems.

In a previous post, the focus was on devising a process by which members of a community could collaboratively think about the challenges facing them in a systematic, as well as an objective and transparent manner.  The methodology suggested was Systems Thinking.  Theoretically there could be forums in which people could gather in community halls to use principles of deliberative democracy and Systems Thinking to address their community’s challenges including greater community engagement.  

This means attaining a greater understanding of what we mean by community, by engagement and how those two concepts work together.  This effort has resulted in explorations outside of the former area of professional concern, economic development, Systems Thinking being just one of them and radical community engagement being another.  

Systems Thinking though seems to work on a more macro level which is understandable since Systems Thinking looks at systems as a whole.  A more micro-focused means of collaboration is also needed.  One possible means is Design Thinking.  With that in mind, I have started an online Design Thinking Action Lab course taught by Leticia Britos Cavagnaro from the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University using the New Community Paradigms endeavor as the premise for participation.  I will be reporting on that effort on these pages as well in the future.  

In the mean time there have been other changes and updates. 

A ‘Search this Blog and Connected Resources’ has been added on to the righthand column under the ‘Related Pages’ Diigo Update information.  Hopefully this makes this blog a more useful resource.  

Just below that is an update and upgrading to the TED City 2.0 information to the 2013 version. On September 20, 2013, both TED and TEDX will be holding programs related to, “All elements whose presence will dictate the success of our future cities”.  Will be following that closely and providing updates when they become available. 

Past Posts